Tag Archives: fiction

Talking trilogies

Justin Landon asks a great question: why are there so many trilogies? He posts his research (much more than I’d ever do) over on the Tor blog. It’s worth reading. You should do so.

I have to admit to being flummoxed by the “trend” as it does seem new-ish to me. Of course, Landon shows that stories of three have been around a long while, but these days it just feels contrived and forced at times.

I’ve always thought that it was a sales and marketing decision, as whenever the “next in the series” is promoted and marketed, attention and sales naturally spike for the first book. Which, of course,  is a good thing.


I only bring this up because I read two books last year that ended (each after 400+ pages) with no resolution. And each looking towards the next book to be released sometime in the next 11-16 months. WHAT!? I was pretty ticked. Had I known they were the first in a planned trio I would have waited. This is what I did with Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. It was tons of fun and worth the wait as I could binge read all of them in one coherent flurry of pages.


Don’t get me wrong. I love a book series. But it’s totally ok for one book to be one whole story. I want to dive deep. But I also want to know when I’m going to be reading one story over three books and two years. I’d be a proponent of a big sticker on the front that says “1st book in a planned 3 book series” or some such. But I imagine publishers wouldn’t go for that. I wonder if authors are of a different opinion? If three-book chunks are needed to keep folks like Scalzi and Grant at the keyboard, then please disregard this post.

Maybe I’m just immature and hate to wait. Or maybe I just need to do a little more research (of the Justin Landon quality) on that hot-off-the-press novel before picking it up to see if I’m going to be left hanging or not.

Or maybe I need to get comfy with the word “omnibus” and find some.

2009 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Winners

For 27 years, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest has been urging readers to send along the best of the worst opening lines for fictitious novels. They are always bad… which is good. And the best are really punny, even funny.

David McKenzie won this year’s contest. You can click through to read his entry. But I actually preferred the runner-up, so I include it below, plus a few others. If you do click through to their site, you can read all of the winners and runners-up in all the various categories.

This year’s Runner-Up was by Warren Blair:

The wind dry-shaved the cracked earth like a dull razor–the double edge kind from the plastic bag that you shouldn’t use more than twice, but you do; but Trevor Earp had to face it as he started the second morning of his hopeless search for Drover, the Irish Wolfhound he had found as a pup near death from a fight with a prairie dog and nursed back to health, stolen by a traveling circus so that the monkey would have something to ride.

Greg Homer’s “Vile Pun” category winner:

Using her flint knife to gut the two amphibians, Kreega the Neanderthal woman created the first pair of open-toad sandals.

Eric Rice won the “Detective” category with:

She walked into my office on legs as long as one of those long-legged birds that you see in Florida – the pink ones, not the white ones – except that she was standing on both of them, not just one of them, like those birds, the pink ones, and she wasn’t wearing pink, but I knew right away that she was trouble, which those birds usually aren’t.

One of my favorite “Dishonorable Mentions” this year was penned by Dan Blaufuss:

As Lieutenant Baker shrank his lips back to their normal size, he tried desperately to think of a situation in which his new-found power might be useful, as have I, your narrator.

The Bad Sex Award of Fiction

The Literary Review has released the shortlist for this year’s Bad Sex in Fiction award. The award is designed to

“…gently dissuading authors and publishers from including unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise sound literary novels”.

Here is the shortlist, in full:

James Buchan for The Gate of Air
Simon Montefiore for Sashenka
John Updike for The Widows of Eastwick
Kathy Lette for To Love, Honour and Betray
Alastair Campbell for All in the Mind
Rachel Johnson for Shire Hell
Isabel Fonseca for Attachment
Ann Allestree for Triptych of a Young Wolf
Russell Banks for The Reserve
Paulo Coelho for Brida

Last year’s winner was Norman Mailer and it was well deserved. This year’s winner will be awarded the Plaster Foot award November 25th.

{the Guardian}

Merging Media

The creator of CSI and Dutton are teaming up to produce a new three-book series of “digital novels”. Let me preface this move with a quote from the CSI guy, Anthony Zuiker

“I personally don’t have the attention economy to read a 250-page crime novel from start to finish.”

So that’s where he is coming from, on this. Zuiker goes on to say that these suspense-thillers will “reward” readers with rich media and video to enhance the reading experience. Basically, Zuiker will write an outline, then a ghost-writer will crank out 100 chapters and then Zuiker will back in and write 20 “cyber-bridges” (how lame-o is that phrase? Is this 1980? -ed.) for people to watch, before continuing on to the next chapter.

Of course, the example they give is a reading up to a crime, then log-on to watch a sex snuff film, and then go back to the book. I do have to concede this to the Hollywood folks… you’ll probably sell more books if you are including websites to watch sex videos.

To be fair, I am all for this type of convergence. It’s interesting how all these media formats merge and play off each other. I just think that this one pitch misses the mark on just about all of it. They really should have planned to do more and dig deeper.

(from Variety)