Category Archives: Books

Putting the Science in Fiction

My friend and fellow writer Dan Koboldt has just announced the sale of his nonfiction book, “Putting the Science in Fiction,” to Writer’s Digest Books.

An astute reader may notice that I don’t normally push other peoples’ books on this blog. But this one is a special case – because I’m going to have an essay on it! It’ll be based on Seven Things Authors Should Know About Cybernetics, my contribution to his Science in SF, Fact in Fantasy blog. But like all else in the book, the article will be expanded and deepened, so there’ll be plenty of new material – and ways to draw it together and apply it to your writing – when the book comes out in Fall 2018!

Annotated H.P. Lovecraft

My awesome wife got me this for a birthday gift: And a moonwalking bear!The annotated H.P. Lovecraft, with glorious footnotes and marginalia: academic discussions of Lovecraft’s references, art reproduced from the original pulp-fiction publications, photographs of the Providence locations he used, etc.

However, H.P. Lovecraft is a problematic figure. He was hideously racist, and that racism is not just incidental to his work. A lot of his fiction was motivated by fear of the foreign and other, those immigrants in their unnatural, debased, or miscegenated ways.

While I totally support removing Lovecraft from his place as a symbol of honor, I have zero guilt about enjoying this tome. First, the man is long dead; no money goes to terrible people. Second, I don’t usually boycott things just because their creator was an awful person — I don’t know the political opinions of most authors I enjoy. (But that’s an inadequate excuse here because HPL’s racism is intrinsic to his work.) Most importantly, Lovecraft made major contributions to the literature, inventing moods and themes and styles that still resonate today. Problematic literature should be examined for what it is. It still offers a lot to learn, whether of otherworldly terror or subtexts to be avoided. We read with a critical eye, and from there we can take things ever upward.

And besides, this tome is awesome!