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.
A Real Quandary
This is a real quandary. I have always shied away from mass-market bestselling science fiction. I've always preferred writers like (if anyone could be like) Lafferty, Hughart, Swanwick, Waldrop, etc. Yet, I am reading The Martian right now and loving it. Why? It is a bestseller, is being made into an immensely popular movie. Worse yet, it has a storyline that might even make the puppies happy (or at least less sad for a brief moment). It is a story about a clever guy doing clever things in space to get himself out of improbable deadly situations. It should read like a piece of "Golden Age" pulp, yet I can't put it down, and I'm really enjoying reading it. Is it actually a good book, or am I failing at being a literary snob?
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.