I just wanted to post a note on tie-in fiction, because Graham McNeill’s Empire has been shortlisted on the online poll for the David Gemmell Legend Award. It very much has my backing to win, not only because Graham is a good chap, but because it’s about time the world acknowledged tie-in fiction as proper fiction. Secretly, I think if this book wins, they’ll change the rules to not allow public voting, perhaps not even tie-ins.
I know that a Warhammer book on the list will surprise many people. Many won’t know Empire even exists, but folk in the genre need surprising by the fact a tie-in book is indeed popular. To cast a blind eye to such fiction is called snobbery, and given that huge swathes of readers look down on SFF, I find it incredulous such an attitude persists.
Quick note: Technically two tie-in books are on the Gemmell Award shortlist – the Sanderson/Jordan Wheel of Time book is another author writing in someone else’s creation – there is simply no difference. Tie-in/franchise/creator-owned – it’s all the same zone of literature.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mYY1QGK0jQ]
You know, major genre publications have spent years not even acknowledging tie-in as real fiction, refusing even to have conversations about it. Tie-in fiction is hugely important, and keeps people reading SF and Fantasy where they otherwise might not, and the novels themselves are entertaining and well-written – on average – as much as an original SF and Fantasy novel. The worldbuilding can be incredible, the detail way beyond anything most authors can manage because often it’s had years of organic evolution. You want immersion? Visit a tie-in world. I’m chuffed that many bloggers review tie-in fiction. I keep going on about how there used to be review “gatekeepers” to opinion a few years ago, but the blogosphere has changed that, and tie-ins have benefited.
Check out this chat I had last year on Jeff VanderMeer’s blog with million-selling author Dan Abnett for more detail on what I can’t distill here. Read to the bottom.
Go on. Because tie-in fiction doesn’t mean what you think it means.