Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Still here, honest.

I know I'm not blogging much, and I apologise. I've got Eastercon coming up (see ww.eastercon2006) and of the books I've picked up lately, there hasn't been a lot too say. From May 1st however, you can expect a sudden gearing up of posts, lots more on fiction and increasingly more on childhood studies (as I now know it's called).

I hope you'll bear with me until then.

Meanwhile; one recommendation, one "what happened to honesty in labelling"?

Rhiannon Lassiter's 2002 Waking Dream (MacMillan). Fantasy not sf but too good not to mention. Three cousins are forced into examining their own inheritance while their parents are forced to confront their own parenting skills. I see hints of Coleridge and Diana Wynne Jones (particularly Hexwood,) But that Lassiter can draw from such different writers is one of the things I like about her work.

Jane Yolen and Patrick Neilsen Hayden's Year's Best Fantasy and Science Fiction for Young Adults (Tor, 2004) contains a story from the last century (Kipling) and one solitary, lonely sf story. Nothing wrong with the fantasy selection, but don't try giving this to a proto sf reader.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Greg Wilson said...

There seems to be more fantasy on the shelves today, and less SF, than there was 25 years ago. Do you think this is a sign that fewer young people think science is cool (I'm the Apollo generation---rockets to Mars were *it* when I was 8), or is it a loss of faith in science among older people (the writers)?

6:00 AM  
Blogger Farah said...

This is my rant on "what do they teach them in schools these days" which I've promised to Asimovs.

But in short it goes...

"We spend lots of time showing kids how to use fancy equipment. We spend very little time showing them either the insides of said equipment or explaining the physics of how it all works."

Every time I think I'm exaggerating this I see my (17 yr old) sister's curriculum.

How can kids be entranced by engineering if they've never seen an engine? Or if the engines they see (ie in Museums) are essentially big toys which don't do anything?

This lies behind the popularity of cyberpunk: magic for the sf inclined.

Like Geoff Ryman, I am looking to the developing world for the next real burst of sf creativity.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

Honestly, Farah--we LOOKED for good YA sf. Thin on the ground. And what we found, beside the one story, didn't come up (in our estimation) to the stories we wanted to publish. And one--the Margo Lanagan "Singing My Sister Down" which could possibly be sf or fantasy, we couldn't get the rights to.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Farah said...

The problem is that very few of the stories you chose were written for YA anyway, so it would have been perfectly reasonable to choose sf written for adults (as you did for the fantasy). There really is no shortage of good short sf quite suitable for the YA market.

3:00 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

We looked in adult stuff as you know. Sargeant Chip--our one true sf--was published in an adult mag. But we didn't find something we could both agree upon. Check the back of the book for reccoed stories that didn't quite make the cut. (And we were over the publishers' word limit by a great deal as it was.)

Jane

2:57 AM  
Blogger sdn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:34 PM  
Blogger sdn said...

firebirds had no sf; firebirds rising is roughly 1/3 sf. in my case it depended upon what authors i was able to ask (more for the second book) and who had stories in their heads.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Farah said...

I did check the back of the book Jane. Again, there was a real paucity of sf. It baffled me. I have a teenage cousin for whom I buy sf, and I usually have a great deal of trouble working out what of the incredible amount of richness I'm going to leave out.

In the end, I would have preferred this to be presented as YA fantasy only. My point was not that the stories were weak (I thought two were, but the rest were strong) but that I felt cheated. Had the book been called "best fantasy" I'd have had a far more pleasurable read.

7:42 AM  

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