February 26th, 2010

Fishy Circumstances

Interview, Ikea, edibles

Wednesday's interview went well, I think. It's easy to help show off how interesting someone is when he's a good speaker, well-practiced on the topic, and congenial.

One of my favorite short notes in The Shock of the Old, whose author I was interviewing, is the example of Ikea, whose owner is one of the world's richest men. Ikea is a good example of the importance of manufacturing and the lack of attention it receives in rich countries, with greater attention paid to brands and retailing. This modern, cutting edge company made its fortune through wooden furniture, not just the branding and retailing, but the manufacturing as well. The Billy bookcase has sold something like 40 million cases since it was launched at the end of the 1970s. No wonder, therefore, that Ikea is regularly in the news. Here are some recent highlights:

Ikea news
Ikea does tapas
Couple sued for installing Ikea kitchen.
Ikea makes a Billy bookcase version covered with quotes by Shakespeare and others.

I encountered the Ikea food-related articles over the past weeks via The Food Section, one of my favorite sources of food-themed news, which also tells me the Tim Burton's White Queen, in the new Alice in Wonderland movie, is based on Nigella.
Fishy Circumstances

Pearl Awards

The Pearl Award nominations are out and, as usual, I've only made good inroads on the Science Fiction category. What struck me about them, however, is how the category (and many of the other Pearl categories) are dominated by books deep down in the middle of series. Hope's Folly is volume 3 of a series. The Warlord's Daughter is theoretically the beginning of a new series, but follows on from an earlier trilogy. Diamond Star is part of a long-term, ongoing series. Beyond the Rain is the only exception here - it's the first book by a new author.

All of this means that this list is no great way to dabble in SFR, at least for those of us with a strong preference for beginning at the beginning of a series of related books. Going back to start at the beginning of a series just to be able to read whatever's currently nominated requires a great deal of commitment. At least it's not a bad list for recognizing some of the best authors out there working in the subgenre.

Yet, there are good reasons for this situation: a limited number of relevant authors publishing decent works, combined with advantages for both author and publisher of multi-book contracts and series set in worlds which have already sold well. In addition, given the nature of the award, they are more likely to do well if they are books known to paranormal romance fans more generally, rather than SFR fans more specifically. SFR, as a conscious subgenre, is still very young.