Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Chad Orzel

Want a Big Idea that’s about a really big idea? Well, this week’s book is about quantum physics, and it doesn’t get much bigger than that (well, given the scale quantum physics works on, it actually doesn’t get much smaller than that, but you know what I mean — it’s a really big idea about […]

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The Big Idea: Laura Anne Gilman

‘Tis the season for trying new things, and the group of writers behind the online publishing collective Book View Cafe are doing just that, releasing their first eBook anthology of original fiction: The Shadow Conspiracy, a collection of related tales taking place in an alternate, steampunk world. What does it take to build up a […]

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The Big Idea: James Swallow

As the proprietor of The Big Idea, every once in a while I get to pull rank and pop up a book that’s of personal interest to me, and here’s one that is: Air, by James Swallow, which is an adaptation and novelization of the first three episodes of Stargate: Universe, which is, of course, […]

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The Big Idea: J.C. Hutchins

Writers are often asked where their ideas come from, but any writer knows that coming up with ideas is only a small portion of the battle. The major portion of the writing battle is showing up — putting your butt in the chair and doing the work of getting the idea out of your head […]

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The Big Idea: Jeff Carlson

Where do you go in a book series when you’ve wiped out five billion people in the first book? Jeff Carlson knows, because Plague Zone is the third book in his acclaimed “Plague Year” series — and yet, as Carlson explains in this week’s Big Idea, all the thought-out plans of the author can (and […]

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The Big Idea: Scott Westerfeld

You can’t accuse Scott Westerfeld of not thinking big. When he put together his latest trilogy, of which his terrific new novel Leviathan is the first installment, he not only reordered history by providing an alternate version of World War I, but also also fiddled with biology, technology and indeed the whole general run of […]

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The Big Idea: Jeff VanderMeer

Jeff VanderMeer returns to his weird, fantastical city of Ambergris in his new novel Finch, but as he explains in this Big Idea, there’s more going on in this stand-alone tale than just the rich vein of fantasy he’s previously explored in this world. Finch has more on its agenda, and the idea that more […]

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The Big Idea: Steven R. Boyett

I’ve made no secret that when I was a teenager, one of my favorite novels was Ariel, by Steven Boyett. Why? Because here was adventure-packed novel with great dialogue, an epic quest and a love story (of sorts) at the end of the world (or at least the end of the world as we knew […]

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The Big Idea: Diana Pharaoh Francis

From a small mud volcano in southeast Asia to the very end of the world? That’s quite a journey. But it’s the journey Diana Pharaoh Francis took in the process of writing Bitter Night, the first book in Francis’ new “Horngate Witches” series of fantasy novels. Along the way, Francis considers a new kind of […]

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The Big Idea: Nicole Peeler

Does a “beach read” novel need an intellectual justification? Probably not, but if it actually has one, that’s always a bonus. And as it happens, literature professor and debut novelist Nicole Peeler has some rigorous and righteous background justification for her novel Tempest Rising, which follows the mystical adventures of half-selkie Jane True. Not only […]

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The Big Idea: John Brown

Here’s a question for you: When you’re confronted by a large, angry animal that could squash you like a grape, is the first thing that comes to your mind, hey, now that gives me an idea for a story? If the answer is “yes, of course it does,” then you may be an author. Or […]

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The Big Idea: Cherie Priest

I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a big ol’ fan of Cherie Priest’s work — I blurbed one of her previous novels, you know — but even factoring in my enjoyment of her work, I have to say that Boneshaker, Priest’s latest, very simply rocks: It’s not only the steampunk adventure you’ve been […]

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The Big Idea: Janice Hardy

Writers: Remember that story you wrote, the one with the great idea that you wrote really really badly? Don’t throw it into the shredder — keep it. Why? As Janice Hardy proves with her new novel The Shifter, good ideas are worth keeping — becuase good ideas can keep until you’re ready for them. JANICE […]

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The Big Idea: Mindy Klasky

Mindy Klasky is well known as a fantasy writer, but her latest book, How Not to Make a Wish, has a trick up its sleeve — a secret so big that I can’t reveal it to you here. No, not me; it’s too big for me. Fortunately, Mindy Klasky is here to reveal Wish’s big […]

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The Big Idea: Harry Connolly

This is one of those “in the family” moments — Harry Connolly is a long-time commenter here at Whatever, who has also been plugging away at the writing thing all the way. It’s paid off today with the publication of his debut fantasy novel Child of Fire, which earned a big fat starred review from […]

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The Big Idea: Paolo Bacigalupi

If you read science fiction short stories, the name “Paolo Bacigalupi” has become a familiar one recently, in no small part because it keeps cropping up during awards season: four Hugo nominations in five years, Locus and Sturgeon award wins, and general praise from all quarters. The work in short fiction is the foundation for […]

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The Big Idea: Diana Peterfreund

A word for you: “Unicorns.” Did you roll your eyes? Oh, come on, yes you did. And yet, some part of your brain knew that one point, unicorns were actually cool. What happened to them? Can anything be done to return them to their former status? Diana Peterfreund has a few ideas on the subject, […]

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The Big Idea: David Anthony Durham

David Anthony Durham is one of my favorite new fantasy writers, and I’m not alone in having this opinion; Durham this year found himself in possession of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, taking the tiara from an exceptionally competitive field. Durham nabbed that award on the strength of his acclaimed debut fantasy novel […]

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The Big Idea: Megan Crewe

Ghosts: Let’s face it, most people who see them (in novels and such), aren’t generally happy about the fact. I’ve always thought: Why? Dude, you’re seeing into a secret world of the dead. That’s kind of cool. But no, they’re usually angsty about it. Seems a bit of a waste to me. And, critically, to […]

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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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