Jan 28, 2010

The Perils of Eclecticism

Quoth Paolo Bacigalupi in a recent Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast:
I think almost all of the big respectable science fiction and fantasy magazines have the same exact problem which is that they're eclectic. And, eclectic products have a much harder time finding an audience who will follow them.
Part of me wants to work out a reasoned and thoughtful response to this. Part of me wants to kind of despair because I think Paolo is (mostly, more often than not) right, and my output is nothing if not eclectic. But if I had to write the same kind of story over and over for the rest of my career, I'd quit writing. Apparently eclecticism will doom me one way or another.

[from io9]

3 comments:

marlyat2 said...

At least you are doomed in good company.

Alex Irvine said...

What was it Twain said? Visit heaven for the weather and hell for the company?

thechosenone said...

You say that you think Paolo is right. But what is he right about? What is he saying?
He is saying that Science fiction magazines don't earn enough profits.
And you are agreeing with him.
This is the problem. Whether they are eclectic or not is not the problem. Profits are the problem but Paolo is saying that the content is the problem when it is only the supposed cause of the problem.
Perhaps he is saying because he does not want readers to think that all he cares about is money. But it is always about the bottom line and his aloof dishonesty offends us, so does yours.
Maybe it isn't that they are too eclectic that they fail to earn. Maybe these writer's are so concieted that they will never admit that no one wants to read their garbage anymore.
These Science Fiction Fantasy magazines are very inclusive. They are membered and operated by assclowns who beleive that they know better than ther'e readers what makes an enjoyable story and if no one is reading them of course it's not because they suck but because they're readers just don't know good writing when they read it.
Just an observation I've made over the past year: James Patterson has develd into the eclectic and has recently been writting sci-fi fantantasy. I wonder how it will work out for him. I suggest you all follow it and see. Maybe you can learn a thing or two from a writer who is honest about his motives and can earn profits by entertaining his readers.