Monday, March 23, 2009

Crisis Time

Science fiction book sales are, except for established big-name authors, way down. Could it be something about fear of the future at a time of financial calamity unfolding even while technology changes society and the Earth itself in ways that seem out of control?

The kind of adversity that has our whole economy reeling hit publishing early. For years in the publishing business, money has poured into faster ways of making more money as over against service of the common good. So what other sectors feel now, the publishing world, its writers, editors, and other hard workers have felt for a long time: unrelenting pressure to produce more that sells better in less time with less resources, but none of that is enough, and too many people lose jobs and careers and hopes and dreams anyway. This year things seem to be sliding from bad to worse. Science fiction has been hit harder than its sister genre, fantasy, but no one feels very safe.

And yet science fiction, as a genre of hope, caution and wonder, is as full of possibility and entertainment, as ever. Many long-time readers love science fiction as much as ever. And thanks in large part to TV shows and movies, all kinds of people who are not lifelong SF readers can read SF and enjoy it. The star voyage goes on, for me and for everyone who likes good science fiction about life, love and wonder.

A novelette-length sequel to my novel Hurricane Moon appears in the May 2009 issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact. The magazine is on many newsstands and electronically available through Fictionwise and at a link on the Analog Website. The story's title is "Quickfeathers." It blends language, culture, and aerodynamics as the young colony on Planet Green makes a discovery that transforms how they understand their new world and their own human nature. As always in good science fiction, the future has fear and wonder, danger and opportunity, seasons of crisis and signs of hope. And for everybody who likes to read about flying, "Quickfeathers" centers on soaring on fiberglass wings and feathered wings.

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