Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Ongoing Book Discussion Discussion

Last week zanzibar asked a very good question:
Why not something by a new or relatively unknown/obscure author? That way we expose it to new readers, we won't come to it with a "canon bias" and we "help a brother out" all at the same time.

Of course, I haven't read any good stuff by a new author recently so maybe I've answered my own question.
Well, how about it? Have you read anything good by a new and relatively unknown writer lately?

I wish I could say that I have, but aside from the Friday Challenge entries, I'd be lying. I picked up a copy of Analog on a business trip recently, and all I saw was more stories by writers I knew 20 years ago, still flogging the dessicated hides and bones of horses they'd murdered back in the 1980s. I found myself reading the opening paragraphs of stories, right up to that point about 250 words in where the little voice inside my head piped up and said, "All right, we know how Naeme D'Leted is going to end this one, because that's the way he always does it," and so I'd flip to the ending — and sure enough, that would be exactly how my old colleague Naeme had done it. Again.

There's a bookstore over in Minneapolis: Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore. The owner, Don Blyly, is both an old friend and a true blue SF fan, and he puts out a bimonthly newsletter listing all the newly received and forthcoming SF, Fantasy, and even slightly tangentially related books being put out by all the major publishers, along with at least a two-sentence summary of each book.

To be honest, I've been thinking about asking Don to stop sending me the newsletter. It's too depressing. Every two months, the same damned thing: movie spinoffs, TV series spinoffs, game spinoffs, TV series spinoff spinoffs... (No, that's not a typo. Successful TV series spinoff book series can in turn develop their own spinoffs, e.g., the I.K.S. Gorkon books, for those Trek fans who just can't get enough Klingons.) The sequel to this, the prequel to that, book #15 in this series, book #8 in that series, the latest in another series they're not even bothering to number — ooh, here's something exciting, bestselling author Sara Catherine Elizabeth Nancy has at last wrapped up her epic fantasy nontology, Black Sword of The Enchanted Castle, and launched an entirely new dodecapentology, Enchanted Sword of The Black Castle...

Vampire chick-lit, chick-lit vampire, vampire detective chick-lit paramedic, obese — I'm sorry, "plus-sized" — Southern vampire chick-lit detective who solves mysteries with the aid of her psychic cat... And just how many times do they need to reissue A.E. Van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle, anyway?


Ergo, I hereby declare today Open Mic day. Do you have a new book by a new or at least relatively unknown living author that you've read lately and would like to recommend? Then by all means, this is your opportunity to plug it, so plug away.

The lines are open...