Some thoughts raised by the recent episode of The Coode Street Podcast, featuring Locus editor/debut novelist Amelia Beamer:
Amelia’s first zomromcom novel The Loving Dead sounds all kinds of awesome and if I hadn’t already pre-ordered it, I would be doing so on the strength of this podcast! The discussion of Kelly Link’s influence on how zombie stories can be told was also really interesting. Also the most recent zombie contingency plan I read was in a Glee fanfic. They get around!
The gang discuss the growing divide in the scene between short and long fiction as one is increasingly published by small/independent presses and the other by mass market. While I agree with this discussion in the main, I do think it should be pointed out that the one area this seems to not be true (and is becoming less true if that makes sense) is YA. I’ve been saying for the last couple of years that some of the most interesting work in spec fic seems to be coming out of the YA field. I’ve also noticed more and more mass market short fiction collections emerging from that field – they might have trashy titles and seem to be mostly about vampires, zombies, boyfriends and prom dates, but they are also featuring some of the most respected writers in the field, such as Holly Black, Libba Bray, the Larbalesterfelds, and so on. I see these books popping up in places like the local Big W (the closest thing Australia has to a Wal-Mart, I think) and can never resist picking them up, because even though sometimes they will have a bunch of cheeseball Buffy wannabe tales in them, there is almost certain to be a couple of real gems, and even the average stories are a lot more readable to me than the contents of an average issue of F&SF.
This is particularly noteworthy, I think, considering the massmarket paperback release of Kelly Link’s YA collection, Pretty Monsters. I’ve seen it a few places and didn’t buy it because I knew I had all the stories, but since then the very existence of that book has (quite appropriately) been eating my brain, to the point that I know next time I go into town I am going to pick it up. It’s a freaking Kelly Link book, and seeing it on bookshelves in my home town instead of having to order a pretty hardback from Small Beer Press is all kinds of awesome. I regularly lend out her first two collections, and I know that this is a book I will regularly press into people’s hands. So yes, I’m going to be buying it.
I’m actually completely in the mood to reread Kelly Link’s body of work, and not just because of Gary Wolfe reminding me how awesome Magic For Beginners was.