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The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing
Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg
McFarland, 275 pages

Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick sold his first book in 1962 and went on to sell more than 200 novels, 300 short stories and 2,000 articles, almost all of them under pseudonyms. He turned to SF with the sale of The Soul Eater, his first under his own name. Since 1989, Mike has won Hugo Awards (for Kirinyaga; The Manamouki; Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge; The 43 Antarean Dynasties; Travels With My Cats) and a Nebula Award (for Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge).

Mike Resnick Website
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Barry N. Malzberg
Barry N. Malzberg began working in SF as an agent for the Scott Meredith Literary Agency in New York in 1965. He began publishing short fiction in 1967 and novels in 1970. Pehaps he is best known for his books Beyond Apollo (1972) which won the first John W. Campbell Award, Herovit's World (1973), Guernica Night (1975) and The Remaking of Sigmund Freud (1985). His essay collection, The Engines of the Night: Science Fiction in the Eighties (1982), won a Locus Award. He lives with his wife in Teaneck, New Jersey.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

The Business of Science Fiction The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America publish a bi-monthly magazine, the SFWA Bulletin, which contains a variety of articles on the business of writing, markets, news about the members, and so on. One feature of the Bulletin, which has run since the 90s, is a series of dialogues between Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg on the business of writing. The Business of Science Fiction collects twenty-six of these discussions for a wider audience.

Over the ten plus years they have been writing, they have covered a wide range of topics, from small presses to self-promotion. In some cases, such as e-publishing, they have reconsidered their initial stance. Each essay is chatty as the two authors go back and forth in an informal and uncoordinated manner, although they have been clearly polished.

One interesting omission is that Resnick and Malzberg have not included the original publication data on the articles they chose to include. While some, such as "24. Change" can be dated by internal evidence, others can't be tied down as well. The editors, therefore, are asking the readers to accept that the information in each of the articles is still applicable (and, given that the reader has already accepted that the information was applicable based on the identity of the authors, also the editors, that may not be too much of a problem). Fortunately, the articles do stand up to the passage of time and Resnick and Malzberg can offer entertaining and cogent data for the budding (or even established) author.

Malzberg and Resnick are not afraid to tackle potentially controversial topics. With the modern battle cry that money flows to the author, Malzberg discusses his time reading submissions in the fee department for Scott Meredith (and notes that other authors have done so as well). Malzberg does point out that context often abrogates the controversy around an issue and he and Resnick try to provide context for all of their stated opinions, which allows the reader to judge the merits of each argument in a way not possible had each of the authors merely stated their position.

The primary audience for The Business of Science Fiction is the author who is breaking into the field and trying to find their way through the mine fields that can threaten their fledgling career, but the writing is inviting and the topics varied that anyone whose interest in science fiction extends beyond simply reading stories and novels will find Resnick and Malzberg's dialogues both informative and engaging.

Resnick and Malzberg continue to write their dialogues for the SFWA Bulletin and may eventually be able to publish a second volume of these columns. Their experience in the field is invaluable, and their friendship, even as the two men are clearly very different in their outlooks, comes through in their writing, allowing them to offer opposing views while still saying things worthwhile about the publishing industry.

Copyright © 2010 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a seven-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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