Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Nnedi Okorafor

What do spiders have to do with stories? For most of us, not much of anything, unless the spider gets into the book you’re reading, in which case it might get very physically involved in the story when you squish it with the book. But for Nnedi Okorafor, whose latest novel Who Fears Death is […]

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The Big Idea: Leanna Renee Hieber

Author Leanna Renee Hieber likes all things Gothic, and I’m not just saying that because when I met her at Phoenix Comicon a few weeks ago, she was dressed head to foot in a sumptuously Gothic blue and black Victorian-era getup (although she was, and that was my first big hint). The Gothic sensibility is […]

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The Big Idea: Michael Koryta

Reporters are often told to ask the “W”s — Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? (which does not start with a “w” but which has a “w” in it, so there) — because in a news story, all of these things are usually relevant. Author Michael Koryta is a former reporter, so it would […]

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The Big Idea: Stacia Kane

Sometimes a ghost is just a ghost — that is, a dead soul wandering about the world without having moved on, and occasionally breaking things or scaring people. But sometimes a ghost is something else entirely: evidence that the world has changed, and with it, the ground rules of how the world actually works. Stacia […]

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The Big Idea: Ryk E. Spoor

As a genre, science fiction is often lauded for its “sense of wonder” — or as many of its practitioners prefer to spell it, “sensawunda” — but like any aspect of writing, this element doesn’t just show up on the pages of a book; the author has to work to put it there. Ryk E. […]

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The Big Idea: David J. Williams

Everything you know about war is going to change… someday. We know that because it always has before; we’re not fighting wars today like we fought them 70 or 90 years ago, and those were fought differently than the wars before then. What will the next war be? With The Machinery of Light and the […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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