Death of the Novel: Reports Greatly Exaggerated?

There has been a furore of late about comments by Will Self on the death of the novel: or, to be precise, on the death of literary fiction.  As anyone can see, certain types of novel are flourishing: fantasy (Philip Pullman, J K Rowling), Sci-Fi (can I mention ‘Replicas’ and the Hugo Prize once more here?https://amzn.to/2IygeeB) crime (‘Girl on Something Somewhere’) and soft porn (you know which) are clearly selling well.  But there’s an argument that TV box sets have replaced narrative; and whilst it’s true that we are living in a golden age of TV drama (I’m glued to ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’ right now) some of those same box sets are based on novels and sales of said novels go up when the series are aired.  Examples include Vera, Game of Thrones, Poldark and of course Sherlock, which caused me to take out and re-read some of Conan Doyle’s stories and relate them to the TV ‘updates’.  That’s not to mention all the literary classics which get box-setted * every few years, such as The Forsyte Saga and anything by Dickens or Austen.  * OMG what a terrible compound verb!

Will Self may have a point, though I suspect pundits have been predicting the novel’s demise ever since it was born.  Like a sickly baby – like Stephen Hawking as soon as he was diagnosed – people have been expecting LitFic to pop its clogs for ever, yet valiantly it carries on, like a bee who doesn’t know that it can’t fly.  Or like Snoopy who doesn’t know that the world is too miserable for him to be dancing:

https://bit.ly/2GFYnlh

The most recent argument for the demise of the novel is the decrease in our attention spans.  It’s a fair point; we have so many distractions now that to sit for several hours with a novel is much more difficult than it used to be.  Then there’s online publishing and self-publishing, plus the recession – all leading to the decline in traditional outlets.

I have a dream (oo!  Did you hear about Martin Luther King’s granddaughter saying she had a dream that ‘enough is enough’ for guns?  Terrific:

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/yolanda-renee-king-mlks-granddaughter-enough-is-enough/

Anyway – I have a dream.  It’s not the same order of dream but it’s a dream nevertheless, that somehow the future lies in the oral tradition.  I am convinced that we have to go back to our oral roots: spoken word is already massively popular, especially with young people, because it’s the antidote to an automated, virtual world.  It is direct and personal, it is up-front and face to face.  It’s healthy too, as Michael Rosen says in this article:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/09/performance-poetry-turner-prize-judges-spoken-word

So now we need to do for prose what performance has done for poetry.  I don’t mean endless readings; of course a novel can’t be performed in the way that a poem can.  But if Dickens did it, so can we; and in my mind there is a stage where I will perform parts of novels along with poetry.

Anyway, here are some of Will Self’s musings:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/02/will-self-novel-dead-literary-fiction

and here are some counter-arguments:

http://theconversation.com/will-self-why-his-report-on-the-death-of-the-novel-is-still-premature-94050

Happy reading!

Kirk out

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Wings

Hope is the thing with feathers, as Emily Dickinson said, and yesterday we were all in a pretty feathered state as we waited for 8 pm to arrive.  To be longlisted for the Hugo award is a pretty big deal; and as things stood yesterday morning Replicas was at no: 14, making it unlikely that it would be within the top five by evening.  But still there was hope, and all day we celebrated this unlooked-for good news, even going so far as to get a takeaway pizza and a bottle of wine in the evening.  It was terribly exciting, even though the announcements were about as low-key as you could get, with the live feed being just a screen in a bar somewhere in San Jose beamed onto youtube.  Sadly ‘Replicas’ did not feature in the shortlist, but since other categories featured the likes of Philip Pullman, Iain M Banks and an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, it was an honour just to be considered.  We’re hoping now that the publishers will put something on the book jacket, which should improve sales.

Here are the shortlisted works:

https://www.tor.com/2018/03/31/2018-hugo-award-finalists-announced/

So if you haven’t already got your copy, here’s where to get something longlisted for the Hugo!!!

 

Kirk out

Hugo What? Hugo Who? Longlisted for Where?

OMG.  That’s all I can say.  O – M – G.  It’s just one of those moments where you sit open-mouthed and just say:

https://tenor.com/view/friends-janice-omg-oh-my-god-gif-4089127

It all started this morning.  We were – well, we were doing what I can only describe as praying and OH said, in a list of things, ‘Oh, and thanks for Steve’s email about Hugo.’  I kept my peace till Amen and then I said, ‘Steve?  Hugo?  Who’s Hugo?’

‘Oh, yes,’ says he.  ‘I got an email from Steve at GAILE (his publishers) saying I’m on the list for Hugo.’

Gritting my teeth I said, ‘and who is Hugo?’

‘Not who.  What.  Hugo is a Sci Fi award.  In fact it’s THE Sci Fi award.’

‘What?  You’re up for an award and you didn’t even tell me?’

‘Well, I only just found out.’

‘And you decided to tell God before me?’

‘Well, to be fair, God already knew…’

‘Exactly!’

So, all we know is that ‘Replicas’ –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Replicas-Galactic-Association-Intelligent-life/dp/1973482177/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522478286&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Replicas+Amanda+McIntyre+Ure

– is up for a Hugo award and that the shortlist of five will be announced this evening, 8 pm our time.

http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2018-hugo-awards/

I think it’s unlikely he’ll make the shortlist but bloody hell, to be considered is a huge deal.

Kirk out

 

 

 

News! News! Good News!

No, I haven’t gone all evangelical on you: I just wanted to post some news about OH’s book.  As well as being out in paperback and widely available:

…… it has just been nominated for a prize!  Yep, ‘Replicas’ is up for the James Tiptree Jr award:

https://tiptree.org

So that’s all good.  I’ve finished reading it now and will post a review at some point: suffice it to say that for a person who doesn’t generally like SF, I found it surprisingly readable.  And that’s not down to the author being OH: let’s face it, there’s a lot of his stuff which I find amazingly unreadable…

So get your copy now!  Buy buy buy!

Kirk out

Yes, My Other Half’s Novel is Out in Print!!!

Today’s news is that OH’s novel Replicas which came out in Kindle form a few months back, is out in print!  I haven’t actually read it yet because I can’t read books from a screen, but here’s the link:

So get yours today!  Buy buy buy!  Delivered in time for Christmas!

Oh, and I hope it’s OK to link here to the Insecure Writers’ Group, as Friday is so close to Christmas…

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

Kirk out