I was fifteen years old when I invented the genre of fan fiction, a form of writing where the author takes characters or universes created by someone else and writes stories about them. That was the year I wrote my first short story involving me, Kirk, and Spock, which is also the year that I invented the genre’s worst cliché: the Mary Sue story, where the character exists as a thinly veiled avatar of the writer.
Fifteen was also the year I attended my first convention, where I learned that fan fiction had thrived for years before me.
When Ann Tonsor Zeddies read excerpts from her latest book, Blood and Roses, for a private group, she did not have to bolster her confidence by imagining her audience without their clothes. She had only to look up. The audience, members of the Clothing Optional Dinner Club, were all naked — as was she.
The word “blog” entered our lexicon with a vengeance: a techie buzz-word that appeared in 1999, the word “blog” was voted the most popular word in the year in 2004 . This gave rise to the phrase, “Haven’t you read my blog,” seconded by, “You’d know what I was doing, if only you had read my blog.”
Yael Sela-Shapiro did not wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll translate English science fiction into Hebrew” — but after passing a test given by a small translation agency, it happened just the same. Armed with a slew of dictionaries and reference material, she began her work. One day, while translating Pullman’s His Dark Materials, she came across the words “General Oblation Board,” also known as “gobblers.”
And here’s the problem: Hebrew does not have a word for “oblation.”
Small press opens up markets that would otherwise be closed to both new and established authors. Here’s a look at some small presses.
What I don’t know about art can fill a book entitled, “I don’t know if it’s art, but I know what I like.” But on a recent trip to England, even I, the artistically challenged, noticed that British and American cover art was decidedly different: American book covers were more colorful, almost garish, while British book covers were more austere and muted. Why the difference?
Just how far are authors willing to go in order to research their fiction? Many only walk as far as the kitchen, for a caffeinated drink to jolt the imagination. Others make their way to their favorite search engine. But some authors pack their bags and book a flight to Antarctica.
The Oxford English Dictionary has just become bigger—and weirder. Now the OED wants you to volunteer your time and your book collection to add science fiction-based words to the dictionary. And when the 20-volume OED speaks, it uses all the words in the English language to make itself heard.