Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Robin Becker

Zombies: Very popular in literature these days. But there’s a (zombie) elephant in the room here: In all of zombie literature, there is one person whose needs, wants and desires are woefully underarticulated — yea, hardly a shuffling moan is heard in his or her defense. Who is that silent person? Author Robin Becker knows, […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Vicki Pettersson

Vicki Pettersson is in the enviable position of having a successful urban fantasy series with her “Signs of the Zodiac” books, of which the latest, Cheat the Grave, is the fifth. But when any series goes out to the fifth book (or beyond), the question becomes: What now? What next? What’s new? Pettersson’s answer to […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Paolo Bacigalupi

So, Paolo Bacigalupi is having kind of a good month. Just this last weekend, his novel The Windup Girl was awarded the Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Nebula Award being one of the two highest awards in the science fiction and fantasy field (the other one is the Hugo, and The Windup Girl is […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Greg Van Eekhout

There are not a lot of books I am inclined to like just on title alone, but I have to tell you, Kid vs. Squid is one of them. Because, come on! Kids! Squids! You can’t lose. Fortunately, however, there’s more going on here than a truly excellent title, and author Greg Van Eekhout has […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Alaya Johnson

Vampires occupy a special place in modern literature, and are often used allegorically by authors to cast a light on current social issues and inequities. But does this allegory run the risk of minimizing the same social issues its uses as a jumping off point? In today’s Big Idea, author Alaya Johnson ponders this question, […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Holly Black

Here at the Scalzi Compound, we’re big fans of Holly Black, not just as a human being (we’re pals, she’s awesome) but because she’s consistently taking the idea of fantasy in YA and twisting it in new and fun ways. The latest twist: White Cat, which imagines a world like our own in which magic […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Guy Gavriel Kay

Art is a powerful inspiration for more art, and for the artists who create it, as acclaimed author Guy Gavriel Kay found when thinking about Under Heaven, his latest book of historical fantasy. For this one, Kay reached far back in time, to a place and art form many of us here in the West […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Maurice Broaddus

Brothers and sisters, do you have faith? Writer and editor Maurice Broaddus would suggest to you that you do, whether you think you do or not. And it’s that sometimes evanescent nature of the thing that infuses Dark Faith, a collection of stories on faith from science fiction, fantasy and horror authors — not necessarily […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Ellen Datlow

William Gibson famously said “the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” This fact is evident in the world of electronic publishing: with the arrival of the iPad, Kindle and Nook, many folks believe that we’re at the start of a whole new era of reading… to which Hugo-winning editor Ellen Datlow might be […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Jeri Smith-Ready

What does astronomy — a field full of logic, physics and (in reference to human time spans) permanence — have to do with the metaphysical and supernatural nature of ghosts? In Shade, the new YA novel by Jeri Smith-Ready, quite a lot, including the need, from a writing point of view, to frame the supernatural […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Mira Grant

Oh Noes! It’s the Zombie Apocalypse™! It’s the end of the world! Yes, yes, Mira Grant said, zombies, end of the world, blah blah blah. Been there. Done that. Got the bloody t-shirt. But what comes after the end of the world, when the world actually is still there? One answer: Feed, which takes a […]

Read More

The Big Idea: J.A. Pitts

Sometimes when you write a character, the character don’t just meekly walk off the page when you’re done with the story; they stick around, poking at you and saying “hey, I’m still here. What now?” J.A. Pitts concocted just such a character in his debut novel Black Blade Blues — now here he is to […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Leah Cypess

Most books have a “Big Idea” to them — but that doesn’t mean that idea makes itself obvious to the writer from the start. Sometimes the writer has to go exploring for it, trying different things with their writing until that idea reveals itself to her. Doubt it? I present to you Leah Cypess, whose […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Pamela Ribon

I’ve been a huge sloppy fan of Pamela Ribon since she and I were part of the first wave of “online journals” back in the day, me with Whatever, and she with pamie.com. Why am I such a fan? Because Pamie’s professional-grade funny, that’s why, and funny’s a lot harder than it looks. Pam’s been […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Vance Briceland

Writing careers are funny things — they very often go off in directions you don’t expect. Vance Briceland is a perfect example; on the way to a career of YA fantasy writing, Briceland was unexpectedly sidetracked — in a not-bad-at-all-actually way — and found his writing career moving away from his original goal. How did […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Ian Tregillis

Author Ian Tregillis had an interesting challenge while working on his debut alt-history/fantasy novel Bitter Seeds: dealing with a character in the book who knew where the story was going better than he did. How does a character — a creature of the author’s own mind — end up having that sort of power? I […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Heather Tomlinson

And now, a Big Idea that will warm the hearts of big sisters everywhere — as well as examine the assumptions built into generations worth of fairy tales. For her latest YA novel, Toads and Diamonds, author Heather Tomlinson went back to to fairy tale from her youth and started asking questions about it. The […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Susan Beth Pfeffer

Say you’re an author and you want your publishers to do something they have no intention of doing. How do you get them to do it — and think it was their bright idea to begin with? Susan Beth Pfeffer explains how, using her latest novel, This World We Live in. Take notes, folks. But […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Dan Wells

Sociopaths are not easy people to love, almost by definition. Naturally, that makes them an interesting literary challenge for authors, a challenge author Dan Wells happily takes on in I Am Not a Serial Killer, which introduces us to a character who says he’s not a serial killer… but knows that he easily could be. […]

Read More

The Big Idea: Kelly O’Connor McNees

Louisa May Alcott is the noted author of a beloved work in the American canon… and what else do we know about her? As it turns out, not as much as we might, despite the public and active life the author led in her time. So when Kelly O’Connor McNees chose to make Alcott the […]

Read More

%d bloggers like this: