Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Other Genre

By James O. Born

I’ve made some new friends recently and it’s important I point them out to everyone because they wrote some damn fine books. Now the thing that might surprise some of the blog’s readers is that I know writers outside the crime fiction genre. I’ve often talked about how much science fiction I read but until recently I had met too few science fiction authors. That changed a couple of weeks ago when I attended the South Carolina Book Festival. This is one of the beautiful things about book festivals; you get a chance to meet writers from every area.



From left to right, me, Jay Lake, Jeff and Ann Van Dermeer.



I moderated the science fiction panel, which the local newspaper, The State, described as “Voyage to the Weird, Jeff and Ann VanderMeer will be on the panel “Masters of Science Fiction” with Jay Lake and James O. Born.”

I would prefer the word surreal or interesting but there was some degree of weirdness too. The article, which was an interview with the Vandermeers, actually covered their joint effort on an anthology called “The New Weird” as well as the new weird movement in science fiction.

Jeff has written several stand-out novels, his most recent, Shriek, An Afterword continues his saga of a different world , very different world, named Ambergris. The books and world are so vivid the band The Church is composing music for the book. That’s cool.

Jeff and his wife, Ann, collaborate on anthologies and other projects. Ann is the fiction editor of the venerable and newly revamped Weird Tales magazine. More importantly she is a graduate of the Harvard of Leon County, Florida State. In fact we overlapped a year but she looks like she graduated well after me.

The other panelist was Jay Lake whose mot recent novel, Mainspring, caught my fancy several weeks ago. Jay has published a long list of excellent short stories and is well known through out the science fiction community. He’s a big, funny, affable guy. Think about what would happen if Reed Coleman and Victor Gischler had a kid. Wait one moment, I just threw up in my mouth a little.










Mainspring is a great tale of adventure and duty, following the efforts of young Heathor to save the world. It's an accessible, intelligent, fun novel and has me looking forward to the sequel, Escapement, due later this year,




Back to Jay, Jeff and Ann. They showed me that the science fiction community, much like the crime fiction community, is a generous, supportive group. These guys rocked. They turned me on to a whole new set of books I might like to read. Clued me into different science fiction events including conventions and generally got me excited about the whole genre.

If you get the chance, check out Jay’s website, Jeff’s website and Ann’s magazine’s website.

Do any of you read science fiction? Who do you like?

16 comments:

  1. I know as much about science fiction as I do about quantum mechanics, which come to think of it, is probably science fiction.

    Jim, you are a multi-talented fellow.

    Cease and desist, at once.

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  2. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when you hit your first SF convention, Jim.

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  3. Oh, and yes, I definitely read SF. Not as much as I used to. Current favorites are Alistair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton, and Richard K. Morgan. Morgan, in particular, writes some of the darkest, most noirish SF you'll find anywhere. You may never hear the words "U.N. Envoy" again without experiencing a slight shiver up your spine.

    Then of course there's the classic old stuff..I've been re-reading Jack Vance lately, and I'd forgotten how much sheer laugh-out-loud fun his prose could be.

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  4. Great blog, but Jim you left out one very important bit of information about Jay. The man is a dancing machine. No one at the SC Book Festival had more fun on the dance floor than Jay and his partners.

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  5. James O. Born3/13/2008 6:30 AM

    Jay is, indeed, a remarkable dancer.

    One thing I didn't mention was this trio had me laughing all night long at the bar. Always a good indicator.

    Jim

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  6. James O. Born3/13/2008 6:30 AM

    Jay is, indeed, a remarkable dancer.

    One thing I didn't mention was this trio had me laughing all night long at the bar. Always a good indicator.

    Jim

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  7. I've been going to SF conventions since attending AggieCon in 1979, and in fact I'll be going to the AggieCon again at the end of this month. I've missed only one since '79, so I must be having fun.

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  8. I thought crime writers were an unattractive bunch!

    :::shudder:::

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  9. patty smiley3/13/2008 8:06 AM

    I almost never read SF, but I do listen to book reviews from my cousin Jerry who is a big fan and an actual scientist. James O, you are cuddly in any genre.

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  10. Grrr... now I'm extra bummed I couldn't make it to South Carolina. Sounds like a great time. I love the festivals because you can meet people outside the crime genre.

    Looking good, Jim!

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  11. Hey, Jim,

    Welcome to our wonderful weird world of science fiction. :-D I have already attended one sf con this year, and the second one tees off tomorrow. We're looking forward to hanging out at the bar with friends, room parties, and lots of panels. My husband has been shanghighed onto the Horror panel, and I'm on a couple of art and promotion ones. Hopefully they'll have some cross genre mystery ones as well. Also, I get to hang with some of my fave authors, who also happen to be friends. Cool!

    Oh, and one of my paintings graced the cover of Issue #334(?) of Weird Tales a few years back. Bob, said hubby, has several over the years, too. :-D

    Currently madly packing, framing art and doing errands before hitting the road to NY in the morning.

    Glad you had a great time, Jim.
    Cheers,
    Marianne

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  12. No, I wanna be a fly on the wall at PAULIE'S first science fiction convention!! It would be something to write about. :-D

    Marianne

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  13. Cut my teeth on SF, and still prefer the classics: Asimov, Lustbader, Stabenow, Clarke, Vance, Blish, van Vogt, Dick, Bradbury, Aldiss, Merril, Sheckley, Ellison, Silverberg, Goulart, Tiptree, Wilhelm, Martin, Sturgeon, Bester, Campbell, Knight, Pohl, Tenn, Kornbluth, Brown, Dickson, Leinster, Malzberg, and I've probably left out another dozen or so biggies--caught me by surprise, Jim. Oh, yeaah. Shakespeare had a couple.

    Wanna get into westerns? Elmore Leonard, Max Brand, Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour. Or Fantasy? Or Sword and Sorcery? Or Horror?

    Ya got me primed, now!

    Tom, T.O.

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  14. I've started reading more. You should check out my friend Tobias S. Buckell's books, Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and his new one coming out this summer, Sly Mongoose. (There's a trailer and the first chapter of Sly Mongoose on his website. You read that first chapter, you'll be lining up to read that book).

    John Scalzi. Love his whole series, Old Man's War, The Ghost Brigades, and I recently read The Last Colony. I also loved--and laughed my way through--The Android's Dream.

    Recently read The Accidental Time Traveler by Haldemann.

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  15. James O. Born3/13/2008 11:43 AM

    I'm glad everyone is open to other genres. Tom, how did I know you were well versed in SF?

    I also like westerns, of course through Leonard but Larry McMurtry hooked me too.

    Jim

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  16. Simple, Jim,

    You knew because two great minds....

    Yeah, McMurtry, too, but I wasn't even trying on the Western list!

    Tom, T.O.

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