Tag Archives: graphic books

Teen Trends In Speculative Fiction

Three years ago, I interviewed some editors for an article on horror and paranormal fiction, and asked what they saw as upcoming trends. Let’s see if they were right….

“There’s definitely been a rise in the popularity of thrillers, ghost stories, and stories based on the paranormal,” a Delacorte editor said. “I think the most popular books are the ones that set the ghost story in the contemporary world. There’s something about believing those things are out there right now that is thrilling for young readers.”

“Pure horror will probably never explode the way fantasy or sci-fi have exploded at different times,” a Scholastic editor said, “but the wave of terror ebbs and flows. During any given year, some subgenre or another seems to take off. For the past couple years, apocalyptic zombie stories have been big, thanks to Max Brooks, Brian Keene, and others.”

At Llewellyn, an editor said, “We see good, steady demand for well done paranormal thrillers, books that might even be called ‘dark fantasy’ or ‘urban fantasy,’ especially for girls. Witty, graphic horror, such as the books by Darren Shan, seems to work well for boys.”

In a Candlewick Press editor’s opinion, “I think we’ll see more graphic fare in all of these areas as the graphic novel continues to gain popularity. It’s a natural fit. For middle-grade readers and younger, the emphasis seems to be on series publishing and story collections, while YA readers range more between genre/series fare and lush, literary novels like Twilight.”

Seems like they did pretty well. And how about today? At the SCBWI New York conference a few of months ago, Susan Raab said that mystery and ghost stories are thought to be growing. Vampires and werewolves are still big, but not expected to last. Fantasy in general is softening, but dystopian fantasy is growing.

Of course, who really knows? A fantastic book may be ready to launch, and pull back up one of these trends, or start a new one. And as for fantasy, editor Ari Lewin noted that eight or nine of the top 10 books on both the hardcover and paperback children’s bestseller list that week were fantasy of some kind. We keep hearing about the death of fantasy, but that seems to be wishful thinking on the part of editors who are tired of it. Readers just keep on reading. (Note that these were not high fantasy (knights and dragons), but lots of dystopian and paranormal books.)

So what’s the next big trend? Have you read — or written — a book that you think will light some fires? Personally, I’m hoping that Rick Riordan’s new Kane Chronicles series will reignite interest in ancient Egypt, both historical fantasy and straight historical fiction. Because, you know, I have this Egyptian novel I haven’t beChris Eboch with Haunted booksen able to sell yet….

Chris Eboch has this fantasy that she’ll start a new trend and beginning authors will submit their manuscripts with covers letters that says, “It’s the next Chris Eboch” so often that it becomes a cliché.

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Right Now in Speculative Fiction

Teens love vampires! Er… books about vampires. Why not get them interested in the original fang-fest by pointing them toward Bram Stoker’s Dracula blogged in real time. It started May 3rd, so they only have to catch up a little bit.dracula

Seven Star Productions already has the first draft of a screenplay in the works for Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, “a zombie thriller set in colonial times.” Read Ryan’s reaction to the news about film rights here. Warning: much use of the word “squee” involved.

Should libraries stock graphic novels? Do these books promote the love of learning, or do they take interest away from more challenging literature? Krista McKenzie weighs in on YALSA’s site.the dark planet

The Dark Planet, the final book in Patrick Carman’s Atherton trilogy, is out now! A mad scientist’s puzzling plan is finally revealed, and Edgar finds out the true purpose of “the mysterious satellite world of Atherton.” Haven’t read the other books in the series? You can enter to win the entire trilogy here.

Writers: think your book got the worst review ever? Wallow in your misery by posting the review on this blog and inviting readers to decide if it really is the Worst. Review. Ever. Actually, you might feel better after reading all the scathing reviews of other people’s books.twitter

Odds are, you recently joined Twitter. (Am I right??) If you don’t know who to follow, check out this list of 100+ Best Authors on Twitter–sixteen of whom write for young readers and thrity-four of whom write specualtive fiction. These authors, including Laurel Snyder and Anne Mazer, “carry on a conversation with their followers and present information they might find valuable.”

cheryliconParker Peevyhouse never thought Dracula would buy into the blogging craze.

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Right Now in Speculative Fiction

Today marks the start of Flycon 2009, an online worldwide convention where different aspects of speculative fiction will be discussed in realtime. Check out this panel on “When in YA not for YAs?” at 9am Pacific time (noon Eastern) TODAY. The schedule for lots of other panels can be found here.

The New York Times has decided to take comics seriously–they’ve created a Graphic Books Best Seller list. Coming in at #1 on the hardcover list: Starman Omnibus, Vol. 2 by James Robinson and Tony Harris (DC Comics). And #1 on the softcover list, predictably: Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics).

Teachers! Do you know teens who couldn’t put down Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games?  They might want to enter this essay contest for a chance to have lunch with Collins and her editors in New York City. The winner and 100(!) runners up will also receive an ARC of the much-anticipated sequel, Catching Fire, which releases in September 2009. The contest runs from March 16 to May 15.

Tonight at 11:59pm our Friday the 13th Giveaway closes! Leave a comment on this post (telling us what you’d like to see on The Spectacle) in order to be entered to win The Graveyard Book and an advance reader’s copy of The Farwalker’s Quest.

cherylicon Parker Peevyhouse wishes she were a teen so she could get her hands on an ARC of Catching Fire.

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