Those of us who work in the creative sector are massively heartened by the generosity of artists in responding to the current emergency. Today it’s sci-fi writers. Paul McAuley, one of British sci-fi’s leading authors, has made his ‘best of’ short stories available for free until Friday from the tax dodgers
As a part of Project Shelving I’ve been getting more severe with book series. Sci-fi loves a series. Known worlds and characters guarantee sales, and tap into the deep-rooted completist gene we know so well around here. Can we get by knowing that the story we loved in what is now part one now carries on into parts 2 to six. Maybe that mysterious origin/object/event will be finally explained in book 4/5/63. Over the last few years I’ve been consciously re-reading these and fighting the completist gene. Holding onto part one, as it’s very good, and ditching parts 2-6 as they are not. I am here to hopefully provide a counter to that completist gene, and reassure you that in these cases clearing those shelves is the right thing to do. Or you can safely stop at the end of the first book.
Your suggestions please for series where the start should also be the end – interested in fantasy, crime etc – not genres whose series I know well.
Rendezvous With Rama – the original AC Clarke novel is full of mystery and understatement, the three sequels written with (by) Gentry Lee get progressively longer and less rewarding. A » Continue Reading.
Following the recent Man In The High Castle mini-debate surely it’s time that we debated the merits of the man who is possibly the most influential writer in Hollywood, even if he’s been dead for thirty years. As a card-carrying Phil fan I’m keen to get the Massive’s thoughts on his literary output, and perhaps persuade a few of you to venture forth into the great man’s considerable oeuvre. His enormous influence on current sci-fi, especially in the movies, is perhaps not as borne out in mega book sales as you would expect.
Here’s my ten-point guide to the man’s formidable body of work – at almost fifty novels and hundreds of short stories he wrote a lot – as sci-fi writers had to in those days to live. Quality varies widely, and he dabbled in mainstream fiction and even children’s stories as well as science fiction.
1. Yes the short stories are better than the novels. He’s not the only sci-fi great for whom this is true. Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein and many others writing, let’s say, before 1970 also follow this rule. They were paid by the word and this led to novels being expansions of short stories and » Continue Reading.