American publishers recoil from terrorism thrillers?

At the Grumpy Old Bookman site, Michael Allen responds to Greg Bear’s revelation that his American publisher rejected his latest novel, Quantico.

Allen speculates that U.S. editors’ resistance to “terrorism-based novels” motivated this rejection of the award-winning science-fiction writer’s work.

Too close to home, it is claimed. Nasty stuff. Readers want novels about cute little puppies and romance, and all like that.

On the other hand, Greg is able to report that his book has been picked by the (US) Book of the Month Club, the Mystery Guild, and others. So, no real unanimity of opinion there then.

Mr. Maud, a fellow Bear fan, agrees that objections to the subject matter probably derailed the book, but wonders (in email) why the publisher didn’t consider the author’s track record and see dollar signs.

It’s strange that a publisher would shy away from a Greg Bear book, about terrorism or any other subject. He is a best-selling, well-respected SF author, and his previous books have tackled, among other subjects, terrorism, cyber-sabotage, destructive nanotechnology, nuclear war, and even the annihilation of the Earth. In the ’80s, he was one of a group of SF authors and techno-futurists called the Citizen’s Advisory Council on National Space Policy, whose brainstorming sessions about futuristic weapons were the basis for Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” proposals.

See also Bear’s thoughts (scroll down) on Reagan.


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