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Comment from the book world in August 2005

August 2005

'Do we need science fiction?'

22 August 2005

'So, in 2004, do we need science fiction? Some features of the world of 2004 resemble science fictional dreams of the past; some science fiction scenarios are obsolete. But history hasn't ended yet. In the coming few years climate adjustments alone will ensure that whatever we run out of - oil, fresh water, clean air - change itself will not be in short supply. There will be no shortage of raw material for science fiction literature, whatever becomes of genre categories in bookshops.'

Stephen Baxter in The Times

'A fault line in America'

8 August 2005

'In America, there's a huge schism between literary and commercial, created largely by marketing and by chain bookstores. If you're commercial, you get a lot of money put into your books, better placement in bookstores, widespread release - but no reviews. If you're literary, you get reviews and nominations. I very clearly and intentionally chose the commercial route - all I lost was my pride. Because I don't write in one genre, people have a hard time pinning me down, which is not always a good thing, but it does mean I do get reviews...If you're a commercial fiction writer and you happen to slip them a good book, then more power to you... There's a fault line in America, there really is. Anita Shreve's easier to read than me yet she's considered literary. That's totally to do with the format, and yet Anita is marketed commercially, so there's crossover.'

Jodi Picoult interviewed in Publishing News by Liz Thomson

Writing historical novels

1 August 2005

'Researching any historical novels can be both a pain and a pleasure. One danger is that the author gets so interested in the research that he does not do any writing... I am one of those lucky few authors who was published straightaway, but the publishing business has changed since then, and is much more competitive. I sent my own first novel straight to a publisher, but nowadays it is more common to sell work through an agent.

I feel that anyone who wants to write historical fiction needs to love the genre, rather than be tempted to have a go at historical novels just because they seem to be fashionable right now. Aspiring historical novelists need to have something new to say, and to avoid rehashing old clichés about the repressed Victorians covering up table legs. But most of all, new novelists need to enjoy what they are doing, because this enjoyment will show in their writing.'

Jude Morgan, author of Passion in Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published: