British Fiction Focus

British Fiction Focus: A New Hope

Welcome back to the British Genre Fiction Focus, Tor.com’s regular round-up of book news from the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry.

But wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute—that isn’t even remotely right! For starters, that’s not the name of the column any longer, not to mention the fact that it’s been a couple of months since we last put our heads together to talk about the state of genre fiction in Britain. ‘Regular’ isn’t the right word to describe what we’ll be doing going forward, for that matter; nor, indeed, is ‘column,’ so without any further ado, let’s do a take two.

Welcome, one and all, to the British Fiction Focus, the nearly new and surely improved feature about book news in my neck of the woods.

If I were you, I’d be wondering what gives.

A long time ago, in a galaxy ages and ages away, the fine folks whose hard work makes Tor.com possible asked if I’d be keen to curate a column about bookish bits and bobs with a British bent. Obviously I was, but I admit to wondering, for a while, whether anyone else would be interested in such a thing.

In the event, a great many of you were, which was—make no mistake—utterly wonderful. Alas, by the time that appetite became apparent, I’d already made my first mistake.

The format of the feature I came up with was perfectly fine, for a while, but before long, it was clear that comprehensively covering the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry all at once, once a week, was almost impossible. Too much was happening too fast for everything of interest to figure into the Focus, and even then, you couldn’t call most of the topics timely.

Odds and Sods was an attempt to address that, but it ended up feeling like too little, too late, I’m afraid… thus this summer’s sort-of-sabbatical.

Thankfully, taking a little time out allowed me to rethink things. Not exactly radically, but enough, nonetheless, that the BFF—best acronym ever!—will almost certainly be more relevant than its predecessor. More timely, too. Better able, basically, to partake in the great conversation.

To be clear, it isn’t a completely new feature. In terms of content over the course the coming months, expect more of the stories you’d have found in the British Genre Fiction Focus of yore—though I do have a few new ideas to bring to the band, once we’ve settled into something resembling a rhythm.

But the single biggest problem we faced before was with the column’s format, and we’ve fixed that, I think, by making the BFF a larger banner as opposed to an overbearing blog post.

Long story short, from this point on, we’ll be talking about book news from Britain as and when it happens, in individual items rather than regular round-ups. It follows that there might be four or five stories worth featuring, some weeks, each of which will be showcased in a post of its own. Equally, other weeks there might just be one, or even none. Be sure, though, that when news of note happens—news concerning speculative fiction in Britain, that is—the BFF will be focused forthwith.

Frankly, I can’t wait to get started.

Feel the same way? Fantastic.

Rest in peace, the British Genre Fiction Focus… but long live the British Fiction Focus!


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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