Fantasy writer criticises bookstores for shelf space given to ‘dead guys’

By March 28, 2019Authors, News

Fantasy and science fiction writer, Fonda Lee, best known for her speculative fiction Zeroboxer, and Exo, recently sparked controversy by speaking out against the over-promotion of classic authors like J.R.R. Tolkien.

Commenting on the shelf space dedicated to ‘dead guys’ such as Tolkien and Robert Jordan, Fonda Lee explained how frustrating and difficult it is for fellow fantasy writers such as herself to sell their own work.

Using Twitter as her platform, Lee posted a photo of bookshelves in her local Barnes & Noble, showing 3 shelves dedicated to Tolkien, and almost 2 shelves just for Jordan. As a Tolkien fan herself, Lee was adamant she was not attempting to discredit the authors, however she felt frustrated that so much space was given to two “dead guys” over fresh and modern fantasy writers.

She may have a point about the saturated market of fantasy and science fiction writers, and the need to give newer writers a fighting chance, however both Tolkien and Jordan were prolific writers and surely deserve space on shelves to showcase their many tomes? Tolkien himself wrote over 35 books, and Jordan had published 14 and a prequel novel- perhaps showing the need for more space for such productive epic fantasy writers.

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One Comment

  • Paul says:

    I always think of B&N as where folks go to buy gifts. Like parents/grandparents for younger readers. If I am going to buy for myself I am going to buy online almost every time. Mostly for my e-reader now-a-days. And I think those shelves reflect what the buyers hope their younger generation will read? It has been years since I bought a novel that would have been written in the last two years. It’s a WHOLE lot like music! I am still stuck in the 70s and 80s and I have to ask my son who someone is on an awards show or in a video. And I attend cons, 4 or 5 a year and I am very sorry but I am not familiar with Fonda Lee. But I am also guilt of asking ‘who is Joel Hodgson?’ just as he walked up behind me.

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