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posted by LaminatorX on Friday March 13 2015, @09:53PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the tale-of-two-stories dept.

What do science fiction classics like Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle, Simak's City, and Sturgeon's More Than Human have in common? Each of them is a "fix-up" - a novel constructed out of short stories that were previously published on their own. "This used to be one standard way to write a science fiction novel—publish a series of stories that all take place in the same world, and then knit them together into a book," says Charlie Jane Anders. "Sometimes a great deal of revision happened, to turn the separate stories into a single narrative and make sure all the threads joined up. Sometimes, the stories remain pretty separate but there are links between them."

The Golden Age science fiction publishing market was heavily geared towards magazines and short stories. And then suddenly, there was this huge demand for tons of novels. According to Andrew Liptak this left many science fiction authors caught in a hard place: Many had come to depend on the large number of magazines on the market that would pay them for their work, and as readership declined, so too did the places in which to publish original fiction. The result was an innovative solution: repackage a number of preexisting short stories by adding to or rewriting portions of them to work together as a single story. There's also something kind of beautiful about a novel in stories says Anders. You get more narrative "payoff" with a collection of stories that also forms a single continuous meta-story than you do with a single over-arching novel—because each story has its own conclusion, and yet the story builds towards a bigger resolution. Fix-ups are a good, representative example of the transition that the publishing industry faced at the time, and how its authors adapted concludes Liptak. "It’s a lesson that’s well-worth looking closely at, as the entire publishing industry faces new technological challenges and disruptions from the likes of self-publishing and micro-press platforms."

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  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by art guerrilla on Friday March 13 2015, @10:08PM

    by art guerrilla (3082) on Friday March 13 2015, @10:08PM (#157525)

    grrrr, fuckers want everyone to die of terminal frustration...
    had designed two custom shelving units in SketchUp 2014 Make for our new house being built. Go to print to PDF to send to cab contractor, and crashes and burns... used both CutePDF and FoxIt PDF printer drivers; Cute apparently goes into limbo and never produced a file... FoxIt produces good PDF, but it will crash and burn SketchUp when i go to do the next PDF...

    so, go to get back in SketchUp, and gives some screen I can't get around to simply open my file, about upgrading to SU2015Pro (No Obligation, try for 30 days, blah blah blah), but when you refuse (as I did), it dumps you out of 2014, and CAN NOT get past the 'optional' upgrade ! ! !
    grrrr...
    so, screw that, go and download SU2015Make (not Pro!), install, and get into files to finish dimensioning for cab contractor... finish, go to print PDF's, and SU crashes and burns...
    go to report to SU, CutePDF and FoxIt -you know, TRYING to be a good user to HELP THEM- and after 30-40 mins of dicking around with TRYING to find someplace to email, can't apparently do that... go to fora, but want me to make an acct, etc... screw you, i'm just trying to help you idiots make your product better, and you put obstacles in my way such that it becomes such a PITA, i don't care anymore...
    grrrrr...

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Friday March 13 2015, @10:15PM

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Friday March 13 2015, @10:15PM (#157530) Journal

      Lovely. Perhaps you'd like to be acquainted with the user journal feature? I'm sure you'll love it!

      --
      You're betting on the pantomime horse...
    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Non Sequor on Saturday March 14 2015, @01:26AM

      by Non Sequor (1005) on Saturday March 14 2015, @01:26AM (#157615) Journal

      I think we're on the same page here. We must resort to vigilante justice against the programmers of every program that generates PDFs. I think we all know this has been a long time coming.

      --
      Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:34AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:34AM (#157701)

        Offtopic? How is this modded offtopic? He's talking about fix-ups of user manuals via the portable document file standard! How can fix-ups be good enough for SciFi but not good enough for real life? It's a good thing that moderation works like fix-ups and can eventually result in something good and complete.

    • (Score: 2) by VortexCortex on Saturday March 14 2015, @10:12AM

      by VortexCortex (4067) on Saturday March 14 2015, @10:12AM (#157713)

      And this is why I use Blender.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Friday March 13 2015, @10:11PM

    by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Friday March 13 2015, @10:11PM (#157527) Journal

    It happened 100 years before, too.

    Dickens, Trollope, Bulwer-Lytton, Thackeray. They published in the weeklies - serial stories.

    Collection under one cover wasn't a necessary aim.

    --
    You're betting on the pantomime horse...
    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:06AM

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:06AM (#157638) Homepage Journal

      Those Dickens books were written as serials -- each is one story divided into many parts. The story is conceived as a coherent whole, and then the parts were written to tight deadlines.

      What the OP is saying is subtly different -- an author comes up with a short story, then realises there can be another short story based in the same world, perhaps with some of the same characters, and later another. They are written, submitted, and published independently. Then, when time comes to write a novel, he rewrites the batch into a coherent whole.

      Both methods can produce excellent literature, but the short-story method gets payback sooner, without all that long-term planning. Of course, sometimes the stories don't fit together.

      -- hendrik

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by frojack on Saturday March 14 2015, @04:57AM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 14 2015, @04:57AM (#157665) Journal

        The story is conceived as a coherent whole, and then the parts were written to tight deadlines.

        More likely they were just written as they went along. Especially Dickens, he was never too complex.
        Mysteries are the only genera where you have to conceive the whole story ahead of time and then back-seed clues into the earlier chapters.

        The best way to see fix ups is to find the original stories, and see what they became when stitched together.
        But not a lot of the originals survived, because nobody thought the cheap rags they were published in were often not taken seriously, weren't archived, or the archives died when the publication died. Often these stories didn't even all appear in a the same publication, as the authors would sell a story here and another one there, etc.

        Then when the novel came out the scattered short stories forgotten.
        There were some authors that had novels before they were popular that serialized them - the reverse process of a fix-up. Joe Halderman was known to do this.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Saturday March 14 2015, @07:13PM

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 14 2015, @07:13PM (#157825) Homepage Journal

          The story is conceived as a coherent whole, and then the parts were written to tight deadlines.

          More likely they were just written as they went along. Especially Dickens, he was never too complex.

          Well, yes. But there's a difference between writing a first chapter of something you intend to become a novel and writing a short story.

          When you write a first chapter you are introducing situations that you intend to explore further. You usually have some idea where the further exploration will go. You have no intention of resolving in the first chapter the issues you raise. You deliberately leave loose ends, and sometimes even a cliffhanger.

          When you are writing a short story, you intend that story to be the whole, complete thing. You may discover later that the characters and situations you introduced are capable of bearing another story, while writing the first story, that's not your focus.

          Mysteries are the only genera where you have to conceive the whole story ahead of time and then back-seed clues into the earlier chapters.

          True. It is said that when writing a mystery it does help a lot to know whodunit. Still, there are mystery authors who say that the only way that they can keep focussed on writing day by day is that they want to find out whodunit.

          There are two kinds of writers, sometimes called the outliners and the pantsers (this is probably excessively binary -- there are lots of blends).

          The outliners prepare a detailed outline for the whole novel before they start, and then proceed to write the text.

          The pantsers write by the seat of their pants, so to speak. They set up an initial situation in the first chapter or two, and proceed from there inventing everything as they go along. Pantsers usually discover at the end of the first draft that they have to rewrite the whole thing because it has become an incoherent mess. It's almost as if the first draft of maybe upwards of hundred thousand words is more like a detailed outline for them. Rewrite can be drastic. Entire chapters and plot arcs mowed down and replaced by others.

          Outliners often find that their characters misbehave and don't do what they are intended to do. They have to revise the outline as they go along to compensate.

          That said, in either mode, it's not unusual for a novel to go through many, many drafts.

          My hat is off to those, like Dickens, that can do this in one draft, start to finish, chapter by chapter, without the story becoming gibberish. I suspect such writers do have an outline in mind.

          But I do believe that for most writers the two modes of writing in the OP -- all-at-once, and sequence of loosely related short stories -- are different in nature. If nothing else each short story will go through all its drafts before publication separately from the next

          -- hendrik.

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:34PM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:34PM (#157857) Journal

            All good stuff....

            Also the Outliners these days tend to use authoring software (not talking about a word processor here) that helps them organize ideas, earl-seed facts that become important later, etc.

            Frojack's general rule of novels, is if the name of the AUTHOR is printed way way bigger than the title of the novel on the jacket, chances are they are a formula writer using authoring software. You can sometimes spot these authors because they introduce so many characters that are not germane to the story.

            There dozens of the writing tools, see http://creative-writing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/ [toptenreviews.com] for some paid ones, but there are freeware versions as well.

            You wonder if manual versions of these existed for writers in past centuries.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Sunday March 29 2015, @12:56AM

              by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 29 2015, @12:56AM (#163681) Homepage Journal

              Thanks for the link to the writing tools reviews. Not that I'm likely to buy any of them, because they don't run on Linux. Scrivener, the one my friends who have written books recommend, isn't even on the list.

              But I am interested in free software for this purpose, to the extent that I've been thinking of writing some myself. There's a nice collection of program features mentioned in the various reviews.

              Some of these features could be implemented by clever design and writing code. Others are data bases (such as the data base of names of various nationalities), which are perhaps better crowdsourced or ignored altogether.

              Anyway, thanks for the link. It'll be useful.

              -- hendrik

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @10:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @10:28PM (#157535)

    Hugh, we've already had this discussion on slashdot. why not alternate your many interesting submissions between there, here, and pipedot? pretty please.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @10:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @10:39PM (#157544)

      Rather than darkening our door with your shit posts, just GO AWAY

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @10:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @10:32PM (#157538)

    I'm discontent. I read this 3 days ago on the green site. Same submitter. Same headline. Similar description.

    Is there a way to block a submitter? Because I'd just as soon not read anything I know that's going to get posted elsewhere.

    In case you doubt me:
    entertainment. .org/story/15/03/11/1533214/some-of-the-greatest-science-fiction-novels-are-fix-ups

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @11:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2015, @11:17PM (#157562)

      Separate sites, similar content for similar readers. If you don't want dupes, don't read both.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:51PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @02:51PM (#157773)

        I ask about a technical solution, and I get told leaving is the option.

        I'll take that advice. Thanks.

  • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Friday March 13 2015, @11:26PM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 13 2015, @11:26PM (#157566) Journal

    Were IMHO the heyday for those, probably because of the 40s through 60s being so short story heavy. There was also a shitload in the 50s-70s of "best new writers tackle" where you would have a theme, robots, time travel, etc and the writers would turn in their shorts on the subject and an editor would try to give it more of an arc or have ones conclusion flow into the premise of the next. This was also done a lot in horror and OT but why the fuck Hollywood has to keep remaking old shit when there was so many KILLER stories put out in that time I'll never know.

    One I remember which was originally one of those shorts that ended getting turned into a full novel was a great book if anybody happens to run across it called "old friend of the family" where a family is being terrorized by a gang and grandma calls in a 300 year old favor from a vampire. It was SERIOUSLY dark and unlike the "twinkles" it was made clear the vamp is NOT a good guy, he simply believes in paying his debts. It would make a hell of a movie (or even better a series) and after vamps being neutered for so long it would be like a breath of fresh air!

    But if anybody comes across those "writers tackle", also known by several other handles like "stories on" I highly recommend, they had some seriously great stories that I don't think ever ended up anywhere else. They are usually easy to spot as they'd try to get at least one "name brand" writer like Asimov or Heinlein to put on the front cover while the back would be filled with several new writers, quite good with lots of new takes on old tropes.

    --
    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 2) by Ryuugami on Friday March 13 2015, @11:59PM

      by Ryuugami (2925) on Friday March 13 2015, @11:59PM (#157583)

      It was SERIOUSLY dark and unlike the "twinkles" it was made clear the vamp is NOT a good guy, he simply believes in paying his debts.

      Hellsing [wikipedia.org] is similar, only instead of "paying my debts" it's "swore loyalty to the guy who defeated me".

      --
      If a shit storm's on the horizon, it's good to know far enough ahead you can at least bring along an umbrella. - D.Weber
      • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:41AM

        by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:41AM (#157596) Journal

        Well in this one IIRC the vampire was badly injured and nearly killed and was hidden by a gypsy family, he told the head of the family that has long as her line existed all they had to do was summon him and he would return like a "life debt" for an immortal. Cue 300 years later when the family lives in NYC and is being terrorized by a local gang, when one of the daughters is raped and left near dead granny has enough and calls in the favor and....ohh shit did they pick the wrong one to fuck with!

        Anyway if you happen to run across it I highly recommend, VERY dark and VERY brutal story but very well written. I'd check out yours but sadly ever since that guy was thrown in jail for CP for having a manga I won't go near those with a 39 foot pole, sure the story itself could be fine but if there is even a single ad in there for another manga that some judge decides "looks lolita"? Its CP here in the states. Its fucking retarded but in my state its 10 years a picture so no way am I gonna risk it just to read a good horror story.

        --
        ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:27AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:27AM (#157649)

          Nobody's going to jail for loli porn unless they've already decided to put you in jail for some other reason.
          And if they've already decided to put you in jail, there are hundreds of other crimes you've already committed that they can use to do it.
          The lack of other people going to jail besides that one guy is ipso facto proof of that.

        • (Score: 2) by Ryuugami on Saturday March 14 2015, @08:35AM

          by Ryuugami (2925) on Saturday March 14 2015, @08:35AM (#157684)

          I'd check out yours but sadly ever since that guy was thrown in jail for CP for having a manga I won't go near those with a 39 foot pole, sure the story itself could be fine but if there is even a single ad in there for another manga that some judge decides "looks lolita"? Its CP here in the states.

          Yeah, the laws in the US are quite insane. Even here in Japan they're slowly increasing the pressure and every now and then try to ban the god-damn drawings. IIRC it's not because the politicians think it's wrong, but because they're worried about their international image or something. Someone should tell them that that ship has sailed a long time ago :)

          Anyways, from the wikipedia page:

          The [manga] series is licensed for an English language release in North America by Dark Horse Comics.

          Following the release of the manga, Gonzo produced a thirteen episode anime series that uses the same characters and settings, but a different story from its source manga. (...) The series is licensed for English language release in North America by Geneon Entertainment

          An original video animation (OVA) entitled Hellsing Ultimate has been produced by Geneon. It follows the manga storyline more closely than the anime series. (...) In North America the first episode was released on December 5, 2006, and as of October 28, 2014 all ten episodes have been released.

          I don't remember this particular series having either children nor porn in it, so you should be safe in any case, but there are USA versions available.

          While the story is not all that dark and brutal (it's aimed at "young adults"), I'd recommend it if only for the scene of an army of neo-Nazi vampires invading London with a fleet of combat zeppelins (it almost makes sense in context). Not-really-a-spoiler alert: they get annihilated by the resident vampire. Also, that part is not present in the original anime, only manga and -- I think, didn't get around to watching it yet -- OVA.

          --
          If a shit storm's on the horizon, it's good to know far enough ahead you can at least bring along an umbrella. - D.Weber
          • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:18AM

            by Hairyfeet (75) <bassbeast1968NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday March 14 2015, @09:18AM (#157692) Journal

            The truly insane part? ZERO proof of anything is needed, as all it takes is a judge deciding that character "looks lolita" and BAM, its CP. Doesn't matter if the character is a 400 year old vamp, hell it doesn't even matter if the character has been drawn for so many years that if it were treated as a real person they would be pushing 50, nope all that matters is some judge thinks they look even a single day under 18. Its caused all kinds of crazy shit, I remember some porn star having to fly in from like Brazil just to testify "I'm 34" because some douchebag judge decided "flat tits equals CP", just fucking batshit.

            Just be glad you don't live here dude, as I lived through Ronnie raygun and the moral majority and even THAT wasn't as hard fascist right as BOTH parties have gotten now, we got so many Ayn Rand cockbags that take actual glee from kicking poor people in power I'm just waiting for that "let 'em eat cake" moment. Of course the rest of the world should probably be getting ready to wet themselves as the last time we had a very nationalistic hard right military loving country flame out? It ended a decade later with over 100 million dead and THEY weren't sitting on a mountain of nukes or a giant fleet of floating death. Mark my words there will be some nasty shit come down in the next decade, this whole country is running on IOUs and jingoism and as we saw from Japan in the 30s that is a BAD combo.

            --
            ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
  • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Friday March 13 2015, @11:42PM

    Serializing stories was big when most people read magazines rather than buying (relatively) expensive books. Once paperbacks were cheap, taking serialized stories and making them into novels made a lot of sense. But this isn't exactly a secret.

    TFS (haven't read TFA) doesn't really tie this fifty year-old newsflash in to any new information or trends other than to say that the publishing industry changed back then and it's changing now.

    All I can say is that I'm shocked! Change happens? Really?

    Well I'll be buggered with a gigantic grasshopper!

    --
    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @12:03AM (#157584)

      It's not a "change happens" story, its a "bet you didn't know this about some books you probably really liked" story.

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:11AM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday March 14 2015, @03:11AM (#157641)

    It's also what SciFi (and many other long running) TV shows have done for years.

    Apparently, TV writers aren't capable of writing a compelling 40 minute story (hour show, minus commercials, credits and intro theme). So, instead, they spin two, or even three mini-stories together and cut back and forth between them - often with zero tie in beyond the fact that the characters in each sub-plot know each other from previous stories and are currently separated for the purpose of telling the separate stories.

    --
    My karma ran over your dogma.
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @06:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2015, @06:44AM (#157678)

      Uh, no. Cutting between the A storyline and the B storyline has nothing to do with not being capable and everything to do with human psychology. You'll note that nearly every book does the same thing. Even Homer's Odyssey cuts back and forth between Odysseus's ten year journey to get home and the tribulations of his wife trying to fend off suitors during that time.