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Comment from the book world in July 2024

July 2024

'There is magic in this age group'

15 July 2024

‘Even if you are writing stark realism, I think there is magic in this age group, because they are at an age at which possibility is at its most colossal. They are still on the brink of becoming the person that they will be, and there is magic inherent there.

I wanted to say to children, "I think you have been underestimated. I think you have in you a capacity for boldness, and for adventure, and for valiance - qualities that the world has not always saluted in children." I wanted to write about children who do experience fear but who also experience a love that is greater than their fear. I want to write books that will offer children bold language, but I also want to offer them a sense that if you have a barrage of language at your disposal, you can use it to create better jokes. And you can use it to articulate your love and your passion in a way that will cut through people's attention and leave them alert - and perhaps changed...'

Katherine Rundell, the author of 9 books, including Rooftoppers, The Girl Savage, published in the US as Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, Impossible Creatures and Super-Infinite: The Transformation of John Donne in Publishers Weekly

'Science fiction, as a genre, is finished'

1 July 2024

‘I've been thinking for some time that science fiction, as a genre, is finished. The world it once imagined has arrived, and interest in the future and new technologies is widespread. Instead of appealing only to a niche audience, sci-fi has been absorbed into the mainstream of fiction. And as fantasy enjoys a boom in popularity - the "Romantasy" subgenre in particular - much of what is now published as science fiction has a fantasy element to it: space opera, alternate histories, sagas set on alien worlds.

Cyberpunk was perhaps the most important trend in science fiction in the 1980s and 90s, but since then it's often reduced in memory to a particular aesthetic of future-noir thriller represented by Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. So The Big Book of Cyberpunk, edited by Jared Shurin is a huge, eye-opening, mind-blowing surprise. Two fat volumes with more than 100 stories, by authors from at least two dozen different countries (some published here in English for the first time), ranging from proto-cyberpunk stories from the 1950s and 60s through genre-defining tales by William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, Neal Stephenson and many newer names, right up to 2021 with a post-cyberpunk story written in collaboration with AI.'

Lisa Tuttle, author of 18 novels for adults and children, including My Death, A Nest of Nightmares, The Mysteries, The Bone and The Flute, Dolphin Diaries, a series for children, various short story collections and several works of non-fiction, in the Guardian.