Friday, March 10, 2006

Aussies, Brits & Yanks: Norman Spinrad on Pyr & Publishing

The April/May double-issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine has a very long and articulate article on five Pyr titles in Norman Spinrad’s On Books column, available online as well, and titled “Aussies, Brits, & Yanks.” Spinrad reviews John Meaney's Paradox and Context, Martin Sketchley's The Affinity Trap, Michael Blumlein's The Healer, and Sean Williams The Resurrected Man, all in glowing terms. To my limited knowledge, this is the first time that an On Books column has been entirely devoted to the works of one publisher. (I say limited knowledge; I am sure that there must be other examples, perhaps a perfusion of them, it's just the first occasion I have heard of.)

Equally interesting, this is not merely a collection of disparate reviews. Spinrad uses the reviews jointly as a platform for an analysis of the state of the industry and Pyr's place therein. He writes that we are publishing “science fiction written specifically for experienced and intelligent readers of science fiction… literary idealism, but also cunningly commercial cherry-picking.” He further ties Pyr into what he sees as a renaissance of “sophisticated mainstream science fiction.”

As it happened, I read this piece around the same time as Dave Itzkoff's controversial New York Times debut, "It's All Geek to Me," and the two are now juxtaposed in my mind.

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