Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

June Books 20) The Business of Science Fiction, by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg

This is a collection of written dialogues between two well-established sf writers, originally published over the last ten years in the SFWA Bulletin. I was surprised by just how interesting I found it to be. I have an inkling of the problems facing the professional sf writer from reading their blogs and talking to them, but Resnick and Malzberg take their readers through the detail of foreign rights, agents, collaboration, publishers, the impending collapse of the print market, how to encourage the next generation of writers, and much more. I'm not a huge fan of the Resnick stories I have read more recently (though I liked his early stuff) and I don't think I have ever read any fiction by Malzberg (though I'm sure I have an anthology or two with his name on it); but I found this book tremendously insightful.

The relevant passages here are pre-Kindle and therefore already well out of date, but I found it fascinating to read how these two authors, both of whose careers started before I was born, are adapting to the world of the internet; it becomes clear that e-sales are going to reshape the way writing works as a profession, or at least the writing of sf, and while Resnick and Malzberg mourn the changing face of bricks and mortar bookshops and of the short fiction market, they are busily developing adaptive strategies.

I was enjoying this book so much at one point that I was considering ranking it top of my Hugo ballot for Best Related Work. In the end, though, I won't: while the content is great, there is no explanation of its structure, and we are left to fend for ourselves with the apparently unredacted original articles; while I would recommend it strongly to anyone with an interest in the craft of writing sf, it does require a little more patience from the reader than a properly structured book should. I will still rank it above the Heinlein biography, but my top vote stays with Chicks Dig Time Lords. I doubt that I will vote for either of the other nominees at all, as I don't quite have the patience to go through the nominated podcasts and the publishr of the other nominated book won't do business in my currency.

Previous Hugo category write-ups: Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, Best Short Story, Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form, Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form.
Tags: bookblog 2011, hugos 2011, writer: mike resnick

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