ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2017 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

The Dragon and the dying industry

Russell Newquist announces his Dragon Award recommendations:
The nomination period for the 2017 Dragon Awards closes very soon. I waited until almost the last minute this year, but I do have a handful of recommendations.

  • Best Science Fiction Novel – I’m going to have to go with The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier. Its predecessor proved worthy of last year’s Dragon Award, and the third book in the series only ratchets everything up further. Solid book. Read my review of it here.
  • Best Fantasy Novel – Hands down, A Sea of Skulls by Vox Day. I’ll have a review of this one up soonish, but this series continues to beat the pants off of A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • Best Young Adult NovelRachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter. This book actually turned a 13 year old girl (horrible creatures!) into a lovable character, and deserves the award for that alone. But it’s a fantastic book on top of that. See my review for more details.
  • Best Military SF or Fantasy Novel – I’ve been too busy and haven’t read any this year. 🙁
Read the rest of them there. I am pleased, however, to see that readers continue to think highly of the Arts of Dark and Light series, and in particular, A Sea of Skulls. It's interesting to see how there is still absolutely no notice taken of it at all, or of massively successful authors such as Richard Fox, BV Larson, David VanDyke, Nick Cole, Vaughn Heppner, Christopher Nuttall, in the mainstream SF/F publishing world.

Which, of course, is one reason why the mainstream SF/F publishing world is dying. File 770 chronicles the shrinkage of BookExpo:
Having attended from the mid 1970s to now, I’ve seen the convention grow enormously, with extravagant parties and promotional events — parties on paddle wheelers in New Orleans, at Hugh Hefner’s mansion in LA, at Radio City Music Hall in NYC, and the party in DC for The Name of the Rose, held at the Italian Embassy’s estate — among memorable soirees, and then shrink from more than 40,000 attendees to the current ensmalled convention, with exhibits taking a fraction of the space they used to.

There were wide empty places on the exhibit floor that in years past would have had booths shoe-horned in everywhere; empty spaces behind black curtains where nothing was happening; meeting rooms that in previous years would have been on other floors.

Many of the older exhibitors I talked to commented on this shrinking convention, and wondered what the future would bring. The convention has already become a 2-and-a-half day event from 4-5 days previously. It’s rattling around in the Javits Center now, and I wonder whether it could go back to being held in a few large hotels instead. Or back to DC’s Shoreham Hotel, where it was held for decades, with the publishers displaying their wares on card tables in the hotel’s garage.
But the shrinking trade shows and aging fan conventions aren't the only sign. I have been increasingly hearing about cuts at Tor, Baen, Orbit, and other publishing houses, cuts that include names most SF readers would recognize. Most of this information isn't public yet, but don't be surprised when you start seeing familiar names gravitating to independent publishing houses or suddenly deciding to "dip a toe" into the wild West of self-publishing.

The product is the problem. But it certainly doesn't help that mainstream SF/F is increasingly a pure SJW freakshow, written by, published by, and read by socially hapless freaks whose only appeal is to their fellow social justice warriors. The photo, taken at BookExpo, is a graphic illustration of the decline and fall of science fiction in a snapshot.

Labels: , ,

53 Comments:

Anonymous 5343 Kinds of Deplorable June 07, 2017 6:10 AM  

When Scalzi is the most normal-looking person in a photo, you know you've got a serious problem.

Blogger Lovekraft June 07, 2017 6:16 AM  

Do these people drink estrogen straight from the bottle?

Blogger John S June 07, 2017 6:25 AM  

Lol at the low effort tranny.

Blogger szopen June 07, 2017 6:26 AM  

Hmm as Castalia House is European based, why not compete for European sf and fantasy awards (e.g. Eurocon's)?

WHich brings me another question - I don't know why, probably because Castalia House is based in Finland, but I had an impression VD has moved to Finland too. Was I wrong? Because if I was not wrong, it would even make more sense to think about european awards...

Anonymous basementhomebrewer June 07, 2017 6:31 AM  

That is one low energy convention, sad.

Blogger wired216 June 07, 2017 6:32 AM  

He lives in Italy.

Blogger VD June 07, 2017 6:34 AM  

Hmm as Castalia House is European based, why not compete for European sf and fantasy awards (e.g. Eurocon's)?

Most of our readership is American. Also, we are extremely busy as it stands. Our involvement with the Hugos, and subsequently the Dragons, was by happenstance.

Anonymous Steve June 07, 2017 6:36 AM  

Lol at the low effort tranny.

Which one?

Blogger Dirtnapninja June 07, 2017 6:49 AM  

The iron law of feminisation in action. Feminisation drives out the men and when this happens, the space starts to fragment and decline.

Anonymous Dyskord June 07, 2017 6:58 AM  

These SJW's fiercely defend their gender blind, warrior woman dominated multisexual Feminist friendly fiction.
When its mentioned that maybe there are too many female protagonists in fantasy or sci fi these days, that maybe warrior women are not inspiring, that maybe its gotten boring reading about post apocalpse stories based on climate change. Gasp! in 2050 there's no more clean drinking water and America is a barren wasteland, but luckily the U.N and globalism saved humanity. Its like reading a gospel written by conformist cultists.

Yet, its evident that the SJW's have as little interest in the fiction they champion as we do. They seem to jump onto the nearest trending entertainment, no matter how Misogynist and male centric it is. Then offer suggestions to improve it, leeching the very things everyone enjoyed until you're left with virtue signalling husks like the Star wars franchise and Disney films and once great authors release cookie cutter novels about kick ass chicks.

Geekdom went mainstream. The mainstream is tiring of geekdom. Like action films, Horror/slasher films and kung Fu before it. Geekdom will fade into the shadows once more when the next big thing suddenly appears.
I just hope the damage done by the SJW's and well meaning opportunists isn't long lasting.

Blogger VD June 07, 2017 7:12 AM  

Yet, its evident that the SJW's have as little interest in the fiction they champion as we do.

The vampirism is both the pleasure and the point.

Anonymous Rocklea June 07, 2017 7:18 AM  

SF/F has always been my favourite genre. I started with the Dragonlance chronicles as a teen, moved onto Herbert, Orson Scott Card, interspersed with Ludlum, Van Lustbader and Clavell. Then I read Ian Banks, didn't finish it, can't remember the title, subsequently lost interest in reading in general for quite some time.

Discovering Castalia and the alt-right has changed that. For years prior most of my media consumption has been Youtube and podcast, usually of political or philosophical bent. I haven't read a Sea of Skulls yet, though I did enjoy A Magic Broken, Nick Cole's The End Of The World As We Know It and Crtl Alt Revolt was brilliant. I am going to drop KU as I don't get as much time as I'd like to read, which also means Amazon is getting more value out of me, and buying outright is better for the authors. It's good to know that there is a publishing house focused on quality that isn't bending the knee to the PC police. Thank you Vox, Castalia House and your authors. Good luck in the upcoming awards.

Blogger szopen June 07, 2017 7:19 AM  

BUt I have to say this is indeed embarassing. Compare the numbers for Pyrkon (Polish fandom event):

2013: 12000+
2014: 24000+
2015: 31000+
2016: 40000+
And remember Poland is relatively small country, with small readership base (I was told that 3000 sold copies is a success for a debute, for example, and the average is like 1000 to 1500)

Blogger Kathy June 07, 2017 7:24 AM  

I've been working on my own fantasy novel for 3 years now (on my 4th draft)....The NanoWriMo crowd scares me....oh and they are horrible writers. It's scary to think that's the sort of stuff that's getting published now. It almost makes Twilight look good.

Blogger seeingsights June 07, 2017 7:26 AM  

Science fiction conventions have no future.
I attended WorldCon in 2012. At the time I was 41 years old, and I estimate that at least 66 percent of WorldCon attendees were older than me. And I didn't see any young hot women in costumes.

Anonymous Magus June 07, 2017 7:27 AM  

I don't really follow the SF/F world. I recognise Scalzi, but who are the rest?

Blogger lubertdas June 07, 2017 7:34 AM  

Magus, the guy on the left if Cory (Red Diaper Baby from BoingBoing) Doctorow. The Tranny on the right is Charlie Jane Anders, who used to edit the IO9 website. He/she/it appears to be Tor's "Next Big Thing" since Scalzi has crashed and burned.

Blogger CSAFarmer June 07, 2017 7:47 AM  

Freaks, flakes, phonies and fuglies (with no small pecentage sweeping the categories), they read 'Harrison Bergeron as a 'how-to'manual. Sad!

I turned the alliteration up to 11.

Anonymous Yeoman June 07, 2017 7:50 AM  

When will Sea of Skulls be completed???

Anonymous Morgan June 07, 2017 7:52 AM  

If you go to Tor.com to check out the forthcoming books, it looks like a freak show. That or the results of a United Nations diversity seminar. The covers all have a sameness to them.

Anonymous Forrest Bishop June 07, 2017 7:57 AM  

Rocklea wrote:Then I read Ian Banks, didn't finish it, can't remember the title, subsequently lost interest in reading in general for quite some time.

Discovering Castalia and the alt-right has changed that.


That's quite a testament, and a damning indictment of Banks, whom I've never read. My story is similar, though timeshifted a decade or two. From SFF burn out in the late 1970's to a couple years ago, I'd only read a few of Gibson's books (Count Zero), Diamond Age, and other forgettable. Yes- discovering Castalia House has changed that.

Blogger VD June 07, 2017 8:03 AM  

When will Sea of Skulls be completed???

First, it is complete. It's already longer than most novels. But the 850-page edition will be published in December, in both ebook and print.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 07, 2017 8:10 AM  

I'm sure some will say, "Well, I saw freaks at conventions a generation ago, so this is no big deal." But back then, you would have recognized them as freaks, because they would have stood out among the normals. Now they are the norm. As we've seen in so many arenas, once the "diversity" push is underway, it's not satisfied until all non-diverse are eliminated. A straight white male would probably feel as out of place at one of these things now as if he were walking on the streets of Japan. A straight white female with un-dyed hair probably wouldn't feel a ton more welcome, because they're the next type to be pushed out.

Blogger Sherwood family June 07, 2017 8:37 AM  

The nice thing about being a straight white men is that no matter where we go the straight white women have to follow because as day follows night these women always get kicked out of the clubs they took over from us because they cannot help but let in the carnies and circus freaks.

The best way to keep a functional organization intact is to prevent women from having any say so in the way it runs.

Anonymous Trump June 07, 2017 8:43 AM  

What's the difference between the "completed" version now and the 850 page "completed" version?

Blogger VD June 07, 2017 8:57 AM  

What's the difference between the "completed" version now and the 850 page "completed" version?

1. Perspective characters. Fjotra and Severa are largely, though not entirely, missing.
2. The story will be extended a little further. One of the pending battles will take place and be described from multiple perspectives.

Think of it like a song and an extended mix.

Blogger wreckage June 07, 2017 9:04 AM  

Let's simplify this even further: when you announce that conservatives need to f* off right now and never come back, you've kicked 50-60% of your market.

Now, of the remainder, kick out all the Christians (including JudeoChristians if they're out-and-proud) and snare viciously at all the remaining men.

You're down to about 1/8th of your original audience. Anyone care to place a bet on this being roughly where they end up, assuming that getting down that far doesn't cross the fixed-costs threshold and nix the entire industry due to diseconomies of scale?

These people can't do fractions in their head.

Anonymous Just another commenter June 07, 2017 9:34 AM  

@12, @21 - I think your's is a story very similar to many of us here. With a little editing of specifics it's mine as well.

Blogger Ransom Smith June 07, 2017 9:44 AM  

That picture....

Wow

Soy-ance fiction.

Blogger Jon D. June 07, 2017 10:09 AM  

And yet despite the fact that they whine about the decline incessantly -- which is obivous in coming as you mention a group of aging people who not only shunned a younger crowd from coming into the fold and being the next generation (they did, they act like we have no real credentials or interest in the genre to the point where it's a fuddy duddy scene), but they also told the main reading demographic -- white people -- that they're not wanted for their diversity crusade. Result is no one buys your stuff.

It's ridiculous at the same time they then, whenever I post about the declining industry/convention scene, come and call me a liar demanding "proof and evidence" that it's happening. Won't get their own collective head out their butts to do anything about it or change with the times. This is why nimble, modern publishers like Castalia House or Russell's Silver Empire (which is worth looking into) will win at the end of the day.

A Sea Of Skulls is also my fantasy pick for Dragon Award. I don't read a ton of fantasy because there's a lot of tired overused conventions. Vox made something fresh that is a real page turner. There's no contest.

Anonymous BBGKB June 07, 2017 10:30 AM  

Or back to DC’s Shoreham Hotel, where it was held for decades, with the publishers displaying their wares on card tables in the hotel’s garage

Is a convention even worth having in DC if it's going to be held in a garage?

When Scalzi is the most normal-looking person in a photo,

Even worse it looks like Scalzi has sucked the least cocks

The iron law of feminisation in action

Even the EFMB standards are affected it used to have a 10-12% pass rate even with giving girls 2nd chances every time they asked, but this story of how a woman completed the road march with 14 min to spare says it has a 17% pass rate now, they must be letting girls use their phones GPS for day/night land nav. http://scribol.com/a/lifestyle/when-captain-collapsed-twelve-mile-march-way-soldiers-treated-her-left-millions-stunned/15/

Blogger wreckage June 07, 2017 10:33 AM  

What I have loved so far about SoS and ToB is that they take quite recognizable fantasy tropes and then fundamentally approach the entire story differently. There's no cosmetic BS tacked on to make them "original new different Ae'el-Fenkin"; the story itself does that.

Of interest only to me, I suppose, a guy called Ron Edwards once wrote an RPG I like, but he also theorized that there are two kinds of story (the protagonist can be of either gender): male stories about standing out and contesting values; and female stories about, essentially mate choice (choosing, choosing between, or refusing).

I was thinking about why some stories don't work when you change the protagonist from female to male or vice-versa, and then I was thinking about the two big story-threads so far in ToB/SoS,and how well they worked, and then I thought that the human/Amorr/Marcus story is a male story and the elves/Caitlys/Ebreth is female.

Anonymous Russell Newquist June 07, 2017 10:37 AM  

But the 850-page edition will be published in December, in both ebook and print.

Looking forward to it! And thank you very much for the link, sir!

Blogger Brian Niemeier June 07, 2017 10:59 AM  

A Sea of Skulls has my vote.

NB: compare the six indie/hybrid authors Vox mentioned to the authors in the photograph. One group demonstrably backed the wrong horse. Which one goes without saying.

On a related note, I've dropped SK's price to $0.99.

Blogger Feather Blade June 07, 2017 11:10 AM  

Kathy wrote:I've been working on my own fantasy novel for 3 years now (on my 4th draft)....The NanoWriMo crowd scares me....oh and they are horrible writers.

At least the NaNo crowd gets their books done.

Blogger Kathy June 07, 2017 11:27 AM  

Sure....if they eventually publish. and the ones that do, I very much doubt they are also homeschooling their children at the same time. Books are often full of plot holes, grammar mistakes or simply bad writing. Remember, this is the crowd whose advice is that if you have writer's block to insert a sex scene or kill someone.

Anonymous BluePony June 07, 2017 11:32 AM  

Last three fantasy novels I tried (four years ago now) I didn't get more than 1/4 of the way into. Well reviewed, nothing SJW or anything like that, even some decent world building and setup at the start, but they just... nothing happens. Characters wander from place to place and... nothing happens. Maybe I'm just getting impatient as I get older.

Anonymous Blackwood June 07, 2017 11:40 AM  

" Remember, this is the crowd whose advice is that if you have writer's block to insert a sex scene or kill someone."

Ah, that explains why when I started writing my own fiction late last year it just became straight up porn. I am blessed (more likely cursed) with a strange knack for it. Maybe I can make it gender fluid and tap the SJW market. They read, right?

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener June 07, 2017 11:40 AM  

It’s rattling around in the Javits Center now, and I wonder whether it could go back to being held in a few large hotels instead. Or back to DC’s Shoreham Hotel, where it was held for decades, with the publishers displaying their wares on card tables in the hotel’s garage.

Regardless of where it goes next, it has to go back.

Anonymous Russell Newquist June 07, 2017 11:44 AM  

@37: Last three fantasy novels I tried (four years ago now) I didn't get more than 1/4 of the way into. Well reviewed, nothing SJW or anything like that, even some decent world building and setup at the start, but they just... nothing happens.

It's urban fantasy rather than high fantasy, but my own debut novel arrives August 1... and I can assure you that plenty happens. Based upon the feedback I've gotten from early readers, they definitely agree with me.

Also: definitely not a problem with our esteemed host's Arts of Dark and Light books.

Blogger wreckage June 07, 2017 11:46 AM  

@34, just realized I hadn't read SK and picked it up real cheap.

Honestly I find it hard to keep my head around the story, it's like Dune only stuff happens. A lot. And I'm like "Oh wait, who is the ascended aspect of the fragmented god-mind; of which self-existing entity from which existence itself depends; in which partial reality that does not truly encompass existence but a mere shadow of the fundamentally Real?"

I am enjoying it, but for your next series, could I not have to brush up on my cabalist metaphysics? Maybe just some gunfights and boobs?

OpenID doktorjeep June 07, 2017 1:50 PM  

Science fiction was for me like a pure high octane brain fuel when I was a kid in the 70s. Most of what I read through the 80s was the old stuff. But since the 90s my motivation to read science fiction has been on the level of cleaning out the rain gutters on a sunny Saturday.

And it all came to a crashing halt with a Voyager episode where the ship almost got destroyed by some probe that caused the crew to hallucinate some long-gone races own holocaust, and they opted not to destroy the probe because of a reason that literally said "muh holocaust".

They almost got killed. And this was the mid 1990s, after 4 years of "Clintonism", "feels over reals", all that crap that had the stink of feral farm animals grazing near broken pillars of once-grand buildings.

I've wandered the desert since. Sure there are some oasis. The Halo series for example. I probably read about the back story more than playing the actual game. Heck the backstory and the epic around it is more interesting than playing an FPS. It's as if some old school pulp guys got stuck with some side job "Hey give it a back story so maybe we'll sell comics or something" and they used the ways of olde. It was under the radar... had the first game been released in 2014 the chief would have been an otherkin or something.

Blogger Brian Niemeier June 07, 2017 2:58 PM  

@40:

"Oh wait, who is the ascended aspect of the fragmented god-mind; of which self-existing entity from which existence itself depends; in which partial reality that does not truly encompass existence but a mere shadow of the fundamentally Real?"

I think that's Steve.

"I am enjoying it, but for your next series, could I not have to brush up on my cabalist metaphysics? Maybe just some gunfights and boobs?"

Oh yes, my next series. I think you'll find it more than satisfactory.

Anonymous BBGKB June 07, 2017 3:33 PM  

OT: John McEnroe cucks for lesbians in tennis & gay divorce, he must want a job at ESPN
http://www.towleroad.com/2017/06/mcenroe-margaret-court/

Anonymous Iacobus June 07, 2017 3:43 PM  

My dear Lord...what are those...things in that image?

@43: I am so sick and tired of their self-righteous and indignant virtue-signaling. I wish they could go kill themselves if they don't like a differing opinion.

Blogger Tatooine Sharpshooters' Club June 07, 2017 4:01 PM  

Geekdom went mainstream.

But it didn't really. The slickee boy money monsters found that the image of "geeks" could be sold in volume and at incredible markups to dull conformists who imagined themselves "quirky outsiders". Gamergate and other internet furors show that real "geeks" are still viewed as disgusting, asocial, sexual failures.

Blogger Tatooine Sharpshooters' Club June 07, 2017 4:08 PM  

@31- That Scribol link is hard to follow. Is she being lauded for barely dragging herself over the line in a test designed to determined one's fitness for combat situations. Isn't that a fail?

Of course, the video was uploaded by the EFMB "Program Manager", so it's pretty obvious "wymynz iz equaler!" propaganda from the Army diversity soldiers.

Blogger weka June 07, 2017 4:11 PM  

TL:DR.
Women mess up everything. To really destroy everything, you need Trannies.

Anonymous WaterBoy June 07, 2017 8:06 PM  

Magus @16: "I don't really follow the SF/F world. I recognise Scalzi, but who are the rest?"

In addition to the others who lubertdas identified in @18, the woman with the red hair in the back is Annalee Newitz, also of io9 fame. The four of them appeared on a panel together.

Don't know who the other woman is; I'm guessing con staff or attendee?

Anonymous WaterBoy June 07, 2017 8:08 PM  

Sorry, lubertdas was @17.

Blogger wreckage June 07, 2017 11:13 PM  

@43 thankyou for being a good sport, I do love your work, please produce more of whatever floats your boat, I'll buy it!

Blogger Brian Niemeier June 08, 2017 12:15 AM  

@43: Thank you for reading. My readers are my bosses. When you talk, I listen.

As it happens, I just turned in my latest manuscript to Castalia House. Keep reading VP. All will be revealed in the SDL's good time.

Blogger David VanDyke June 09, 2017 2:58 PM  

"BUt I have to say this is indeed embarassing. Compare the numbers for Pyrkon (Polish fandom event):

2013: 12000+
2014: 24000+
2015: 31000+
2016: 40000+
And remember Poland is relatively small country, with small readership base (I was told that 3000 sold copies is a success for a debute, for example, and the average is like 1000 to 1500)"

That's apples and oranges. BookExpo is not a fandom event; it's supposed to be a publisher event. Certainly lots of fans used to show, especially well-heeled ones and celebrities.

On the other hand, fan events in the US are mostly going strong. Witness the growth of Salt Lake City Comic Con. First event was 2013. Now it's well over 100K attendees.

It's the publishing industry that's been disrupted and the old ways of doing things are dying. The fans are fine, and independent content creators (authors, artists, etc.) are, as a group, also doing fine.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts