Jeepers, is it that time again?  I should be in bed, but since I’m not, why don’t I take advantage of this last burst of energy to write a li’l blog?  Why not?

I realized today that, despite my profession, I am not really a science fiction fan.  Kind of weird, isn’t it?  I don’t like Stargate.  Or the new Battlestar: Galactica.  Or Doctor Who.  Or Torchwood.  Or Primieval.  Or Lost.  Or Heroes.  Or 95 % of what is on the comic book shelves.

I’m going to admit that this is my problem.  And it’s probably more of a current storytelling style than an actual problem with science fiction.  I don’t watch much non-sci fi TV, don’t read many fiction books.  My annoyances with the way stories are told is too nitpicky and out-of-sync with your average Joe that it’s really not worth talking about in detail.  So maybe it’s not fantasy / sci fi I have a problem with.  Maybe my problem is just with the new trends.

And I don’t know if I find that comforting or not.

It’s no wonder I consider myself a pulp writer, carrying on a tradition that doesn’t seem to have a comfortable place in this day and age.  At times, I’m amazed I have a career at all.  I know I’m a solid novelologist.  I know I can tell a unique and fun story and tell it well.  But am I offering what people want in this day and age?

And, yes, I know that if you’re reading this, you probably think I am.  Thanks for all your support.  Much appreciated, but I’m not writing this for an ego stroking since no ego stroking is necessary.  I do have a career, after all.  Someone thinks what I do is worth enough to write me a check every so often anyway.

Time for bed, so I guess I’ll leave the topic unexplored.

Nighty night, gang.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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One Comment

  1. acaciadad
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    If I understand you correctly, I feel the same way. I’m giving away my age when I say I was a friend of Nebula Grand Master Jack Williamson, who got his start in the pulps. His short story “The Humanoids” is still one of my favorites. He and Frederick Pohl coauthored some of the best novels in their SF trilogies; but, Jack (Dr. Williamson, to be accurate) realized that it took action, humor, character development and a plot that moved forward logically to make a novel work. He also told me that not everyone can do it, which is why I respect those who have the gift and make the effort to develop it.
    I’ve had a couple of non-fiction pieces published and I’m an award-winning speechwriter, so I actually have post-its next to me when I read in order to mark clever turns of phrase, wry observations, and anecdotes that can be transferred to real life situations. Occassionally, I’ll recognize where an author got something he’s using, since I have it in my own “swipe” files, a tool no speechwriter should ever be without if he or she wants to use humor in their efforts.
    I suppose what drew me to your work is that it has all the ingredients or which Jack spoke, the same ones that made pulp fiction so popular for so many years and which, frankly, in not much different form, continues to sell books today.
    I rarely read fantasy that doesn’t have a have strong undercurrent of humor, preferably of the witty kind. You and John Moore seem to handle that well.
    Too many modern fantasy writers stomp ahead in grim seriousness, like the politicians and preachers who do nothing but remind everyone that “life is real and life is earnest, so what have you got to be happy about?”
    Obviously, there are well-written tragedies (although I prefer not to spend my time with dysfunctional families or societies with little or not redeeming social value). By the time I put a book down, I’d like to feel happier, more enlightened, or in some other way better off for having read it.
    Your books do that. I read two of them to my wife, who has Alzheimer’s, but who providentially still has a sense of humor. She can’t speak, but she understands jokes. Reading “Gil’s All-Fright Diner” to her aloud (with different character voices) had us both laughing a lot. Being residents of the Fort Worth/Arlington, TX area made it fairly easy to come up with convincing voices, especially as we’re both familiar with West Texas and the Franklin Mountains. [How can you tell if a pickup truck is from West Texas? Answer: It has toilet paper on the dashboard.]
    So keep up the good work. Keep us interested in the characters and what happens to them, and keep us laughing, and we’ll keep on buying your books. We think Earl and Duke deserve a SyFy series of their own — a vampire/zombie traveling the roads of the West, putting wrongs to right as only they can. “The Mechanical Detective” is a marvelous character, too, and reminiscent of old-time SF.
    Major Rick (Army, Ret.) in Arlington

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