Science fiction and fantasy writers are a group are extraordinarily generous with advice to new writers. A moment's thought, however, reveals that this is just encouraging talented young people to occupy the publishing niches and win the awards that would otherwise go to to us Old Hands. Ask Unca Mike is an attempt to rectify this deplorable situation.
There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom
Dear Unca Mike,
Why are there so many awful stories being published, and how do I get mine to be one of them?
Culture, Popular and Not
Why are writers so bad at popular culture? In every story that includes it, it always feels ham-fisted and forced. Is there a good way to include movies or music or video games without sounding like a sixty year old white dude?
Too Young and With-It To Read Your Stuff
If you think I’m old, you should see how old the average editor is! John W. Campbell was editing well into his seventeenth decade. Naturally, this makes editors culturally conservative. When I was starting out, it was almost impossible to sell a story about rock and roll – and that was in the 1980s, when people were first beginning to realize that rock was no longer a viable art form. What editors wanted then was stories about jazz. Today, it’s almost impossible to sell a story about rap or hip-hop culture. A newer, younger generation of editors wants stories about rock and roll.
So if you want to include current popular culture in your work, the best thing to do is to write it now and set it aside until you’re sixty years old.
If you have a question for Unca Mike you can post it below. Or write to AskUncaMike ("at" sign) gmail.com. I'll respond to those I have the best answers for.
Ask Unca Mike appears here on Fridays.