Largely about The Aether Age, partly about me as a writer. The story was written for the Tri-City Herald, and, for reasons that may include a glacial news cycle, Northwest pride, or possibly because they may all be McClatchy papers, also ran in the Tacoma News-Tribune and Bellingham Herald.

I work as a freelance movie critic for the Tri-City Herald, and I have to say I’m somewhat uncomfortable being interviewed on an unrelated aspect of my career by a business that employs me in another field. Not that I think there’s actually anything unethical in this case; the Herald‘s strong local coverage is one of the reasons they’ve continued to do so well in the current newspaper era, and they run pieces on local artists all the time.

But it’s interesting in that, at some point along the continuum of authorial fame/success, the weird thing would be if they didn’t run a story on me. If I wrote a bestseller, or built a strong midlist career, there would be no question of a conflict of interest: that’s serious local news.

On the other end, in a hypothetical where I wrote columns for a paper, was also trying to launch a fiction career, but had no sales yet, it would be pretty dubious if they ran a piece on how I’d like to someday sell short stories, right? So there’s a continuum from “This guy has nothing to show for himself, why on Earth would be okay to run a story on that” to “This guy’s a major author, of course it’s of interest to the community.” Where along that continuum does my career in fiction fall?

I have no actual doubts the paper would’ve done the piece if they had any real reservations about that (and of course they noted the potential conflict at the end of the piece). Integrity is the currency of (non-tabloid) newspapers, and once you start trading that away, you devalue your business and institution. I just think ethical situations like this are the most fascinating because there’s always room for doubt, however small.

I suppose my policy is to keep my head down and work hard, but grab all opportunities that pop up. The Aether Age has some pretty great stories in it. Better yet, the individual visions of its sixteen authors, taken as a whole, build a universe much, much broader than what’s painted in any one story. I’m happy to lend it a little notice.

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I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.


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