Friday Five: Getting Gazebooed Edition

Hi all. This one will (hopefully) be coming out nice and early in the day because this Friday, I am off to the London Craft Beer Festival. I will be starting at an ungodly hour (i.e. before midday) and by the time I stop, I do not expect to be of any use to man or beast. So it’s get it now, or get it next Monday. Yes, I am anticipating a potential all weekend hangover. The last time I went, I was in such a state when I got back that I decided to just set up a comfy camp by the toilet for when I puked. These are how these things are done.

1. It has been book blogger appreciation week on Twitter and in the honour of appreciating you all, there will be no blog of the week because you are all blog of the week. The tiny corner of the blogosphere in which I, and many of my readers, dwell is an enthusiastic, joyous corner thanks to us all. It is a place of people sharing what they love to make themselves and others happy, and giving full voiced appreciation to what they see. I am mostly of the opinion that I do not wish to be a member of any club that would have me but for the book bloggers, I make an exception. Here’s to us all, and all our friends and supporters.

2. Let’s talk some reviews!

When I saw JonBob bigging up Adrian GIbson’s review of Jade City and Jade War, I was pretty intrigued. It is indeed a fine review, and confirms I need to give the second book a go sometime.

I’d never heard of Frank Dorrian’s Horns of the Hunter, but the title convinced me to give it a click and Paul’s review has the book lodged at the back of my head.

Lex Lingua has a review of Poul Anderson’s A Midsummer Tempest, which sounds intriguingly insane.

There’s a review of Suki Alone over at Cole’s The Quill To Live, which I totally agree with and am into because Suki deserved better damnit.

3. Release and book deal time.

We’ve got a post on the Tor Essentials Books coming in 2021

We have a belated happy book birthday to Devin Madson for We Cry For Blood! Here’s a review by Superstardrifter if you want to know more

We also have Amazon UK deals on De Bodard’s House of Shattered Wings and Nix’s Lefthanded Booksellers of London, which is frankly us being spoiled. Lefthanded Booksellers is something I’ve yet to read, but here’s a Fab review to sway you and House of Shattered Wings is a favourite and here’s the pitch I wrote for it on le twitter:

Full of memorable characters and driven by their passions and weaknesses; suffused with a mix of gothic atmosphere and otherworldly myth. All delivered with elegant clarity, and a powerful twisty plot.

Finally, Dan Jones has been releasing one of his novellas on his blog, and you should all go have a look at Chapter One of Resurgam here.

4. General cool articles.

I’d meant to post this last week but Clare North’s love letter to libraries is cool

Over at Trudie Skies, there’s a list of awesome self-pub fantasy

And here’s another good list from Julia at the Hive with her favourite PoC authors

Here’s an article on book buying from bookriot

Not that fantasy, but this article on Etruscan tombs is cool as shit and also very fantasy

Finally, I have these series open for tweeting purposes anyway, so why not big them up again? Neurodivergence in Fiction and Read the Room – Non-Binary Writers

5. And now it is time for some unsolicited opinions.

A friend tweeted about an argument they were having as to why you couldn’t have books written by teams of twenty writers each doing a chapter each, resulting in books that got done in a month or so. Which fascinates me, as I often have thoughts in similar-ish (emphasis on ish) directions.

Let’s talk the main reason it doesn’t happen. Writers don’t want it to happen by and large, as we prefer as much control over our babies as possible, and publishers don’t have an economic incentive to make it happen. They, to the best of my knowledge, tentpole their profits through big name authors and then win a little lose a little around the margins with poorly paid authors who might one day become big. Why adulterate the big name? Why throw away the chance to make big names by having them put chapters into books rather than have whole books? Not to mention, of course, publishers need titles hitting a wide range of interests and genres. If you need twenty writers for your grimdark book, what they going to do for the rest of the time if they’re not hugely well suited to other genres? You don’t need a grimdark book a month, unless reading were to explode.

But could it happen? You can find examples. The serial Bookburners. The way multiple writers are used on TV series. Books written by two authors, each handling a different PoV (the friend will be delighted that I use This Is How You Lose The Time War here). It’s not that it can’t happen, perhaps, as much as nobody wants to make it happen.

Why does my mind go in directions like this and wonder if it could work? Partly because I love “what if” scenarios and crazy bad ideas. But partly because the bigger the writing team, the more knowledge and strengths it can have. One blog post idea I’ve got marinating is a “dream band” style of authors to collaborate on the perfect book; why not have an expert on plot team up with an expert on action scenes to make the overall product stronger? Or why not have books about clashes of culture where the authors are from different cultures and bring a level of insight into these two conflicting cultures that one author alone is very unlikely to have. Or if you want to go heavily character driven, have characters with really difference voices because they come from different authors. Would that always work? No, but can you imagine how great it could be when it does? Even if there’s nothing grand or wow or crazy planned, there’s always something to be said for multiple view points in creativity. In western writing we’ve got a lot of lone genius tales, but think of how many fantastic bands were fantastic precisely because they had differing views inside? Could Andre 3000 and Big Boi have been as successful alone? Damon Albarn and Graham Cox?

Of course, there is nearly as much downside as there is upside. Listen to most collaborators, and you’ll frequently hear about how it saves zero time. Think of all the time that’d be spent in meetings discussing characters rather than just writing the swine, or when two chapters present different views of the character and suddenly you’ve got to decide which. Assembling the style guides would be miserable. And, of course, writing is a deeply personal and emotional thing and sharing that with a bunch of other peeps sounds potentially traumatic. For some writers it’d be akin to asking why don’t all marriages include multiple people, so there’s always someone to walk the dog and cook dinner. Which has happened. But not to most of the people reading this.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a more collaborative culture in fiction. I’d love to work on one if it was right. But it’s a gigantic tin of worms, and some of the worms would grow into dragons very quick.

And that’s all for this Friday, I hope you enjoy reading this and all the links while get quite, quite smashed. Have a great weekend!

4 thoughts on “Friday Five: Getting Gazebooed Edition

  1. I recall an earlier post where we discussed Poul Anderson. You had mentioned a tragic work, and Midsummer Tempest is (happily) a very optimistic book. I felt that Anderson must have enjoyed himself, writing that Shakespearean medley. I’m off to check out the posts by Julia at the Hive and Trudie Skies, thanks for the links round-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember that – part of why I clicked! Think we were discussing The Broken Sword? Hearing that Midsummer Tempest has plenty of optimism pushes it up the list for me.


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