Pixel Scroll 10/23/16 Earth Scrolls Are Easy

(1) LE GUIN HEALTH NEWS. Ursula K. Le Guin, who was hospitalized for a few days this summer with heart problems, gave a health update in a comment at Book View Café on October 22.

The kindness of these messages is wonderful.  I wish I could thank you each. I can only thank you all with all my heart.

Health update: My daily bouquet of medicines with weird names is definitely doing its job.   Am quite recovered from the bad time, and get along fine if I don’t push it. My model of behavior is the Sloth.  Can’t hang from branches yet, but am real good at moving slo o o w w l y . . .

Best wishes to all my well-wishers.

(2) STARSHIPS IN OUR LIFETIME. Starship Engineer Workshops are being offered in London on November 12-13.

For further information or to book contact the team at: info@i4is.org  for more details.  For the full promotional flyer: http://i4is.org/app/webroot/uploads/files/SE_A4_Nov2016%20(AM)%20Vers%202.pdf

The Initiative for Interstellar Studies in collaboration with the British Interplanetary Society will deliver an updated Starship Engineer workshop course. Two one day courses, either attend one or both, each will be different and important in their own way.

12th November: Starship Engineer.  Aims to give a grounding in interstellar studies. It starts from considering the essential requirements to giving you an overview of different spacecraft systems, then takes you on a journey through several actual starship design studies. We use examples from the literature, but focus on two specific case studies, that of fusion and beamed-sail propulsion, as plausible ways by which we may someday reach the  stars.

13th November: Science Fiction Starships.  The works of science fiction literature have fascinating starship concepts, but how realistic are they? In this day course we will examine and evaluate the laser-sails in “The Mote in Gods Eye (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), Torch Ships in “Time for the Stars” (Robert Heinlein), Quantum Ramjets in “The Songs of Distant Earth” (Arthur C Clarke) and other inspirational examples of interstellar vessels….

Principal Lecturers: Kelvin F. Longis a physicist and aerospace engineer, until recently Chief Editor Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, author of the book “Deep Space Propulsion: A Roadmap to the Stars” and is the Executive Director i4is and a member of the Breakthrough Starshot advisory committee.

Rob Swinney is a former RAF Squadron Leader aerosystems engineer and is a Deputy Director of i4is. He, and Long, have both been involved in the creation and running of the only two modern starship design projects, Project Icarus (fusion) and Project Dragonfly (laser-sails).

(3) IN TRAINING. Kevin Standlee writes a lyrical post about taking the California Zephyr through the Sierras.

Speaking of the nice parts: the eastbound Zephyr includes some views through the Sierra Nevada that you don’t get on the westbound trip. For example, shortly after Colfax the train goes around “Cape Horn” with some spectacular views of the American River Canyon. Some of the trees have finally been cut back as well; for a while, they’d grown so thick that they cut off the vista, which was unfortunate. Eastbound you miss this because the normal eastbound track goes through a tunnel that custs off this corner with its precipitous view. I’m composing most of them while snaking our way up the mountain, but I can’t post it because on this stretch there is no cell phone signal. We’re on the opposite side of the mountains from the I-80 corridor where the cell phone towers are. Not that I mind. I’m mostly looking out the window. As a touch-typist, I don’t need to stare at the keyboard to write.

(4) NOT A TYPICAL ANALOG WRITER. Galactic Journey says Harry Harrison has finally registered on their radar screen –

Author Harry Harrison has been around for a long time, starting his science fiction writing career at the beginning of the last decade (1951).  Yet, it was not until this decade that I (and probably many others) discovered him.  He came into my view with the stellar Deathworld, a novel that was a strong contender for last year’s Hugo.  Then I found his popular Stainless Steel Rat stories, which were recently anthologized.  The fellow is definitely making a name for himself.

Harrison actually occupies a liberal spot in generally conservative Analog magazine’s stable of authors.  While Harry tends to stick with typical Analog tropes (psionics, humano-centric stories, interstellar hijinx), there are themes in his work which are quite progressive – even subversive, at least for the medium in which they appear.

For instance, there is a strong pro-ecological message in Deathworld.  I also detect threads of pacifism in Harrison’s works, not to mention rather unorthodox portrayal of women and sexual mores.  Harry isn’t Ted Sturgeon or anything, but he is definitely an outlier for Analog, and refreshing for the genre as a whole.

(5) ALMOST YOUR BIGGEST FAN. The Twitter user formerly known as Jim Henley knows how to pay a compliment.

(6) DILLON OBIT. Comics artist Steve Dillion died October 22 reports the BBC.

Steve Dillon, the legendary British comic book artist, known for his work on Preacher, Punisher, and 2000AD’s Judge Dredd has died aged 54.

His brother Glyn confirmed the death on Twitter, saying his “big brother and hero” had died in New York City.

Dillon was a prolific artist who began professional work at age 16, drawing for Marvel UK’s Hulk magazine.

He was best known for his US collaborations with writer Garth Ennis, creating classic cult comic titles.

In his Twitter profile, Dillon, originally from Luton, describes himself as: “A comic book bloke. Co-creator/Artist of Preacher. Co-founder/Editor of Deadline magazine. Artist on Punisher, Judge Dredd and many others.”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born October 23, 1942  — Michael Crichton.

(8) YOUR EPIC IMAGINATION. James Davis Nicoll says it’s “Good news!” Dorothy J. Heydt’s The Interior Life (published under penname Katherine Blake) available again as a free ebook.

Go here for the download.

(9) DO YOU LIKE WHAT SMART PEOPLE LIKE? Ann Leckie keeps hitting them out of the park. Today’s topic: “On Guilty Pleasures”.

Or Romance. Romance isn’t one of my things, right, but let’s be honest, a crappy detective novel or a crappy SF or Extruded Fantasy Product is just as bad as a crappy Romance. When it’s SF we’ll protest that no, that’s just a bad one, the whole genre’s not like that, but Romance? Romance is just stupid, man.

Isn’t it funny how guilty pleasures are things that poor people like–or tend to buy or use because it’s cheap. Isn’t it funny how guilty pleasures are things that teenage girls like, or women. Isn’t it funny how guilty pleasures are things we liked when we were kids.

I’m not saying that nothing can be criticized–there are surely bad Romance novels. Taylor Swift is a pretty good songwriter who has done some very admirable things, but she’s also had her less than admirable public moments. Velveeta doesn’t come out well in a comparison with really good cheese (unless its a competition for what will make the easiest mac & cheese, given only three minutes and a microwave to work with), and it’s probably not very good for you. I’m perfectly willing to criticize things I like, or consider criticism of those things, and still like them.

No, I’m talking about that weird, moral dimension to likes and dislikes. You like pumpkin spice anything? You should be ashamed. You should feel guilty, because you’re not supposed to like that, smart people don’t like that, people who like that have something wrong with them.

So much of what we like or dislike–what we’re publicly supposed to like or dislike–is functioning as in-group identifiers.

(10) HAN SOLO MOVIE CASTING. Donald Glover will play young Lando Calrissian, and YES he will wear a cape reports the Los Angeles Times.

Donald Glover is officially your new Lando Calrissian. Lucasfilm has announced that Glover will play the younger version of “Star Wars’” Cloud City administrator turned Rebel Alliance general in the upcoming standalone Han Solo film.

Glover will join Alden Ehrenreich, who was confirmed to play the young Solo during Star Wars Celebration in July.

According to the press release, the upcoming film will depict “Lando in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld — years before the events involving Han, Leia, and Darth Vader in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and his rise to Rebel hero in ‘Return of the Jedi.’”

(11) ACCELERATING HUMAN IMAGINATION IN ENGLAND. Did somebody think it wasn’t fast enough?

On November 24 and 25th on the campus of the University of Liverpool, London, the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination and the University of Liverpool, London will host a workshop called Accelerating Human Imagination, bringing together a number of US and European experts in the study of imagination. They will be presenting and discussing new research on questions such as: What is “imagination?” Is there a singular basis of imagination that develops into a number of different phenomena, or do we use the word imagination to group together a number of aspects of behavior and cognition into a common category? If we can better understand imagination, we might be able to find ways of directly engaging it in order to accelerate its operation. What use might we put this accelerated imagination to?

(12) RAW SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination is a  partner of the Raw Science Film Festival, which honors films on science and technology from around the world. The screening and award ceremony will take place on December 10, 2016, on the Fox Studio lot inside the historic Zanuck Theater. Sheldon Brown will be on hand to present the inaugural Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination Prize in Speculative Media. The deadline for festival submissions is November 9.

(13) INDIE SHRINKS. At Mad Genius Club, Fynbospress makes insightful speculations about the new author earnings report.

Interesting times, interesting results. After two and half years of constant growth, this time we see the first contraction for indie market share. Trad Pub’s big five showed a very slight gain in unit sales, but most of the market share went to Amazon’s own publishing arm, and a smaller amount to uncategorized single-author publishers (mostly indies).

On gross revenues, most of the lost market share went to small and medium publishers, with a smaller amount to amazon Pub.

Having the what, we’re left to speculate on the why, and how. Causes may include, but are not limited to: Amazon’s Kindle first program, pushing their own new releases; Bookbub’s increasing percentage of big and medium press slots as opposed to indies (and increased price raising the barrier to the fewer slots left); Amazon’s new promoted/sponsored search ads; consolidation of indies into small pubs; the stars being in the right configuration for C’thulu to rise from dead R’lyeh; other factors unknown at this time.

(14) SAY AHHHHH. Research shows “Migraine Sufferers Have More Nitrate-Reducing Microbes in their Mouths”.

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have found that the mouths of migraine sufferers harbor significantly more microbes with the ability to modify nitrates than people who do not get migraine headaches. The study is published October 18 by mSystems.

“There is this idea out there that certain foods trigger migraines — chocolate, wine and especially foods containing nitrates,” said first author Antonio Gonzalez, a programmer analyst in the laboratory of Rob Knight, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego and senior author on the study. “We thought that perhaps there are connections between what people are eating, their microbiomes and their experiences with migraines.”

Many of the 38 million Americans who suffer from migraines report an association between consuming nitrates and their severe headaches. Nitrates, found in foods such as processed meats and green leafy vegetables and in certain medicines, can be reduced to nitrites by bacteria found in the mouth. When circulating in the blood, these nitrites can then be converted to nitric oxide under certain conditions. Nitric oxide can aid cardiovascular health by improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure. However, roughly four in five cardiac patients who take nitrate-containing drugs for chest pain or congestive heart failure report severe headaches as a side effect.

(15) SQUINTING. Kevin Marks discusses “How the Web Became Unreadable”. Surprisingly, he’s not talking about all the political posts.

It’s been getting harder for me to read things on my phone and my laptop. I’ve caught myself squinting and holding the screen closer to my face. I’ve worried that my eyesight is starting to go.

These hurdles have made me grumpier over time, but what pushed me over the edge was when Google’s App Engine console—a page that, as a developer, I use daily—changed its text from legible to illegible. Text that was once crisp and dark was suddenly lightened to a pallid gray. Though age has indeed taken its toll on my eyesight, it turns out that I was suffering from a design trend.

There’s a widespread movement in design circles to reduce the contrast between text and background, making type harder to read. Apple is guilty. Google is, too. So is Twitter.

(16) HAGIOGRAPHY. Leonard Maltin interviews Stan Lee for Parade.

DINNER WITH DOCTOR STRANGE

When asked which three of his superheroes he would like to have dinner with, he takes a moment to think the question through. “I’d probably enjoy talking to Iron Man,” he says. “I’d like to talk to Doctor Strange. I like the Silver Surfer. Iron Man is sort of a classier Donald Trump, if you can imagine that sort of thing. The Silver Surfer is always philosophical; he comments about the world and man’s position in the universe, why we don’t enjoy living on this wonderful planet and why we don’t help each other.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, James Davis Nicoll, JJ and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]

146 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/23/16 Earth Scrolls Are Easy

  1. (4) but Harry Harrison is so cute! Why would one analyse him politically instead of just appreciating his romances?

    (8) It would be nice for Heydt’s work to be more universally available, and for a reasonable price (not free and not prohibitive). Sadly few authors have their work available on those terms…

    (9) Hmm, well pumpkin flavor beer is … ok, but … it’s just pumpkin flavor beer. Enjoyable once a year. (Normal beer is, except once a year as a change, better is what I am saying here…)

    But lots of things involving kabocha (pumpkin) are enjoyable a lot, not just once a year. Salad. Piza. Chili.

    (Last year Suntory did a pumpkin beer which was good in smallish doses, but actually this year I have not noticed anyone doing a pumpkin beer yet.)

    (15) It is not just the web either, my ereader is somewhat prone to obeying the author (?) command for less contrast instead of my own request for maximum contrast. Of course this is not a new thing, it is just annoying that it has not gone away, and indeed has spread to more things one want to actually read.

  2. Greg Hullender, re: Christian-themed SFF. Wouldn’t the “Left Behind” books qualify?

    And a few years ago I picked up a book at the library that was about the clone of Jesus, derived from the blood on the Shroud of Turin. <obligatory pause for outraged cries by people conversant with the history of the Shroud> <additional obligatory pause for outraged cries by people conversant with cloning> I no longer recall the author or title (I read about half the novel, decided throwing library books at the wall was not fair to the library, and returned it) but a quick google leads me to believe it may have been the first novel of this trilogy. (How appropriate that it was a trilogy….)

  3. My astigmatism hates low contrast type. Even though I correct to slightly better than twenty twenty.

    Sites that use yellow or blue text on black background are particularly bad. Indistinct gray on gray is just hateful.

  4. Frank Peretti wrote at least two Christian horror novels–it’s been a really, really long time since I read them, though. Honestly, it was forgettable horror. Bad guys were demons, everybody prays before a fight, somebody accepts Jesus, and that was about it. I think they did well though?

  5. One could certainly argue that some of Gene Wolfe’s work counts as Christian horror, and there are some terrifying passages in various of Madeleine L’Engle’s novels. And several of Charles Williams’ novels. I know there are some interesting stories working with Christian elements by non-Christian authors, but it’s (ironically in light of the post) a pre-migraine day for me and many names get hard to find. I should return to this subject later.

  6. I’m pretty sure I read a different Cloned-Christ-from-Shroud book, simply called Children of the Shroud. I seem to recall it was decent horror, but my standards at the time were calibrated to late teenager.

    I’m pretty sure almost any prepared good labelled “pumpkin spice” (lattes, teas, muffins… rather than spice mixes) also contains some pumpkin or pumpkin flavour. That’s how you can distinguish pumpkin spice tea from chai.

  7. almost any prepared good labelled “pumpkin spice” (lattes, teas, muffins… rather than spice mixes)

    I have some “pumpkin and spice” quick hot cereal. It’s surprisingly good. The same company also had a chai-spiced version, which works pretty well, too.

  8. Hrm…..I guess I’m not sure what qualifies as “Christian SFF” or “Christian horror”.

    Would “Preacher” count? I’m working my way through that and enjoying it quite a bit. Also, the “Left Behind” series probably should count, eh?

    I picked up L.L. Foster’s Servant: The Awakening from a dollar store a while back. Maybe that should have been the warning sign. It started slow and cardboard-y, but got a bit better. I think it is going to be a rare (for me) 3 star-DNF review. The characters have grown on me, but one of the themes is that the demons that keep popping up all happen to be cancer patients. The author goes to great lengths to attempt to separate the disease from the character flaws in the demons. I think it fails in that attempt.

    The book might be problematic to some folks based on (fe)male gaze issues I suppose.

    The larger plot is that our heroine is forced by God to hunt down and kill demons. If she refuses, then she experiences ever increasing pain until she complies.

    In any case, I don’t think Christian elements are all that rare. They crop up more in the fantasy and horror end of the speculative fiction pool.

    B/R
    Dann

  9. Christian SFF: The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb. A midlist book on the whole, but it starts with a vivid imagining of the journey to the afterlife that stuck with me for a long time.

    Pumpkin spice trivia: It’s also not too different from Chinese five-spice mix.

  10. Christian SFF: James Blish’s classic A Case of Conscience and its sequels are a fascinating and thought-provoking example. And, of course, there’s A Canticle for Leibowitz, also a classic, although that might be considered a borderline example.

    Some of Tim Powers’ works edge in that direction as well, although he tends not to be particularly overt about it.

  11. On Christian SFF: quite a bit of Connie Willis’ work – e.g., “Samaritan” – qualifies. R. A. Lafferty wrote a fair bit of it, including “And Walk Now Gently Through the Fire”. There’s Boucher’s “The Quest for St. Aquin”. The Dresden Files include Christian elements, mingled with several other traditions.

    As for specifically Christian horror, what of Dracula?

  12. Connie Willis has a lot of Christian stories: “Inn”, f’rex. Her collection “Miracle, and other Christmas stories” naturally has several. How about Mary Doria Russell? Or Clarke’s “The Star”? Seconding “Quest For St. Aquin”.

    There’s a ton of self-pub Christian SFF; sadly, it tends to be badly-written crap, good neither as SFF or Christian. If they bother to make it allegorical, they usually make CS Lewis look like a master of complete amazing subtlety. And you don’t even get the classical mythology references. Just being hit upside the head with a big stick (cross?) of Evangelical stuff. Like, y’know, JCW only with smaller words.

  13. Has nobody mentioned Niven and Pournelle’s Inferno yet? A sort-of-SFNal retelling of Dante’s Inferno.

  14. The list has wandered far enough afield we can add Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Star”.

  15. Deborah Turner Harris and Katherine Kurtz’s Adept series (modern fantasy) is grounded in Christianity to the point where I think it belongs here.

  16. Towing Jehovah
    anything from the Church of the SubGenius, damn near
    Good Omens
    Happy Birthday, Wanda June (has Jesus as a character, if I’m not misremembering)
    Stranger in a Strange Land (reminds me of the above-mentioned HB,WJ)
    Good News from Outer Space (which has one of my favorite lines, to the effect that the protagonist finds that, during the night, Dadaist punks have broken into his crappy car and installed an expensive stereo system in it)

  17. More of a reach, but Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion, etc., are infused with Tolkien’s Roman Catholic values and worldview, and were very popular in the theology department of the Catholic women’s college I attended. We had some great discussions as a result.

  18. @Xtifr

    Some of Tim Powers’ works edge in that direction as well, although he tends not to be particularly overt about it.

    The quasi-hysterical Catholicism of the protagonists of Declare and the “All Communists are evil” thing and the sheer bloody offensiveness of it all* (because Declare is bloody offensive, but Americans just cannot see it) not just annoyed me to no end, they also permanently put me off Tim Powers, an author whose work I had enjoyed before.

    I tried reading only his works not set in the 20th century, but I never managed to recapture the magic. If only he’d stuck to the 18th and 19th centuries. Cause secret history is only fun when it doesn’t affect people who are still alive. Though I once met someone who was deeply offended by The Anubis Gates getting Coleridge wrong, even though Coleridge had been dead for two hundred years by that point, but couldn’t even begin to grasp why I’d find Declare horribly offensive.

    *Besides, Tim Powers said rude and clueless things about Berliner Weiße (and if the raspberry version bothers him, he’s never had woodruff), gets one of the few streetnames in Berlin that never changed in two hundred years wrong and managed to get me outraged defending Berlin Wall victims, a topic I normally don’t feel particularly strongly about. The lesson from this is: Don’t use other people’s history as your playground, because it bloody isn’t.

  19. And a few years ago I picked up a book at the library that was about the clone of Jesus, derived from the blood on the Shroud of Turin.

    This reminds me of a short story. Some googling shows it to be “Born Again” by K.D. Wentworth from the May 2005 Fantasy & Science Fiction. Googling for “”Born Again” Wentworth” first revealed to me the annoying coincidence that there was a TV series named Wentworth with an episode titled “Born Again”, which made me worried about any useful results being drowned out, but adding the “K.D” quickly turned up the text of the story here. (ETA I see that if you go up the directory tree there you’ll find lots of stuff.)

    (My initial googling showed me that of course there is a TV Tropes page for Clone Jesus, but the Wentworth story isn’t listed.)

    Does the Catholic Church in Dan Simmonses Hyperion Cantos count as Christianity n SF?

  20. @darren
    I’d say that the Hyperion Cantos does. Especially because, upon criticizing Dan Simmons’ depiction of Islam in OLYMPOS, a troll said that I was being a hypocrite for not seeing that Simmons “Criticized” (my air quotes) Catholicism in the Hyperion Cantos.

  21. Christian horror? The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, Omen and countless others. Or is it the christians that are supposed to be horrible?

  22. @Cora: you should try Powers’s latest, Medusa’s Web; it goes back and forth between present-day and historic Hollywood, so you aren’t likely to notice missed details. It may not have the panache of his early works (as a sometime brewer I was very pleasd by The Drawing of the Dark), but I enjoyed it.

  23. How about Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series? It seems that the SFF field contains a significant quantity of works that include themes that reference Christianity.

    B/R,
    Dann

  24. Hampus Eckerman: Or is it the christians that are supposed to be horrible?

    Excuse me while I’m busy not laughing.

  25. Just off the top of my head, but I wonder if there is a difference between literature with Christian elements or themes, and Christian Literature (in a marketing category). I have never seen the Left Behind Series in the SF category at a bookstore: I learned about it from some of my students in a creative writing class one year who were big fans and who all wanted to write similar stories (I have three or four as I recall). They called it sf (I have students identify basic genre preferences so I can put writers with similar genre interests in small workshopping groups together). And over the years I’ve learned there is a whole separate Christian publishing (books and magazines), marketing and bookselling industry out there.

  26. Amusing: an email from a business that does herbs and spices, with a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte

    Ingredients:
    1 cup milk
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1 Tbsp. pumpkin purée
    1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    1 shot espresso or hot brewed coffee

    Preparation:
    Combine milk, sugar, pumpkin purée, and pumpkin pie spice in a small pan. Heat the mixture, then strain to remove excess pieces of pumpkin. Pour into 2 mugs and add a shot of espresso or hot brewed coffee to each.

  27. John A Arkansawyer

    I sailed right by this comment without thinking much about it because it just
    seemed to be a continuation of the Jack T. Chick conversation over at Pharyngula. Then I remembered this isn’t Pharyngula. There’s a pointer there for an excellent online fanzine called THE IMP, with an in-depth meditation on Chick’s world, which I recommend to one and all.

    In case you missed it, Chick has just passed on. I’ve been seeing his works since the 70s. I have to say, the guy probably made some kind of a difference, and he certainly produced some interesting comics. His uncredited (by his own modesty) second artist, Fred Clark, is a terrific draftsman.

    Sic transit. Further, deponent sayeth not.

  28. @robinareid

    And over the years I’ve learned there is a whole separate Christian publishing (books and magazines), marketing and bookselling industry out there.

    My mid-sized town always had a few bookstores that were devoted (heh) to selling Christian books other than the bible. The one national chain that I know of, Agape Books, closed their local store a few years back when the company was going through some very rough times.

    All of our other new book stores (Waldenbooks, a couple mom and pops) went out of business at about the same time.

    My awareness of the Christian market might be influenced by the fact that Michigan is also home to the Zondervan imprint located in Grand Rapids. They were bought by HarperCollins a couple decades back. They not only sell books wholesale, they also ran a couple retail stores at one time.

    I think you are on to something relative to marketing. Stores are probably in the habit of putting all of their books from Tyndale House in the “religion” section. The extra step needed to set aside the Left Behind books so they can go in the SFF section probably requires more effort/thought than they want to put into the task.

    As another example, I rarely find Brian Keene’s books in the horror section of the bookstores I patronize. There just is less effort being put into sorting books and displaying them where they might be best presented to potential readers.

    B/R
    Dann

  29. Dann: Stores are probably in the habit of putting all of their books from Tyndale House in the “religion” section. The extra step needed to set aside the Left Behind books so they can go in the SFF section probably requires more effort/thought than they want to put into the task. As another example, I rarely find Brian Keene’s books in the horror section of the bookstores I patronize. There just is less effort being put into sorting books and displaying them where they might be best presented to potential readers.

    I think it’s just as likely that they put them in the Religion section because they would languish (or at least they believe that those books would languish) in the SFF and Horror sections; genre fans on the whole seem to consist of a much higher percentage of agnostics and atheists than the population at large (this is purely anecdata based on my own observation; I don’t know whether any census of genre fans has ever been done with regard to religious beliefs).

  30. @Dann: Where’s Brian Keene usually shelved? I know him only has a horror/thriller writer. I think the one book of his I have was in the horror section or SF section and I’ve seen his other work in, hmm, mostly horror section, IIRC. Does he write in several genres and get his work mis-shelved? That’s a drag, but can happen.

  31. @Kendall

    Sorry for the delay. I think Mr. Keene’s work should largely be in the horror section. At the last couple of B&N stores that I checked, they either didn’t have any in stock, or they were in the general fiction section.

    @JJ

    I seem to recall the Narnia books being frequently located in the SF section. They seem to do OK.

    B/R
    Dann

  32. Dann: I seem to recall the Narnia books being frequently located in the SF section. They seem to do OK.

    They are also 1) considered fantasy classics, and 2) not obviously religious to a lot of people. I don’t think you can determine anything about the appeal of contemporary religious SFF by looking at the Narnia books.

  33. @JJ

    My only point is that you never know if something will work out if it is never tried. Putting copies in both places would be an interesting experiment.

  34. Dann: My only point is that you never know if something will work out if it is never tried. Putting copies in both places would be an interesting experiment.

    I agree with that — but my point is I think it’s already been tried, and they’re doing it the way they are because they’ve tried it the other way and found that the books don’t move.

    Booksellers have their own trade publications which share articles about what various stores have found to work or not work. Managers have experience of trying and seeing what moves from where. And chain bookstores may have higher-ups who dictate where things go, based on research they’ve done or seen.

    I don’t think that these bookstores are operating in a vacuum. I don’t think they’re shelving religious SFF based on guesses.

  35. I cross-stocked genre fiction into the mainstream sections and vice-versa when I ran a book section as part of a larger store. It amounted to a one-person operation, so it worked for me. I was hand-selling books and things which let me make odd connections for regular customers were very useful.

    I hardly ever saw them sell outside their usual section without intervention.

Comments are closed.