Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Malinda Lo

Here’s a thought: What if the big idea about a book isn’t something in particular — it’s about the absence of something in particular? Does that count? And what does it do to the story you’re telling? The question is relevant to Malinda Lo, whose debut novel Ash is a retelling of the Cinderella story […]

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The Big Idea: C.L. Anderson

“All we are saying is give peace a chance,” John Lennon once sang, from his bed. The question is: What does it take to give peace a chance — and is it an equitable price for what you get? This is a question that C.L. Anderson has thought more than a little bit about, and […]

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The Big Idea: Lev Grossman

After a bit of a summer vacation, the Big Idea is back! And to kick things off, author Lev Grossman is here with The Magicians, his new fantasy novel, which aside from starred reviews in Booklist and Library Journal, has prompted no less than George R.R. Martin (who knows from fantasy) to declare that it […]

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The Big Idea: Sarah Rees Brennan

Author Sarah Rees Brennan likes the bad boys. I’m not telling you any great secret here. Her novel The Demon’s Lexicon features one of those bad boys: Nick, who among other things is the sort who keeps sharp pointy objects underneath the sink because, hey, you have to keep them somewhere. But while the “bad […]

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The Big Idea: Diana Rowland

Sometimes writing is like a romance: You might need time away to realize how much it’s part of you. Author Diana Rowland can tell you about this. Life and other complications conspired to keep her from the fantasy and science fiction genre for years — and yet, here she is, with her novel Mark of […]

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The Big Idea: Seth Shostak

Science fiction writers such as myself live in a state of wariness about the concept of alien intelligence truly existing. On one hand, how cool would it be to finally know we’re not alone in the universe — every science fiction writer in the world would be vindicated. On the other hand, we’d also be […]

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The Big Idea: Jay Lake

Normally I write a bit about each of the Big Idea authors, but here’s all you need to know about Jay Lake, one of my fave people in science fiction/fantasy and a Hugo co-nominee with me for METAtropolis: He’s awesome. His new book Green? Also awesome. His Big Idea piece? Totally completes the awesome trifecta. […]

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The Big Idea: Tom Levenson

Issac Newton: You know him as the man who invented calculus and described the physical world with a model that persisted until Einstein. But there was another side of Newton: Crime-fighter! No, he didn’t wear a mask and a cape; it’s not that kind of crime fighting. Rather, in 1695 Newton left the academic life […]

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The Big Idea: John Joseph Adams

It’s not just authors who have Big Ideas: Editors sometimes get them, too. For example, John Joseph Adams, who has been recently been making a name for himself in speculative fiction by editing a string of compelling anthologies, including the best selling zombie anthology The Living Dead. His latest anthology, Federations, aims to evoke the […]

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China Miéville on Crime Novels

China Miéville’s new novel The City & The City hits the stores today, and it’s a novel that simultaneously fulfills Miéville fan expectatation and is something that they never would have seen coming. Fans of the author almost certainly expected a complex and satisfying tale of a fantastic city real enough that you get the […]

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The Big Idea: C.C. Finlay

Surprise: Everything you thought you knew about the American Revolution is wrong! Well, actually, not wrong, but if author C.C. Finlay has his way, you’ll come to believe it’s woefully incomplete. Why? Because in Finlay’s Traitor to the Crown trilogy, of which the latest, A Spell for the Revolution, has just come out, it’s not […]

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The Big Idea: Greg van Eekhout

How does one get from Los Angeles to Ragnorak? If you said “take a left at Albuquerque,” you’ve watched too many Bugs Bunny cartoons, and also, you’re not Greg van Eekhout, the Nebula-nominated writer who is making his novel-length debut with Norse Code. Along with knowing how to write the sort of apocalyptic fantasy that […]

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The Big Idea: Sarah Prineas

“What if you could do magic by blowing things up?” This is the question author Sarah Prineas is asking in her The Magic Thief series, of which the second, Lost, has just hit the stores. My answer: Man, if I could do magic by blowing things up, I’d be the happiest wizard ever. But there’s […]

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The Big Idea: Edward Willett

As much as I like the title of this feature here, not all books originally spring from a big idea. Just ask Edward Willett, whose latest book, Terra Insegura, is part of a series that sprang originally from a quick and dirty writing exercise. But from that humble beginning, Willett’s done well: Marseguro, the first […]

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The Big Idea: Michael Z. Williamson

Authors, the next time you whine and moan about your difficulties writing at home (or in a coffee shop or whatever), spare a thought for Michael Z. Williamson, whose latest book Contact With Chaos got done not in the comfort his home office or his local Starbucks, but while he was deployed in a war […]

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The Big Idea: Robert J. Sawyer

What would we do if the World Wide Web became sentient? I, for one, would welcome our new LOLcatting overlord, and would ask it to kill every spammer it could find, in its mercy. But then I’m thinking about the idea rather shallowly. Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer, however, has been thinking […]

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The Big Idea: Kaza Kingsley

One of the nice things about going to a science fiction convention is that sometimes you meet new authors with interesting stories about their path to publication. When I was at Millennicon this year, I met Kaza Kingsley, whose story of her Erec Rex series of young adult books was interesting indeed: Kingsley built her […]

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The Big Idea: Julia Angwin

Hey, folks, this Big Idea piece is a huge thrill for me to present to you because the author, Julia Angwin, is an friend of mine back to our college days, when she was an editor at the Chicago Maroon, the newspaper at which I was the editor-in-chief. We both went into newspapers, but unlike […]

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The Big Idea: Carrie Ryan

You know, it’s not very often that the mere title of a book scares the crap out of me, but I have to tell you, The Forest of Hands and Teeth gives me the willies just looking at it. And as for the book itself, well, it comes with the coveted Kristine Scalzi Seal of […]

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