So, as those of you who follow me on Twitter and FB now know, I’ve been keeping busy in addition to working on book 3 of the Broken Earth trilogy.
So, yep, my piecemeal gig from last year has just become a permanent thing. The new column is called “Otherworldly”, and the first one — which will come out in print on the first weekend of January — is already up online. (No, you don’t have to squint at the text in that image.)
I’m an eclectic reader, so the new column will obviously feature science fiction, fantasy, horror, some YA, some graphic novels, some anthologies, and even some nonfiction where it impacts the genre. I’ve got no problem with self-published or small-press books, although I believe the NYT has a policy forbidding selfpubs if they can’t be found in “general interest” bookstores, whatever that means. I like books that feature complex characters, period, but stereotypes piss me off and stuff I’ve seen too often bores the shit out of me. I don’t “believe in” the Campbellian Hero’s Journey, for pretty much the same reasons as Laurie Penny. Obviously I’ve got a thing for worldbuilding and secondary world or offworld stuff. I believe wholeheartedly in the idea that we all should get to dream, and I look for books that let me.
Some general things to note about this new column:
- I am not a literary critic. I didn’t even take lit classes in college — AP’ed out. My graduate degree is in psychology. I don’t know Derrida from Adam. I’m not actually sure I spelled Derrida right, just now. I do have some interest in litcritty stuff that everyone in the genre is or should be talking about — e.g. Farah Mendlesohn’s Rhetorics of Fantasy. But I don’t have years of training in analyzing subtext, etc., other than what a lifetime of geeky reading and writing has given me. Just something to keep in mind.
- How’d I get this gig? Somebody at the Times approached me through channels and asked if I wanted a freelance job. No, I’m not telling you who. No, they don’t want your number. Why me? Fuck if I know. I guess they like my writing.
- Don’t send me books. For one thing, I live in a one-bedroom in NYC that’s already close to being a fire hazard. For another, I still have books of my own to write; I do not have time to vet the entire SFF book world. If you want your book to be considered for review, nothing has changed: send your books to the NYT. Weren’t you already doing that anyway?
- …Okay, if you weren’t doing it anyway, do send them your books. I can’t review what I can’t read.
- If you’re a close acquaintance of mine, if we’ve done a writing or critiquing date (or a date-date), if you’re one of my former Clarion students, etc., I can’t review your books. Sorry! If all we’ve ever done is sit on a panel together, though, or exchange occasional silliness on Twitter, that’s different. Where’s the line? Dunno. I know half the damn SFF world in one way or another. -_- But if I see your book in the pile and I want to read it, I’ll explain how I know you to my editor. He gets final say.
- My editor gets final say about everything, actually. I get a lot of say in what gets picked, but it’s more of a negotiation.
- Also, there are apparently several other reviewers at the NYT who are into SFFH! (Seriously, somebody keeps snatching the Stephen Kings. It’s not funny. I want to read those.) So even if I can’t review your stuff because you’re my bestie or something (hi, besties), somebody else might be able to.
I think that’s it. Questions? Feel free, in the comments.