Bruce Sterling's Advice for New Science Fiction Authors: "Trying to ace your way through collapsing industries is a drag"

Illustration for article titled Bruce Sterlings Advice for New Science Fiction Authors: Trying to ace your way through collapsing industries is a drag

There's a must-read interview with legendary Cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling over at FortyKey, where Cory Doctorow, Paul Di Filippo and a bunch of other people ask him questions about writing and the future. In particular, Di Filippo asks him what his strategy would be for breaking in as a new science fiction writer in 2013, and Sterling responds:

That's quite a tough question. It's pretty hard to have a "career" doing any single creative thing nowadays. If you really make a stir as a "science fiction writer" nowadays, you're likely to get swept up in all kinds of network-society fringe activities, such as blogging, going to conventions, comics, gaming, TV, movies, collectibles.... The days when you could be a "science fiction writer" and work exclusively on books and magazines seem to have vanished already.

I'm pretty sure that the best way to get a toehold in writing is to start writing work that you yourself want to read. Then, see who really cares about it, and try to understand why. Wasting energy trying to ace your way through collapsing industries is a drag. You should never be surprised if your most effective, most influential writing is writing no publisher will pay for.

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The whole thing is definitely worth checking out, for Sterling's explanation of why humanity's naivete may be our saving grace, and his prediction that nobody will be reading the year's best tweets in 2062. Among many, many other thought-provoking responses. [40K Books]

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

In regard to Nash's49 questions about life expectancy, that's really about the only area of technology I pay attention to nowadays. At 49, living up to and past 120 is about the only way I'm going to see all the other stuff I was promised.

But given the rate of medical advances, I'm not really all that hopeful I'll live past 70 or 80.