Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Links R Us

with 9 comments

Now that Niall Harrison has completed his multi-million pound international transfer from Vector to Strange Horizons, last Friday’s linkdump at Torque Control was probably the last. This leaves a gap in the market for an intelligent round-up of the best links from across the genre blogosphere (as opposed to the scattergun approach that is all too common). One thing is certain: I won’t be stepping into the breach. However, a few things have caught my eye recently.

Lavie Tidhar launches a new – and in no way tongue in cheek – Science Fiction Dictionary of New Criticism:

Dystopalyptic n. Condition afflicting many authors, leaving them unable to imagine or create an actual working future.

Uses: mainstream writers turning to SF are uniformly dystopalyptic.

Adam Roberts crunches the Booker:

1. The Booker has tracked a shift in taste away from domestic UK fiction and towards a more globalised, multicultural and postcolonial writing. (In the first two decades of the prize about 80% of winners were by UK writers; in the second two decades only 40%)
2. Women do slightly better in the Booker than in publishing as a whole.
3. The Booker is not hospitable to genre—or to put it another way: the Booker is a genre prize—the genre in question being ‘twentieth-century/contemporary literary fiction’.

Patrick Hudson reviews Red Plenty by Francis Spufford:

Marx wasn’t the only one hard at work on this type of utopian politics. The same kinds of rationalist and scientific theories led to all kinds of inventive ideas, from theospophy and Kibbo Kift to the fascism of 1930s Europe. At the same time as this type of millenarian thinking developed, a fiction of this type of imagining began to emerge. SF and Communism were born more or less at the same time – Marx in London, Jules Verne in France – and both had their apogee in the middle of the 20th century. The Golden Age of SF is close to the age of revolution – about 1920 to the end of World War Two.

Jared Pornokitsch reviews The Way Of Kings by Brandon Sanderson:

High fantasy has recently made great strides in storytelling, but there is still much that can be improved qualitatively. Mr. Sanderson has inadvertently exposed many of fantasy’s persistent flaws. The Way of Kings allows us to look past the debate between world-building and character development and take a broader, more critical view of where fantasy stands. Mr. Sanderson has clearly mastered the genre as it is today, and, if he chooses to, would be well-placed to carry its banner forward into the future.

Written by Martin

12 January 2011 at 21:26

9 Responses

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  1. I’ve really loved having Niall’s roundups – but I’m certainly not able to do them either.

    S. Worthen

    13 January 2011 at 00:35

  2. Thanks for the link, yo! I too will miss the link round-ups, but there will possibly be a miniscule uptick in the global economy as my efforts are directed once more into my tedious employment.

    Patrick H

    14 January 2011 at 15:19

  3. I’m tempted to step up. Largely because I’ve recently become aware of someone who fills a similar role in the world of videogame criticism :


    Allows you to submit pieces for consideration and serves as a kind of clearing house for a series of blogs that seldom bother to link to each other despite actually being in dialogue. Same situation as the SF litsphere really.

    Jonathan M

    14 January 2011 at 15:52

  4. Patrick: but there will possibly be a miniscule uptick in the global economy

    Fat chance, there is always one more distraction.

    Jonathan: I’m tempted to step up.

    That would be great. So the Critical Distance model is bloggers self-submit and you would edit? Doesn’t that rely on people being aware of the site?

    Here is one more epic fantasy link and a bizarre one at that:

    At the same time, there is agreement among many observers that epic fantasy is becoming less common, perhaps even dying out.


    14 January 2011 at 16:52

  5. You’re right! *sob*

    Patrick H

    14 January 2011 at 17:09

  6. It does rely on people being aware of the site but I think that’s okay as link round-ups of this sort are mainly about the goings on in a certain critical community. The self-submission process is mainly about gaining access to that community by informing the editor that you are out there and working on some of the same stuff.

    Jonathan M

    14 January 2011 at 17:47

  7. It does rely on people being aware of the site but I think that’s okay as link round-ups of this sort are mainly about the goings on in a certain critical community.

    One of the things I liked about Niall’s linkdumps is that, for example, he actually went through the online editions of all the newspapers. So it moved beyond being solely a specific critical community to a wider dialogue.


    17 January 2011 at 10:51

  8. Therein lies the real challenge and the time-consuming aspect of it :-)

    Jonathan M

    17 January 2011 at 18:28

  9. The two SF Signal articles about epic fantasy are equivalent to adolescents (thinking they’re) discovering — or inventing — sex.

    Athena Andreadis

    25 January 2011 at 17:35

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