… And Strahan posts the contents for Eclipse 2, kicking off this week’s debate, part two, when people notice that there’s only one story by a woman. Abigail Nussbaum provides an overview here, Strahan answers questions about the selection process here, and there’s further comment here, here and at the Feminist SF blog here. (And see Strahan’s own post here.)
Graham’s work for Locus has been superb. That column in particular. I haven’t been keeping track of what Locus puts up online as I read Locus in dead tree form, it’s one of the few things that keeps me going back to Forbidden “why yes, you CAN pay the full RRP!” Planet.
Also worth noting is the fact that Wolfe’s review column this month is like twice as long as it usually is so that he can review his normal books and fit in reviews of Farah and Paul’s books too :-)
Many thanks, Jonathan. You could subscribe, you know: just remember how weak the dollar is…
Re comments on the Locus pieces: they have certainly attracted, by an order of magnitude, more private email comment (and more comment in person) than anything else I’ve written. Why that hasn’t translated into dialogue on the Locus site, I don’t know: perhaps because people don’t (yet) see it as a conversation-site in the way that they do a regular blog. I know I would like my Locus work to be the start of a conversation, not me declaiming The Truth from a pulpit, and I suspect someone like Gary Wolfe feels the same way too.
Graham – I agree that people don’t see the Locus website as a discussion forum. I know I don’t. Perhaps people are just too used to Locus as a dead tree publication, which doesn’t encourage conversation. Even the Locus Letters section is always very small and pro-oriented.
Niall, do you notice a similar lack of commenting on the Strange Horizon pieces, or do some of them get lively?
Never as much as I’d like, inevitably, but there have been some interestingdiscussions. And even some not on reviews written by Martin … I attribute some of the silence to the simple fact that even at SH the review is going to appear before most people have read the book, but that would seem not to apply to Graham’s columns. Hence my surprise at the lack of comments.
Niall: perhaps the safest option is for me to assume that everyone who doesn’t comment on my columns acknowledges my rightness in all things….
A more serious question. What authors would people like me to cover that I haven’t done so far? Constraints: must be an author of significance to sf, ideally with a substantial body of work in print. The columns I have planned are Blish, Le Guin, then probably Vance. Who else?
Ooooh… Vance would be good. He’s definitely someone who deserves more respect than he gets. Did you do Kornbluth or did I invent that? I like the idea of someone route marching themselves through a series of short novels about stuff Kornbluth didn’t like taking over the world.
If he was still around he’d be putting out books with titles like “The Day Crazy Frog Took Over” and “The Imperium of What The Fuck Deos Venti Mean Anyway? What’s Wrong With Large?”
I can’t remember who you have and haven’t done at this point, but: John Wyndham, Hal Clement, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, Robert Silverberg (in 5,000 words!), and Brian Aldiss. And I thought you were planning to do Sturgeon at some point?
Aldiss, yes, ditto Clement, Sturgeon. Stapledon too, come to think of it. Leiber I’m a bit ambivalent about because – though I think he’s awesome – you need to talk about his short fiction a lot, and there isn’t a widely available short fic retrospective. (What we need, of course, is an enterprising publisher to do a pb reissue of The Leiber Chronicles (1992). HINT HINT.) Wyndham and Norton I have a bit of a problem with, in that I don’t really respond to their work that strongly – as far as I’ve read it, that is. And Silverberg, yes, definitely. Plus, I notice he’s recently taken to doing editorials in Asimov’s surveying the merits of classic sf writers. Always glad to give beginning authors like him a helping hand…
I did Bradbury a while ago; Le Guin, as noted earlier, is on my list; Lem: hmm, how much is in print? Ballard feels a bit, uh, awkward in the present circumstances: it’d be like reviewing The Singing Detective just after Potter did that 1994 interview with Melvyn Bragg.
I do my very best to use Strange Horizons as a platform for dialogue. I comment on the other reviews and people seem to like commenting on mine.
I haven’t commented on Locus Online but Graham shouldn’t take that as a free pass. He was clearly talking balls about The Space Merchants, for example. I am now going to re-read his Future Classics piece and see where he went wrong there…
A lot of it is about timing and shared audience as Niall said. Film reviews always attract more comments. (stay tuned to SH tomorrow for some more of this.) I think this is one of the interesting things about online publication of novels. The reviews of Doctorow’s Little Brother have received lots of comments because its publication emulates some of the accessibility of a film.
Martin: I knew I could count on you! And if anyone wants to approach me to write introductions to Rogue Moon, etc, I am *so* there.
Niall: I’ve read Day of the Triffids, The Kraken Wakes, and The Chrysalids. It’s not a case of the writing not working for me (as it failed to when I did my column on Asimov and, to a lesser extent, on Bradbury), but feeling that I don’t have much useful response to them that’s worth sharing. Different problem entirely.
Interesting, in the light of the Strahan debate that most of the names touted for Graham to cover are male (only LeGuin and Norton aren’t.) My own first thoughts too were predominantly male (Lafferty, Davidson) but how about Kate Wilhelm, Mary Gentle, Connie Willis for starters…?
Well, I think I’ve tried to keep commenting on Graham’s stuff at Locus Online. Indeed, I purposely waited for his Algis Budrys article to appear there (I figured it was bound to, when Budrys died within a week of Locus appearing with the review) instead of sending Graham an email.
If I could bring up another gender question (and I will say that the stick Jonathan has gotten about Eclipse Two‘s contents quite unfair in context — but I’ll also say that I predicted it to myself) — I note that the 8 novels Graham reviews from Gollancz’s Future Classics series are all by men — though that of course is Gollancz’s doing, not Graham’s.
how about Kate Wilhelm, Mary Gentle, Connie Willis for starters…?
My guess is that all those are too recent to count as yesterday’s tomorrows (although if Le Guin gets in, then maybe Wilhelm would, and that would be an interesting column). Clearly there’s some flexibility in the selection criteria, but I was trying to think of people who were active in the 50s, at least.
Kev: the writer I’d like to cover is C L Moore, free from the shackles of her being 50% of Kuttnerandmoore; I keep putting off doing so because I’ve heard several rumours of a big retrospective of her short fiction. Niall is right about Gentle and Willis; Wilhelm, yes, though again looking at the short fiction would have to be a big part of that. The writer I’m surprised no-one has yet asked me to cover is Russ; at least right now, I’d have to say no to that, as I’ve just done a bunch of other work on her, starting with a chapter for Farah’s forthcoming book on Russ.
If I was to asked to nominate female science fiction writers who need rediscovery, I would nominate Leigh Brackett, C. L. Moore and Margaret St. Clair/Idris Seabright, all of which were active from the forties. The first two have had recentish collections in the Fantasy Masterworks series, the latter is slightly more obscure.
Another, more recent author worthy of rediscovery and re-evaluation is Joanna Russ, caricatured as a “too strident feminist” for too long now.
There aren’t many women to choose from the old days and the ones that come up tend to be the same ones again and again. Andre Norton would be one. Margaret St. Clair/Idris Seabright is an amazingly adept choice. C.L. Moore and Leigh Brackett have been done to death. Carol Emshwiller is old enough, but her best work has all been produced in the last decade. Suzy Charnas, Karen Fowler, Pat Murphy, and Joanna Russ would probably be considered too recent
Personally, Graham, I’d like you to take a stand on writers who may have been overlooked in their own time (or ours). What about Michael Coney or Gordon R. Dickson or John Christopher or Cliff Simak or Mark Geston or Keith Roberts or Edgar Pangborn. The choices are limitless.
And I’ll second Jo Walton’s choices of Poul Anderson and Zenna Henderson.
[…] Torque Control point me at a review of the Future Classics books. Shamefully I have the set minus Fairly Land and have yet to get past the first few pages. Always a dilemma what to read next and at the moment it’s almost impossible. Saying that I’ve just read Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon and I’m now reading Kethani by Eric Brown as I’m having a sci-fi thing at the moment so I really should read a couple of them. […]