Judging by the upcoming fall publishing season, there will be plenty of speculative fiction titles to sharpen readers’ minds, but no one particular trend is leading the charge. Sf and fantasy has attracted a far more diverse readership than ever before, and publishing success can be found by exploring that diversity. Military sf and space opera stage a revival, fantasy goes dark, and digital publishing is here to stay.
“The mixing of factual and counterfactual is not singular to sci fi and fantasy,” Timothy Zahn (“Thrawn Trilogy”) began. Zahn and Brandon Sanderson (“Mistborn”), Cory Doctorow (Homeland), David Brin (“Uplift”), Elizabeth Bear (Shattered Pillars), and John Scalzi (“Old Man’s War”) were charged with talking about the probable and improbable in science fiction (and, to a certain extent, in fantasy too). Organized by the Library and Information Technology Association and with help from Tor, the Saturday, June 28 panel was packed.