Author Topic: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.  (Read 242730 times)  

Offline S. Elliot Brandis

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #150 on: January 06, 2014, 03:52:12 AM »
Fellow Aussie! I'm in Brissie. We have a writer group here and I know there's one on the gold coast, too. Adelaide might have one, you just gotta track it down.

I'm the same re: Dr who. That and anime - don't watch either but I feel like the only one!

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Offline antonnaseton

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #151 on: January 06, 2014, 04:04:55 AM »
Fellow Aussie! I'm in Brissie. We have a writer group here and I know there's one on the gold coast, too. Adelaide might have one, you just gotta track it down.

I'm the same re: Dr who. That and anime - don't watch either but I feel like the only one!

Have watched anime! Woohoo ... I think there's a sci-fi writing group called Ad Astra. I'm not really sure about the benefits of joining a writer's group. I'm a bit wary of groups that do nothing but critique ... 

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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #152 on: January 06, 2014, 06:01:16 AM »
A web site that helped readers find spec fic books they liked would be really cool -

Which is why I was taking about a target market analysis.  The majority of fans of City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures or Twilight (all spec fic.) are not the fans of Moorcock, Asimov or Gibson, which probably don't have the same fans either.

But within the vast array of sub-genres, there are similarities and cross-over fans and reading experiences.

If one could figure out a way to 'link' these reading experiences together, you'd have a pretty reader friendly algo.

What is it about The Matrix, a pretty [expletive]ing out there hardcore SF story, that appeals to such a wide audience, (besides Keanu)?

As long as that sci fi doesn't have a mystery in it as the central plot point. Or a strong romantic subplot. Then, you know, apparently it ain't sf anymore. Or something. Sigh.

<sarcasm>

No way !!!!!!!!!!  Really dude?!?!?!   :o

</sarcasm>

As we both know, many of the pulp sf writers lived and breathed with the mystery format, Fredric Brown and Asimov's Caves of Steel come to mind.  Perhaps the newer fans of sf/f haven't read the classics and the genre defining books that we did. I'm assuming here.  :)

As for this anti-romance attitude I've seen in sf conversations - I don't get it, well, I have a theory....but, yeah, let's just leave it at "I don't get it".   ;D

A Princess of Mars (1911) had a paranormal element (the witch that sent him to Mars) and the entire book was a straight up romance - it was about John Carter overcoming obstacles, including a different culture, to be with the woman he loved.  There's also a lot of social commentary, including a lot of time devoted to religion - the Therns.  And this was a genre defining (inventing) book.

Spec Fic is anything you see at Comicon - really.

The defining of sub-genres is essential for effective promotions, and also for craft.

For example, if one is writing a romantic space opera, the book can't open with an info dump about the Jupiter Wars and an explanation about the invention of Super-Ion drive and how it works.  You'll lose the romance readers  right off.  It has to start with the characters and at least hint at the relationships.  Conversely, too much romance too soon might throw off the sf fans.  The opening pages need to be crafted in such a way as to be inviting to both audiences - if you want them both to read your book.  This is just a example.

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #153 on: January 06, 2014, 06:10:05 AM »
Spec fic is the biggest umbrella there is. There's space for everyone under here.

THIS.

And I hope my pithy remark (the first fight of a spec-fic group is always genre labels) didn't come across as minimizing the issues of those that feel excluded. There are issues with this in SF/F/WTF* and ancillary issues with sexism, that are very real and that we all need to be aware of (and fight).



*Stolen from Angry Robot, not meant in a pejorative sense!

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #154 on: January 06, 2014, 06:15:09 AM »
And you know what? The beauty of digital publishing is that you don't have to be restricted by labels anymore. Booksellers might have had trouble with, say, Technothrillers, unsure whether to shelve them with Thrillers or SF. But, on Amazon, we can put books on multiple shelves. And you can position the book in the market however you please.

All of which seems perfectly natural. A book doesn't have to be Romance or SF. It can be both. It can appeal to readers of both. It can be marketed as either.

(And the world keeps turning)
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 07:13:39 AM by dgaughran »

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Offline Laura Rae Amos

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #155 on: January 06, 2014, 07:04:48 AM »
I write spec fic in secret. (Like Rinelle, as a writer with a strong relationship bias in my fiction (though drama usually rather than romance), I'm sort of tip-toeing into the room...)

I don't have any of it published yet, but hope to in the next year or two. I like alternate dimensions, metafiction, aliens, apocalyptic, and anything near future, preferably with a strong character-driven angle, though I'm not afraid of science or tech either. My favorite stories have both.

And haters gonna hate, but I'm secretly plotting to make sci-fi/chick-lit happen. *dodges flying tomatoes*

Laura Rae Amos writes kooky and emotional relationship dramas, stories that are usually witty, sometimes poignant, and a little bit crass. Visit me at LauraRaeAmos.com // Tweets @LauraRaeAmos // Or chat on Facebook

Offline Cherise

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #156 on: January 06, 2014, 07:43:02 AM »
The majority of fans of...  Twilight (all spec fic.) are not the fans of Moorcock, Asimov or Gibson, which probably don't have the same fans either.

I'm a big fan of all four! Neuromancer is one of my all-time favorites, as are I Robot and Elric of Melnibone. And making a note to check out Beautiful Creatures, since you lumped it in, LOL!


And haters gonna hate, but I'm secretly plotting to make sci-fi/chick-lit happen. *dodges flying tomatoes*

It already happened long ago! Robert Heinlein's Friday comes to mind.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 08:44:04 AM by Cherise Kelley »

Offline Sandra K. Williams

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #157 on: January 06, 2014, 07:54:18 AM »
Fantasy writer here.

One of the things I like about going to the public library or the bookstore is that all the SFF books are together in one section. I'm more interested in the tone or theme or quality of writing than plot and character specifics. It's fun to read different kinds of stories and come across unexpected jewels.

Regarding tag clouds or lists, I don't see them as an either/or. Why not both?

It would be nice if there were a way to filter out certain types of stories. There are some books you'd have to pay me a substantial sum to read. Other books I cannot read for different reasons.

We are a special class of people.

Everybody thinks they're special. None of us are. All of us are.

Any kind of elitism, even the elitism of the misfits, sets my back up. There's a whiff of "If I can't be in that special group, I'll make my own special group." I don't want to be in any special groups. I don't want to be part of any Us vs. Them.

Which takes us back to NO ROMANCE. I've read enough wish-fulfillment SF where the hero is rewarded with the beautiful babe at story's end to wonder why romance is a problem. Just don't read it, right?

@M T McGuire: Your The Wrong Stuff cover cracks me up.

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #158 on: January 06, 2014, 08:40:00 AM »
Doomed Muse, firstly, please don't leave! Not everybody is going to agree with every point, but please don't let that keep you or anyone else from feeling comfortable here. Specfic is indeed a big umbrella. (Or we can beat it over the head and make it one!)

Secondly, I loved your comments about SF and what happened in the genre. It was hard for a long time to find stuff to read, which is why I began reading mysteries and thrillers.

Anyway, my thinking is that if you think your work is specfic, then it is. I'm going to trust people to have looked at genre classifications, and know what they write. We can narrow things down in regards to promotions, or helping readers find work they like, but I don't think we need to be coming down on one side or the other of the "that's not SF!" or "that's not horror!" or whatever.


Something I wanted to talk about -- and I don't mean to start anything -- is the possibility of needing to contribute funds to start a site. I may be the only one, but I have zero funds to spare. If I had any money, it would go to getting an editor, or a good cover. So if that's going to be necessary (donating money), I'm going to have to drop out.

And yes, I know things cost money, but the well is dry over here. I wouldn't feel right being involved in something if I couldn't pay my way.
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Offline M T McGuire

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #159 on: January 06, 2014, 09:57:44 AM »
Which takes us back to NO ROMANCE. I've read enough wish-fulfillment SF where the hero is rewarded with the beautiful babe at story's end to wonder why romance is a problem. Just don't read it, right?

Amen to that, although I think you have to have lots of shagging for real romance nowadays don't you? Isn't the wish fulfillment type called cozy romance or something...? I get so confused with all the names things are called. I suppose it's a bit like the law. I'm told that with law, the more you start putting specifics into legislation, the easier it becomes to break. It's the really general laws that are the easiest ones to enforce.

@M T McGuire: Your The Wrong Stuff cover cracks me up.

In a good way, I hope ;-)

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Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #160 on: January 06, 2014, 10:05:29 AM »
what do you all think about publishing at the spec-fic mags to build an audience?

Dunno if this got lost in the shuffle, but submitting short stories to the various magazines and ezines is a great way to promote yourself and your work if you can get in. Check out the costs of advertisements in Analog, Asimov's, and F&SF, for example. Can't hurt anyway.

Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #161 on: January 06, 2014, 10:08:40 AM »
I write space opera, sci-fi, weird west, historical fantasy, and high and low fantasy. Plus other speculative stuff I don't really know how to label.

The distinctions between paranormal, supernatural and the like are confusing to me. Like, X-Files and The Sixth Sense. Are they paranormal or supernatural? Does one have to have a romance subplot?

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #162 on: January 06, 2014, 10:10:51 AM »
Doomed Muse, firstly, please don't leave! Not everybody is going to agree with every point, but please don't let that keep you or anyone else from feeling comfortable here. Specfic is indeed a big umbrella. (Or we can beat it over the head and make it one!)

Secondly, I loved your comments about SF and what happened in the genre. It was hard for a long time to find stuff to read, which is why I began reading mysteries and thrillers.

Anyway, my thinking is that if you think your work is specfic, then it is. I'm going to trust people to have looked at genre classifications, and know what they write. We can narrow things down in regards to promotions, or helping readers find work they like, but I don't think we need to be coming down on one side or the other of the "that's not SF!" or "that's not horror!" or whatever.

Oh, I know. But I'm super prickly about this whole "get X out of MY genre" or "X isn't spec fic because (insert stupid reason that probably relates solely to the fact that the person giving it doesn't like X)" and get tired quickly of people bashing things that a) they likely haven't read and b) clearly aren't to their taste.  Not to my taste does not equal awful thing that doesn't belong.

And I know I'm writing spec fic. Pretty sure all these sf and fantasy magazines and anthologies that publish my work would have told me by now if I were completely clueless  :D

The genre is huge and full of subgenres for just about any work. I don't know how useful we could be in helping readers to find what they want in a way that the sales sites don't already.  However, I do think using a group like this to put together like books into promo bundles or something to that effect could be useful. I'm sure there are people writing space opera whose audiences might like this other person but haven't heard about them, or the same with urban fantasy or slipstream or whatever. That seems like a pretty easy and useful way to use a group like this.

For the person who asked about selling stories to magazines, it's a great way to pick up some extra money. I have never noticed a single extra sale resulting from it on my other work, however, so don't use it as just a way to build audience. Go for the monies, hope there is some extra effect, in my opinion.  (Though, I'm about to have some stories in an anthology series with a lot of pretty big name peoples that I think will get some extra love from the Zon, so perhaps my opinion will change here shortly)

Offline Sandra K. Williams

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #163 on: January 06, 2014, 10:29:57 AM »
In a good way, I hope ;-)

Definitely in a good way! It makes me smile.

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #164 on: January 06, 2014, 10:55:46 AM »
I don't fully understand all the nuances of genres and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres. I'm not particularly interested in trying to understand them all. But I thought (until catching up with this thread) that I understood what speculative fiction meant, or at least I have my own definition: it's any story that includes an element that could not possibly happen today based on currently accepted knowledge. Any story that could happen today, no matter how unlikely, is non-speculative.

So any tale involving vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens, faster-than-light travel, mythological creatures, sentient machines, made-up worlds, etc, etc is specfic, regardless of how secondary they may be to the main storyline. I don't want to tread on anyone's toes and it's not my thread, but I don't think anybody who writes stories with a fantastical element should be made to feel unwelcome here.

[Edited to fix unwanted italics.]
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 12:19:26 PM by Sam Kates »
    
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Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #165 on: January 06, 2014, 11:49:04 AM »
And my axe.

Dang it, David! You beat me to the punch!  ;D

OP, cool thread idea. Thanks for starting this.

Offline bmcox

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #166 on: January 06, 2014, 12:12:11 PM »
I don't fully understand all the nuances of genres and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres. I'm not particularly interested in trying to understand them all. But I thought (until catching up with this thread) that I understood what speculative fiction meant, or at least I have my own definition: it's any story that includes an element that could not possibly happen today based on currently accepted knowledge. Any story that could happen today, no matter how unlikely, is non-speculative.

So any tale involving vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens, faster-than-light travel, mythological creatures, sentient machines, made-up worlds, etc, etc is specfic, regardless of how secondary they may be to the main storyline. I don't want to tread on anyone's toes and it's not my thread, but I don't think anybody who writes stories with a fantastical element should be made to feel unwelcome here.

Here, here.

I think that one of the issues here and elsewhere when discussing our little corners of the universe is an issue of representation. Representations of what we like, representations of our developed and received perceptions of what is supposed to be good and correct, and representations of self. Sometimes these representations cause conflict with other writers (and readers) and sometimes they cause conflicts within ourselves.
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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #167 on: January 06, 2014, 12:23:21 PM »
I think we all agree - or certainly should, imho, agree what spec fic is.

The point of discussing sub-genres comes in to play with promotions and marketing.  I think that's a significant problem with all of the narrowly defined categories on amazon that don't necessarily line up with what either the author intended or what the reader is looking for.

My point about the various sub-genres wasn't to list out amazon categories, but to attempt to identify common reading experiences between the various genres, so that promotions can be targeted toward those newly defined individual groups.  This would include relevant cross-promotions for example.

The thing to remember is that they want to read your book, they really do - they are already fans, they just don't know it yet and they won't unless you can make them aware that your book exists.

Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #168 on: January 06, 2014, 12:48:10 PM »
How about we not even have a cat list and just implement the hell out of tags?

Here's my wishlist:

You'd have the tag cloud and regular search by keyword and umbrella genre lists up front. Then you'd have Advanced Search where you can either checkbox or CTRL click multiple elements to search either 'must contain all' or 'must contain any'. There would also be a panel for 'must NOT contain any' and a 'filter by...'

The tags would include genres, sub-genres, elements, creatures, authors, themes--anything--because we want this site to actually be useful to spec-fic fans looking to find books to their tastes.

And there'd be a report feature in case someone mis-tagged stuff. Never again the lying blurb times.

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Offline wrenroberts

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #169 on: January 06, 2014, 12:53:56 PM »
You'd have the tag cloud and regular search by keyword and umbrella genre lists up front. Then you'd have Advanced Search where you can either checkbox or CTRL click multiple elements to search either 'must contain all' or 'must contain any'. There would also be a panel for 'must NOT contain any' and a 'filter by...'

The tags would include genres, sub-genres, elements, creatures, authors, themes--anything--because we want this site to actually be useful to spec-fic fans looking to find books to their tastes.

Yes! Yes!! This is exactly what I was thinking when I suggested tags in the first place. I think it would give people the most freedom to categorize their books how they see fit. Because in my world, science fantasy is a thing, dammit. ::shakes angry fist at amazon::

Looking for some feminist science fiction?


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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #170 on: January 06, 2014, 12:55:52 PM »
For a simple search feature that works.  The books would need pretty long questionnaires to make sure the book gets into the right searches.

You might add an "if you liked <this book> then you might like <these books> based on some significant average of similar data points of each book.

But this doesn't help with promotions.

And it would require significant server space and maintenance, but it's a great idea.

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #171 on: January 06, 2014, 01:17:31 PM »
Greetings! Looks like all the best threads happen when I'm offline for the holidays.

I write science-fantasy. Or, if actually trying to fit into a marking category, I'd call it contemporary/urban fantasy.




Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #172 on: January 06, 2014, 01:22:09 PM »
I feel like just finally allowing spec-fic readers to actually search for things they like will go a long way, then we could promote the site because it would be offering something no one else really is at the moment.

In my experience, automated 'if you like this...' things are next to useless. Amazon continues to insist I'll like Sword of Truth even after I one-starred Wizard's First Rule.

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Offline Flopstick

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #173 on: January 06, 2014, 01:38:45 PM »
Translovecraftian cosmic futilitarianism 4 lyfe!

The best thing about 'indie' publishing - or online publishing, at least - for me, is that it gives even very niche spec fic genres a potential global reach. If I had to rely on getting my stuff into a shop, and one of my readers happening to go into that shop, and then seeing and buying it, I'd be stuffed. The people reading my stories aren't generally casual horror fans. They're the ones who've already read everything by HPL, and CAS, and Bloch, and Lin Carter, and Ramsey Campbell, and who still want more. Thankfully, I just need to tag my books with 'Lovecraft' and they can find them.

In the old days, the only way to reach them was by publishing in magazines - but that's never going to earn money, and it limits you to a few thousands words. Thanks to ebooks I can write stories to the length they need to be and know that people don't have to scour fanzine listings or publisher's lists to buy them. All hail t'internet!

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Re: The SPECULATIVE FICTION high-five circle.
« Reply #174 on: January 06, 2014, 01:46:55 PM »
A site with a search such as Vaalingrade outlined does seem cool. But at the end of the day, it's it just another book display site where authors put up their books but readers never come to. Getting readers to such a site would the hard part. Getting them to continually come back would be even harder.

Can't someone do more or less the same on Amazon? Put into the search term what they want. Plus on Amazon, they'll have a lot more choice, including all the bestsellers/big names. Plus on Amazon, search results will be ranked based on sales (which works as a pseudo quality control). And then this site will direct them back to Amazon or wherever, and where's the value in it for the reader to keep coming back?

But this doesn't help with promotions.

One way it could help is that you could get to see indie books similar to yours easily, so it might facilitate the grouping of books/authors. Then those authors could, if they wished, organize box sets or group promos with the similar authors.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 02:20:11 PM by David J Normoyle »


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