Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Cutting Edge of Science Fiction and Related Genres: Guest Post.


A Guest Post by ERIN LALE.

Lale's publishing career began in 1985. Her published works and paid works for hire include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, technical writing, speeches, catalog copy, puzzles, songs, films, academic papers, cartoons, print ads, TV commercials, operations & procedure manuals, photos, art, newsletters, jokes, recipes, translations, and web content. 

She wrote for The Sonoma Index-Tribune, and was the publisher and editor of Berserkrgangr Magazine, a quarterly that ran to 16 issues in the 90s. 

She was Oakes Valedictorian of UC-Santa Cruz with a BA in Soviet Political Analysis, owned and operated The Science Fiction Store in Las Vegas, invented a number of technical processes in iDEN and CDMA technology, was the founding Chairman of City Lights Artists' Co-op in Henderson, Nevada, served on the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Advisory Board, won the Double Ruby Award from the National Forensic League, and ran for Nevada State Assembly.

A complete list of her publishing credits is available on her yahoo page Many of her books are available on Amazon, both in print and electronic formats.

The cutting edge in science fiction books isn't strictly books, it's transmedia. Transmedia universes cross the boundaries between books, film, and performance art. That's the kind of thing I'm working on with Time Yarns, my shared world universe publishing imprint.  The explosion of transmedia is a direct result of the accessibility of internet publishing, but it started years ago with science fiction fans printing fanzines, and slowly turning sf conventions into venues for costumed skits on a stage as the world of costume contests evolved, as more and more often the costumes represented original characters and the skits became original stories.

The cutting edge in genres in the print era was always first found in small magazines like Berserkrgangr, a quarterly I published in the 90s.
Back then, the contemporary otherworlds genre had not even been named yet, and was in transition from what used to be called urban fantasy.  In the 90s, publishing werewolf stories was the cutting edge. Now that genre is all over the general bookstores and TV, which means it has reached its apex and will soon be on its way out. 
A little while ago, steampunk was the cutting edge. Small publishing houses, self publishing, and costuming guilds kept it alive and now it's starting to have its day in the movies. 

Soon we can expect steampunk to be all over the general bookstores. If the general bookstore business model survives long enough, in ten or fifteen years we can expect bizarro and  the weird west revival, and a revival of time travel stories.  Time travel stories are some of the oldest classics in sf, but right now, prompted by the interest in a related steampunk era remake movie, they are enjoying a renaissance among cutting edge small publishing houses, including Time Yarns and a comics publisher which is making a pre-Time Machine Jules Verne comic.

Magical realism came from a totally different direction, filtering down from high literature, but it's currently the hot new thing in the sf world.

Print magazines used to be the place where the cutting edge did its cutting.  But the print era is gone, and anthologies are the new magazine. Electronic publishing has changed everything. It's just like the technological innovation of cable TV, which resulted in a much lower viewing audience market share for the big general audience TV broadcast stations and allowed a fractured marketplace of specialty niches to appeal to many different audiences.
I will be featuring Erin and her new release next week on the site.

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