Wednesday News: RIP Harlequin Blaze, WTF Hugo Awards, and Curtis Sittenfeld retells Austen
Harlequin Blaze shutting down in 2017 – Although this news is still breaking on social media, we want to report the news that Harlequin (or should we say Harper Collins??) is shutting down the Blaze line completely in June 2017. Around the same time, it appears that Harlequin Historical and Harlequin Romance will both be going digital, ending print distribution in the U.S., at least. This is a sad, sad day for authors and fans of Harlequin and for the genre as a whole. Not only has Harlequin been a pioneer in the genre – both in content and direct distribution to readers – but they innovated many, many plot lines and genre tropes that are often touted as new and innovative when presented by other publishers and in other books. We will update this story as more information comes in.
Here Are the 2016 Hugo Award Finalists – If you haven’t seen the Hugo finalists, check out i09’s list, which includes works by Ann Leckie, N.K. Jemisin, Naomi Novik, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Stephen King, this article in Buzzfeed highlights the nomination of Chuck Tingle’s “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” for best short story. And apparently the Sad/Rabid Puppies are behind (heh) this nomination, along with two My Little Pony episodes. And then there’s the Best Related Work category. *sigh* So, has the award been effectively ruined? – i09 & Buzzfeed
That’s My Soul on the Page: The Millions Interviews Curtis Sittenfeld – Thanks to Sunita for linking to this interview with Curtis Sittenfeld, whose new novel Eligible is a much anticipated (by me, at least) “modern retelling” of Pride & Prejudice. Having read Sittenfeld’s Sisterland, a novel that managed to capture and hold on to all of the awkward, powerful ambivalences and attachments of a sibling relationship, I doubt Eligible will be a light, innocuous read. The novel is a part of the Austen Project, is set in Cincinnati, and features Bingley on a Bachelor-esque reality show. It’s a good interview, and among the exchanges is an interesting discussion about Sittenfeld’s covers. Notice how she changes the terms of the question (a “literary” quality to gender-neutrality):
TM: Does it bother you that your books are packaged in a female-friendly way? Do you feel like it makes them seem less literary?
CS: It bothers me a tiny bit. It doesn’t keep me up at night. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t mind if my book covers were more gender neutral. I’ve had the same publisher since Prep came out, which is Random House, and I think Random House works very hard to come up with covers that will appeal to a broad audience. Sometimes I make suggestions of covers that are a little quirkier or weirder, and those do not end up appearing on the book. But it’s a decision by committee, and the cover is a complicated issue. Somebody who picks up a book and looks at it and says, “I like it” or “I don’t like it” or “It makes it feel lightweight” probably isn’t considering the conversation that went into the choice of cover. I respect the thought that Random House puts into it, and I think that Random House and I are basically aligned in terms of our goals. We want the books to seem enticing. – The Millions