Re: Australian sf in Yankville

From: steve (
Date: Wed Feb 20 2002 - 11:27:39 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Damien Broderick" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 3:23 AM
Subject: Australian sf in Yankville

> That assumes the books get into the stores to start with.
> There's often a kind of numbing provincialism (sorry) in the reception
> response of Americans to the *tonality*, the *not-American-ness* of
> anything Not From Here (where Here is probably the constructed Here you
> in TV). Or so it's assumed, tacitly, by many publishers.
> Now this aversion might be overstated--but we'll never know, because
> publishers and agents tend to act as if it's so. There are notable
> exceptions; the NYT recently ran a reading group on the almost
> pathologically Australian novel by Peter Carey about the bushranger Ned
> Kelly... but that book had already won the prestigious British Booker
> It's not just a matter of implied accent. All manner of tiny default
> details are different in Australian novels, even if they're set on Mars.
> The more Australian my books are (the way characters talk, the places they
> live, the bits of local history they reference), the harder they are to
> read by agents let alone read by publishers let alone bought. It doesn't
> matter how much praise they've had here. They are *insufficiently
> in small details that poor brilliant John Brunner, a British sf writer,
> tried for decades to emulate, unsuccessfully (and was regularly,
> hilariously mocked by sarcastic ORBIT series editor Damon Knight for his
> blunders).
> <snip>
> What I'm talking about is just one of the costs of imperial power.

I must say I notice this as well, in responses to other communication forms
such as movies and lectures also. I don't think it's down to power though. I
think it's a natural human tendency exagerated by the sheer size and
self-contained nature of the US. Steve Davies

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