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YA [May. 6th, 2008|03:19 pm]
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[ninebelow]
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Inspired by John Scalzi:

Do you know who Scott Westerfeld is?

Yes
50(79.4%)
No
13(20.6%)

Have you read any of his books?

No
21(33.3%)
No but I am planning to
8(12.7%)
Yes
34(54.0%)

Is he the most significant SF writer right now?

Yes
4(6.9%)
No
34(58.6%)
No and it is kind of scary anyone could think he is
20(34.5%)

I will also link to Gwenda Bond's introduction to young adult fiction.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: secritcrush
2008-05-06 02:37 pm (UTC)
Depends on what you mean by significant. He is on the NY Times best seller list, after all.
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2008-05-06 03:05 pm (UTC)
I took "most significant" to mean something stronger than "most popular".
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[User Picture]From: secritcrush
2008-05-06 03:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, so do I, hence my vote, but popular is not an unreasonable measure of significance.
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[User Picture]From: despotliz
2008-05-06 03:07 pm (UTC)
I agree he's pretty important, in that he sells a lot of books and has a big fanbase, and it would be good for the SF bookselling industry if we could get all the kids reading YA SF to move up to reading adult SF, but if he's the most significant SF writer right now then JK Rowling is the most significant fantasy author right now, and that's not how I'd define most significant.

However, I think this is a minor argument over a definition and not really the point of Scalzi's post.
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[User Picture]From: secritcrush
2008-05-06 03:11 pm (UTC)
I think it is far more important to note that Little Brother had twelve! pages of nonsense before the story started and that was too many for me. (this is the downloaded version.)

Edited at 2008-05-06 03:14 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2008-05-06 04:17 pm (UTC)
I figure that if Doctorow is going to give it away he can stand on his soap box for a while. The fact the PDF is double column is more of an issue for me (the HMTL isn't but doesn't have page numbers so it is hard to find you place.)
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[User Picture]From: secritcrush
2008-05-06 04:22 pm (UTC)
Just because I haven't paid doesn't mean I'm willing to be bored.
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2008-05-06 03:21 pm (UTC)
If the wider point is that as an SF reader you are missing out if you ignore YA literature than I agree whole heartedly. I was interested enough in a few of the more specific claims to do this poll though.

Also, has anyone read Octavian Nothing? Is it as awesome as everyone says?
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[User Picture]From: bondgwendabond
2008-05-06 03:31 pm (UTC)
It is!
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2008-05-06 04:06 pm (UTC)
It isn't out in paperback yet so is Feed any good?
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From: abigail_n
2008-05-06 04:54 pm (UTC)
One of the cool things about YA fiction is that hardcover prices are usually cheaper than adult hardcovers, and only a bit more expensive than adult paperbacks. Most trade paperbacks cost $10-11, and most YA hardcovers cost $12-13.
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2008-05-06 05:47 pm (UTC)
I just don't like hardbacks. (Those prices are a bit depressing, in the UK trade paperbacks are $16-18 and YA hardbacks are $20 but much cheaper than adult hardbacks at $30+.)
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From: abigail_n
2008-05-06 05:58 pm (UTC)
Those are Amazon prices I'm quoting, which usually means %40 off on hardcovers. I do agree that hardcovers are cumbersome, though YA books are usually slim enough that their size isn't prohibitive.
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[User Picture]From: bondgwendabond
2008-05-06 05:07 pm (UTC)
Feed's definitely good--also Thirsty (probably my favorite of the early books). The second vol. of ON is out this fall, so they'll probably put the first one in paperback fairly soon. For some reason, I thought it already was...
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2008-05-06 05:48 pm (UTC)
In fact, as Niall notes below, the paperback came out October last year. I just fail at the internets.
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[User Picture]From: bondgwendabond
2008-05-06 05:49 pm (UTC)
That Niall--he's such a know-it-all.
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[User Picture]From: coalescent
2008-05-06 05:43 pm (UTC)
Er, I bought a paperback from Blackwell's in January. Not that I've read it yet.
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[User Picture]From: buymeaclue
2008-05-06 06:19 pm (UTC)
Yes to Octavian Nothing.

No to Feed. (This is a minority opinion, but I stand by it.)
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[User Picture]From: secritcrush
2008-05-07 01:02 am (UTC)
I stand with you on Feed!
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[User Picture]From: buymeaclue
2008-05-07 01:03 am (UTC)
::solidarity!::
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From: abigail_n
2008-05-06 03:52 pm (UTC)
It is awesome beyond the telling of it.
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[User Picture]From: ninebelow
2008-05-06 04:18 pm (UTC)
Good!
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[User Picture]From: ajr
2008-05-06 09:57 pm (UTC)
I haven't read Octavian Nothing, but I've put in a request for it now.

You should read Bunker 10 by J. A. Henderson. Now that's good YA SF.
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[User Picture]From: coalescent
2008-05-06 05:45 pm (UTC)
Have you read any of his books?

Although not any of his YA sf books.
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[User Picture]From: ailsaek
2008-05-06 06:59 pm (UTC)
Never even heard of him.
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[User Picture]From: ajr
2008-05-06 09:55 pm (UTC)
I would take 'most significant' to mean someone who is writing heartbreaking works of staggering genius, which will be forever remembered as masterpieces in the field. So by that measure, no, Westerfeld clearly isn't the most significant writer right now (I leave it as an exercise to the reader to decide who qualifies by that criteria).

By the term as Scalzi defines it, well, quite possibly he's significant. He seems to be quite popular in the USA, fair enough. But the question of whether his fans are or will move on from him to other SF may not be answered for years yet. By which time either Scalzi's prediction will be long forgotten, or we'll be hailing him as a visionary genius.

I would add that, in my experience, he doesn't appear to be quite so popular n the UK. Certainly, his books aren't present in any significant amount in my library system. Eight copies of Uglies, two of Pretties, and three of Specials. Which altogether have been issued a total of 68, 15 and 9 times respectively. Not any greatly significant numbers. Though perhaps it doesn't help that Uglies has been catalogued as being written by 'Scot Westerfeld' (and Parasite Positive as being by Scott Westerfield).

Just for kicks, I also checked out how well Scalzi has been doing. The Ghost Brigades is too new to show anything, but I was rather pleased to note that our copy of Old Man's War has been issued twice as many times as the next highest issuer. \o/ Naturally, I claim all the credit for this.
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[User Picture]From: ajr
2008-05-06 10:04 pm (UTC)

There was something else I was going to say

I will also link to Gwenda Bond's introduction to young adult fiction.
All the books are in the same section of the bookstore, with the exception that series books are generally broken out on their own.


While I found most of the linked-to article interesting (and got to add more books to my mental 'pay attention to' list), the quoted part above really surprised me. When I was in New York, I visited a few branches of Borders, and of Barnes and Noble. In each and every case where I went looking for the YA books, they were shelved first with a "YA" section full of girly books, and then next to that a "YA SF/Fantasy" section. This I found quite dismaying, and totally different to UK bookstores where they genuinely don't segregate children's books by genre.


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[User Picture]From: matgb
2008-05-06 10:17 pm (UTC)
I have heard of him because james_nicoll linked to the story and asked the question a few days back, which reminded me of his existence. I don't think there is a "most significant" author in SF at the moment—I doubt there ever really was.
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