Big Idea Category

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 […]

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The Big Idea: Tom Fowler

Here at The Big Idea, we’re used to hearing from the authors of books, but in the case of graphic novels, there are two creators: the writer and the artist (and here we tip our hats also to inkers and colorers and letterers…). So in the case of Mysterius, the graphic novel from Jeff Parker […]

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The Big Idea: Skyler White

Angels and demons and neuroscientists, oh my! Skyler White’s got ’em in her novel and Falling, Fly, and she’s not afraid to use them. She’s also not afraid to go deeper and look at what those angels and demons mean — not just in the literal sense of being angels and demons, but what these […]

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The Big Idea: Teri Hall

Everyone asks questions — but are they asking the right questions? Author Teri Hall is asking herself (and us) this particular question, especially in the context of her debut YA novel The Line, in which certain questions (and whether they’re asked at all) take on a critical importance. Here’s Hall, to explain the questions, and […]

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The Big Idea: Blake Charlton

Words are funny things, and I mean that in a “funny weird” sort of way, not the “funny ha ha” sort of way (although words can be that way, too. I mean, obviously. Hmm. I’m drifting). But what if words were more than words. What if words were more than their metaphorical content? What if […]

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The Big Idea: N.K. Jemisin

Author N.K. Jemisin has a lot to be excited about today: Yesterday saw the release of her debut novel The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and the book is getting the sorts of reviews, starred and otherwise, that most debut authors can only dream about (“Multifaceted characters struggle with their individual burdens and desires, creating a complex, […]

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The Big Idea: David Louis Edelman

Hey: Do you like your life? If your answer is “sure, but it could always be better,” then David Louis Edelman would like a word with you. Edelman is thinking about humans and their capacity for dissatisfaction, and how that concept relates to his acclaimed “Jump 225,” trilogy, of which Geosynchron is the concluding volume. […]

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The Big Idea: Robert McCammon

Surprise! While usually I post one or two Big Ideas a week, this week there are three. Because sometimes I overcommit. Hey, it happens. It’s not like it’s a bad thing. Especially in this case, because this week’s first Big Idea comes from New York Times bestseller and Stoker and World Fantasy Award-winner Robert McCammon, […]

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The Big Idea: Alexey Pehov

Here we have a first for The Big Idea: Our first translated essay. Alexey Pehov writes in Russian, and in Russian, he’s done very well, winning awards and racking up sales over the last decade with his Chronicles of Siala series and other novels. Now his debut novel Shadow Prowler, the first of the Chronicles […]

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The Big Idea: Stephen Deas

The world is a complicated place — even when the world is a fantasy world with dragons. Or, at least, it can be a complicated place even when there are dragons. Why? Because dragons can be complicated… and more to the point, people are always complicated, no matter where and when they are. At least […]

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The Big Idea: James Knapp

When is a zombie not quite exactly a zombie? For James Knapp, and his new novel State of Decay, it’s when you you take the idea of the undead and give it a whole new socio-political spin — a spin that incorporates free will, social castes, an unending war, and other such fun things. I […]

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The Big Idea: Katharine Beutner

People in myths live forever — or do they? For every Apollo or Persephone, there are the women and men whose lives these famous deities intersect in the telling of the tale — but who otherwise fall from the page, and from thought. Can they be resurrected? Katharine Beutner thinks it’s possible, and sets to […]

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The Big Idea: Sara Miles

Where is the story of the world being told? It might be in the place you least expect: far away from news cameras and press releases. Sara Miles finds her work in those margins — she is the founder of the St. Gregory’s Food Pantry in San Francisco — but more than that finds the […]

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The Big Idea: Margaret Ronald

When thinking about “urban fantasy,” we’re aware that the word “urban” sets the fantasy in a particular type of setting — but does that setting (and those stories) require a specific place? For the purposes of the genre, and our conversation, is one “urban” as good as another? Not for author Margaret Ronald, and in […]

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The Big Idea: Josh Sundquist

What you want to hear vs. what you need to hear: This is an eternal struggle with writers when they approach someone to read the drafts of their work. What you want to hear (“It’s brilliant! Change nothing!”) is sometimes very different than what you need to hear (“Here are the problems”) — so much […]

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The Big Idea: Alan DeNiro

Are you prepared for a Scythian invasion? If your answer is some variation of “Bwuh?” then congratulations, you are like most people, who wouldn’t know a Scythian from Parthian, or indeed if either were people, or, say, a type of insect or breed of sheep. And this would also make you suited to live in […]

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The Big Idea: Patrick Lee

Imagine you’re a caveman (this will be easier for some of you than others). Now, you’re handed an iPod. How do you think you would think about it? Would you even be able to think about it? Yes, I know, a deep thought for a Tuesday. But it’s actually relevant to this week’s Big Idea, […]

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The Big Idea: Sarah A. Hoyt

2010 is here, so let’s drive right in to this year’s series of Big Ideas. And to begin the new year, we have science fiction and fantasy author Sarah A. Hoyt and her new novel Darkship Thieves — for which one of the initiating reasons for the book was the author being annoyed. Annoyed at […]

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