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Archive for February 11th, 2009

Invasion Earth

with 6 comments

The New Yorker published another SF story this week: ‘The Invasion From Outer Space’ by Steven Millhauser. It is a nice, short, slight story.

Nancy Kress doesn’t like it though. Despite (not entirely convincingly) claiming she is not one of those who “automatically hate any SF written by authors not in our little club” she ends by saying:

I don’t expect NEW YORKER readers to appreciate Charles Stross, but a little imagination does seem called for when you’re considering invasions from space. What was the fiction editor thinking?

The reaction in the comments section is mixed (and Jeff Vandermeer teases us by deleting his no doubt intemperate response.) There is more discussion of the story and Kress’s reaction on MetaFilter. As unfortunately so often happens it shakes out into Us and Them and, as usual, those in the SF camp come off worst. As one of the commenters in the original thread notes:

I think you’d be amazed at how many New Yorker readers appreciate Charles Stross. I’m one of them. From my perspective, it’s the Charles Stross readers who usually fail to appreciate The New Yorker.

Written by Martin

11 February 2009 at 13:42

Posted in sf, short stories

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with one comment

I reviewed The Heritage by Will Ashon for Strange Horizons so I was sent a copy by the publisher. I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise because it was published by Faber & Faber in the bastardised trade paperback format, a hideous half-way house between hardback and paperback. However, since I liked Clear Water I probably would have bought the real paperback when it was released this month. Except, as Ashon reports, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity:

So, the good burghers of Faber & Faber have decided against publishing a mass-market paperback edition of “The Heritage”. I would’ve been pissed off, anyway, I guess, but I think would have understood this hard-headed business decision. After all, if you wanna kiss the ring of the Leather Pope then corporate capitalism’s where it’s at and fuck any of the considerations (art, literature, quality) you may pay lip service to. But I think my sense of fair play was piqued by being told less than two weeks before said paperback edition was supposed to be out. I mean, really, how shit is that?

This has happened so rapidly that Amazon still have the paperback edition listed, albeit as “currently unavailable”. It is an extremely cruel blow for Ashon which he has tried to soften by making the novel available to download for free. I would recommend that you do.

Written by Martin

11 February 2009 at 11:03

Posted in books, publishing, sf

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Not So Subtle Edens

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The vagueness of the term allows logical and heuristic slippage. Is slipstream an sf subgenre or a new genre outside sf? Is it genre fiction or literary fiction? Is slipstream sf part of mainstream literature or is mainstream literature being parasitical on sf? Is it a type of writing or a sensibility? Is it a genre or a marketing strategy? Such slippages allow a widening of the materials to be included in critical discourse around sf, fantasy and utopian fiction, and obliterated the high/low culture divide of mainstream/genre fiction.

Victoria de Zwaan, ‘Slipstream’ in The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction

Ah, so many questions! My review of Subtle Edens, a slipstream anthology edited by Allen Ashley, is up now at Strange Horizons. (A shorter version of this review will appear in Vector later in the year.)

Written by Martin

11 February 2009 at 10:46

Posted in books, sf

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