Monday, April 20, 2015

You will not enjoy reading my stories if ...

I have always disliked the blurbs on book covers. I'm not sure who writes them, but it appears to be people at publishing houses who think they are experts in marketing, rather than the authors themselves. These blurbs often take good books and make them sound ridiculous, trivializing the subject matter and giving it the tone of an overly enthusiastic used car advertisement. So I began to avoid reading blurbs, lest they prejudice me against a potential read, and instead choosing my fiction reading material from lists of Nebula or Hugo Award winners (which I admit may not be the best strategy). Then when I tried to write blurbs for my own work, I realized it is difficult to give the potential reader enough information, but not too much, and convey the right tone. Often, if not always, it is impossible to convey the overall tone of a story with a blurb. The purpose of the blurb is not try to get everyone to read the book; it is to let a potential reader know if he might be interested or not. But perhaps I can more easily express under what circumstances you would not like my stories; my purpose here is not to exclude people, but to cater to an audience who share my weariness with the current state of the entertainment industry. So I made a list of what I call:

"You will not enjoy reading my stories if ... "

1. You want to read about vampires, werewolves, zombies, or other forms of juvenalia based on old superstitions.

2. You enjoy gore for the sake of gore, like The Walking Dead.

3. You are entertained by people being cruel to one another, as in Game of Thrones, because you think it gives you some insight into human nature.

4. You are titillated by stories of serial killers and other forms of crime or horror.

5. You believe there is no hope for humanity (e.g., an apocalypse is coming, or civilization is in an irreversible decline).

6. You believe science has already discovered everything there is to know.

7. You believe possibilities are not constrained by facts, but by what your parents told you.

8. You just want someone to reinforce your current world-view; you do not want to consider alternative ways of thinking.

9. You believe that in science-fiction, the humans should be good because you are human, and aliens must be bad because they are alien.

10. You believe the aliens in Hollywood movies are realistic.

11. You have difficulty distinguishing amongst these categories: reality, fantasy, and possibility.

On the other hand, you will probably enjoy reading my stories if ...

1. None of the above points apply to you, or if some do, you would consider changing them.

2. You want to be entertained with an adventure story.

That's it for the time being. Now that you have a taste for what things I like or don't like in fiction, you might have a better idea of what to expect in mine.

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