Joel Cunningham is an editor for B&N Reads and the B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, and he stopped by to talk about celebrating geekery, remembering the classics, and what he’s excited to cover this year.
Can you start off by telling us a little bit about the blog?
Anyone reading this is likely already a fan of Tor.com, so it probably shouldn’t be too difficult to translate. The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog aims to be an entertaining, thoughtful, books-first gathering spot for anyone who is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, manga, graphic novels, and genre film and television. We cut a pretty wide swath through geek culture, recognizing that while most of us have a few things we’re really into (personally, I love a good space opera), most of our tastes run the gamut from Game of Thrones to Doctor Who to The Avengers. Another important factor is our aim for a positive energy in most everything we write. That’s not to say we won’t be thoughtful on considered, but in general, we want to tell you why to love something, rather than why not to.
How did you become an SF/F fan, and what’s your background in the genre?
Considering I eat and breathe SF/F these days, I came to it surprisingly late—I wasn’t one of those kids gobbling down Diana Wynne Jones in the corner of the library (though for that I blame my librarians, who let me check out far too many novelizations of bad movies and Choose Your Own Adventure books based on video games). I loved Star Wars, I’d read Narnia, and The Last Unicorn was my favorite movie, but I didn’t really make an effort to become well-read in the genres until college, when I found I had a lot of free time and an always-on internet connection (this was a BIG DEAL in the ‘90s) to help me discover great books. A number of years later, I wound up taking over leadership of a SF/F book club, and running it for five years turned into something of a crash course, from the classics to new releases.
What can we expect to see the B&N SF/F Blog cover in the future?
Hopefully, if you’re interested in it, we will be covering it. New books, of course (there’s an epic fantasy releasing in September—The Traitor Baru Cormorant — that we can’t wait to tell you more about), but also all the great TV adaptations in the works, from Game of Thrones recaps to a behind-the-scenes look at SyFy’s The Expanse. We’ll be attending and covering San Diego ComicCon, Sasquan, and the Star Wars Celebration. We’re pretty excited to be voting in the Hugo Awards for the first time, and we’ll be featuring reviews and predictions for all the Hugo and Nebula nominees. We also don’t want to forget about all the great books that have come before, and will continue to publish themed roundups, introductions to books and authors we love, and Throwback Thursday posts that allow our writers to talk personally about how a book changed their lives.