Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Not Ready for Crime Time

Science fiction and fantasy are still totally the genres I love the most, and I seem to be incapable of writing stories myself that don’t involve monsters or ancient cults (who were actually really onto something) or weird gods or psychic powers or ghosts or shapechangers, but I’ve been majorly into reading crime fiction in the past year. Having read a couple hundred mystery/crime/etc. books I’m starting to figure out the stuff I like: nihilistic noir about loser criminals (James Cain! Jason Starr!), wisecracking private detectives (the better Spenser novels!), funny caper novels (Donald Westlake!), brutal caper novels (Donald Westlake as Richard Stark!), PIs with horrible personal problems (Ken Bruen! Lawrence Block!), and the occasional procedural novel as long it’s more about the personality of the cop than about, you know, procedure (Ian Rankin!). I’m also trying to read some of the foundational stuff in the genre. Hammett’s novels (in a handy-dandy Library of America omnibus) and his Continental Op stories, the aforementioned James Cain, etc.

It all makes me want to write crime novels. Of various kinds. But I want to read a few hundred more before I try my hand at the genre I think.

I’m also watching the Avatar: the Last Airbender series with my wife (steaming Netflix whoo), and we are in love with the show. It makes me want to write epic fantasy YA. So let me just add that to the to-do list. As if I don’t have enough to do. (This weekend I need to write 7,000 words and check over the page proofs for Broken Mirrors.)

Sometime soon I should be able to announce one or two or maybe all of the cool book projects I have on the horizon. Contracts exist and details are being worked out. Officialness approaches. Then there’s the fantasy series proposal I need to revise, and a couple of short projects I need to tackle… I’m actually busier than ever; it’s just not as readily apparent to the naked eye.

Tonight I plan to go to a cafe and read page proofs, because such endeavors benefit from vast quantities of coffee — and the inability to screw around online or watch TV or clean my kitchen instead of working.

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