Big Idea Category

The Big Idea: Erin Hoffman

Do you feel our universe has its quota of rabble-rousers? If you do, you and Erin Hoffman will have to agree to disagree, because Hoffman is of the opinion that we’re not quite up to speed on that score — and she has some experience in the rabble-rousing field of things, in her former guise […]

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The Big Idea: Greg van Eekhout

Timing isn’t everything — but timing doesn’t hurt, either, as author Greg van Eekhout learned with the release of his latest book, The Boy at the End of the World. In this Big Idea, van Eekhout talks about how Boy benefited from being in the right place at the right time… and also how a […]

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The Big Idea: James S.A. Corey

As you read today’s Big Idea, don’t be concerned when James S.A. Corey starts discussing himself in first person plural. He’s neither royalty nor confused; “he” is actually two people: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who have joined forces to create Leviathan Wakes, an old-school space opera that’s got the reviewers happy (“strong characterization and […]

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The Big Idea: Allen Steele

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Allen Steele is one of my favorite science fiction writers and has been for some time (he was the first author I ever sent fan mail to! True fact!), and his excellent new novel Hex shows one of the reasons why: The dude thinks big. Like, really […]

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The Big Idea: Daniel H. Wilson

The robots are coming! The robots are coming! But when they get here with their shiny artificial intelligence-y brains, will they really want to wipe us out, as we apparently expect from most of our movies? What will we do if they do? What will we do if they don’t? Writer Daniel H. Wilson thinks […]

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The Big Idea: Jonathan Walker

Sophisticates will snark about someone who still reads a book with pictures, but those “sophisticates” have not met Jonathan Walker. As Walker explains in this introduction to his novel Five Wounds (co-produced with illustrator Dan Hallett), the presence of images in the novel does more than illustrate — it illuminates, offering the person experiencing the […]

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The Big Idea: Mira Grant

Mira Grant (also known as Seanan Mcguire) is having one of those very good years. First, as Mcguire, she won last year’s Campbell Award for the best new writer in science fiction and fantasy. Then Feed, the first installment of her “Newsflesh” series (see last year’s Big Idea on it), was nominated for this year’s […]

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The Big Idea: Leah Cypess

In talking about her new novel Nightspell for the Big Idea, author Leah Cypess gets a little meta… about the concept of a big idea, and how it relates to writing books, and, of course, specifically this one. And while this sort of recursive examination of big ideas is interesting, considering the context, what it […]

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The Big Idea: Ellen Kushner

For longtime fans of the urban fantasy genre, the Bordertown series of anthologies hardly needs an introduction — it was literally one of the foundations of the genre when it emerged on the publishing scene in 1986. Now Welcome to Bordertown, introduces a new generation of readers to that gritty, magical place — and in […]

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The Big Idea: Nick Mamatas

Nick Mamatas is a hustler; just ask him. As a writer, he’s always moving, always looking for the next gig or assignment, always finding a way to use what he’s got and push it to his own advantage. So it’s not terribly surprising that when he got a Big Idea slot to promote a new […]

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The Big Idea: Maria Dahvana Headley

Author Maria Dahvana Headley, in her new novel Queen of Kings, essays one of the most famous women of all time: Cleopatra. But how does one approach writing about someone who has already been immortalized in words so many times? As you’ll discover, for Headley, it’s not about choosing just one way to come at […]

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The Big Idea: Catherynne M. Valente

Hey, I have an idea: Let’s talk about another fantastic book that came out this week! Specifically, let’s talk about The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente. I could tell you how I feel on a personal level that this is one of the most genuinely […]

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The Big Idea: Christopher Farnsworth

So, The President’s Vampire is about — as the title suggests — a vampire who is in the employ of the U.S. President, and who from time to time does certain tasks that only an undead creature could undertake. It’s a fantastical concept, but as author Christopher Farnsworth very recently found out, even fantastical concepts […]

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The Big Idea: Kevin Hearne

Author Kevin Hearne had a novel way of getting to his novel Hounded — a way that involved equal parts of geekery, stubbornness and alcohol. Given who the constituency is here, I know I now have your attention. Or more accurately, Hearne has your attention, and I’ll give him the floor now to explain how […]

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The Big Idea: Jennifer Estep

Here’s a crazy idea: Books should be fun. That’s Jennifer Estep’s philosophy, and today she’s here to tell you how it informs her “Elemental Assassin” series of novels, including the latest, Tangled Threads. And she has questions of her own for you at the end. Be ready! JENNIFER ESTEP: So here’s my Big Idea – […]

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The Big Idea: Janni Lee Simner

Janni Lee Simner’s latest novel Faerie Winter features a world in change — moving from state of being to another in a way that’s both dramatic and unprecedented. But how to tell of that dramatic change, especially when the writer’s own personal experience with the sort of change being described is vastly different? For Simner, […]

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The Big Idea: Peter Orullian

Choices, motivations, and the unintended consequences thereof — heady stuff for any novel, much less a series. In The Unremembered, the debut fantasy novel from Peter Orullian, which is in itself the first novel in a six book series, each of these things is considered, and weighed, and tested before being put into practice. Orullian […]

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The Big Idea: Douglas Hulick

Some say that dictionaries are descriptive, some say they are prescriptive — but how many say that they are inspirational? Douglas Hulick is one of the (I assume) relatively few in that last category, and he’s here to explain how a chance encounter with one eventually led to his debut fantasy novel Among Thieves. The […]

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The Big Idea: Derryl Murphy

They say travel broadens the mind, but for Derryl Murphy, it did more than that: It helped to write his newest novel, Napier’s Bones, and did so not just on a practical level (that is, of allowing him to research information) but also on an inspirational level as well. It’s an argument that being there […]

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The Big Idea: Jesse Bullington

In some ways, writing a novel is as much about giving your characters space to introduce themselves — especially to you, their author — as it is giving them a plot so they will have something to do. In The Enterprise of Death, author Jesse Bullington had a particular character which he had been trying […]

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