Tie-In Fiction, Orphaned Books, Sick Prisoners, Etc.

Over at Jeff VanderMeer’s Ecstatic Days, there was an interesting conversation about genre and tie-in fiction. As someone who has written quite a bit of both, I found the points raised both familiar and interesting all over again. Here’s one, about the number of prominent writers of original stuff who have also worked in tie-ins:

I guess what a lot of readers don’t know is that high-profile authors of original fiction have written tie-in work in the past. Christopher Priest (of The Prestige fame) wrote a tie-in novel to accompany the David Cronenberg movie eXistenZ. World Fantasy Award winner Robert Holdstock has written tie-in fiction. James Blish novelised Star Trek. Jack Yeovil was a pseudonym of Kim Newman, who wrote many well-received Warhammer books. The list goes on…

I would add Liz Hand, Brian Evenson, Tod Goldberg (and VanderMeer himself)… And, of course, me. Evenson and Goldberg are of particular interest, perhaps, since they come from a more literary background. Could tie-in fiction be achieving a sort of respectability, at least as a valid place for respectable writers to go play? Developing…

More publishing self-reflection from Jeff Rivera at GalleyCat in this post about orphaned books. My first novel, A Scattering of Jades, was orphaned twice at Tor. Looking back on it, I think this had quite an effect on the next several years of my career as a novelist.

In other news, “Prison health care costs rise as inmates get older and sicker.” This, you will perhaps recall, is one of the cost pressures that got people thinking about life-term buyouts in a recent novel…like Stan Robinson said the other day in the Guardian (and others have said before him), we’re living science fiction right now. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects the genre itself. (Although it could be argued that any culture that survives into a future imagined by an earlier generation of that culture is, in a sense, living science fiction. So from that perspective the idea of “living science fiction” is kind of obvious and meaningless insofar as it basically means “existing for more than a couple of generations beyond the invention of a literature interested in technological progress and influence.” That’s an argument for another time.)

Speaking of Stan Robinson, I’m dying to read Galileo’s Dream.

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