Why Publishers Are Always Looking For The Next Old Man's War

Many of us have been reading science fiction for years, and we bring all of that weight of experience and knowledge to every new book we read. But to keep growing, science fiction has to reach readers who know nothing about the genre — so publishers need to find good "entry level" books, says Tor editor Patrick Nielsen-Hayden.

Interviewed in Locus Magazine, Nielsen-Hayden and his wife and collaborator Teresa talk about their experiences in fandom, and the challenges of genre publishing. And Patrick Nielsen-Hayden explains:

These days I’m actually less interested in finding the next Book of the New Sun, and more on the lookout for books like Old Man’s War or Little Brother, what John Scalzi calls entry-level science fiction. It’s comprehensible even if you haven’t been pickled in SF for the last 25 years. The Book of the New Sun is a great piece of work, it’s a masterpiece for people who have spent decades inhaling vast quantities of science fiction and fantasy. I’m at least as interested in books like Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, because it tore through a pile of readers inside Tor who almost never read SF. They all latched onto Spin and went, ‘Wow! This is science fiction that I actually like!’’’

There's also some great stuff about the fact that books aren't just competing with other books any more — they're competing with DVDs and video games and the internet and 500 channels of cable TV. The whole thing is worth checking out. [Locus Magazine]