One of my facebook friends asked me if I ever have time to read for fun. Yes, deities and daemons yes. If I didn’t do that, I’d probably be in a nuthouse talking to the dancing flowers. I do read a lot of slush, and read published stuff for market research, and of course for fun. While all three are the same action, I can’t say all three are the same process

Of the three, the simplest is the fun reading. It’s almost exclusively passive reading for me when I get done everything else and pickup a fun book, its purely for enjoyment. The filter for story lucidity is turned to its lowest setting, the character empathy hits eleven and the only thing I will of the world is for the paper in my hands to suck me in and make me not just forget the passage of time wherever I am, but experience the world I’m visiting.  Fun reading is done with dead tree editions, and not ebooks. 

When I read slush, this is more analysis than anything for pure enjoyment. I’m keeping a running tally of the books merits and faults, and if the work manages to keep both halves of the ledger in a sunny balance, who might be publishing books similar to it. Without exception, my slush is read electronically.  There are several good reasons for this. The simplest is space, i can’t imagine keeping several hundred manuscripts, partials and query letters underfoot. More important than that though is the organization of slush in electrons and not envelopes. I have to spend zero time putting incoming stuff into some reasonable system. But honestly the largest impetus to the choice was that I read more critically, when reading electronically than when reading on paper. 

When I read things that are published for research, I’m somewhere between the two modes above, but not on a straight continuum.  As I was reading Peter V. Brett’s The Warded Man  i was looking for reasons why it was published, and why by that particular publisher. We’ve all read books from Tor, Baen, Ballentine, Pyr, DAW and the rest and each publisher has its own benchmark for what makes a novel one fit for them. Part of my job is to know who will like a given work enough to publish it, sometimes the answer is no one will. 

Back to Boskone folks, enjoy!

  • Michael,
    It was nice meeting you at Boskone. When I approached, you and Joshua Palmatier were standing outside Harvard III, waiting for your panel called "I Don't Get It!" We shared a few brief words about bad stories, mostly sarcastic if I recall correctly. I actually followed you guys into the room, but dashed out at the last second.
    Cheers,
    Dave