At the Library Conference

One of the exhibitors is showcasing Battle Royale. It is a Japanese novel from 10 years ago, now in manga and movie form, about a bunch of teenagers armed then left on an island until there is one survivor. The Hunger Games came out in the US 2 years ago, it being a novel about a group of teens enclosed and forced to fight until one remains (sequel is out, movie planned). If I can find a few more of these, I must just read them all in a row.

Knowing a bit about each book, I am reminded of how different our gamer tactics are because of respawning and chat. People set up great ambushes and backstabs in FPS games, and you might warn your friends while dead or spawn as a countering class to go back for the guy. I know one character from those books who does very well with a “feign death and ambush” tactic, until he meets someone who knows rule 2: the double tap. And it only needs to fail once.

I have also been offered five teen vampire romance novels. I can tell that others lie in wait behind the less prominent promotions.

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “At the Library Conference”

  1. I stumbled across Battle Royale and the Sequel on one of the late night movie channels and got sucked in. I missedo out on thte whole fad for Japanese art / movie manga / anime fad so I have no point of reference for movies like this but they make for strangely compulsive viewing.

    The teen vampire thing has gotten way out of control. I was in a local bookshop a couple of days ago and fully one half of the erstwhile “Fantasy and Science Fiction” shelf was filled with teen vampire novels. WTF this has got to stop.

    1. Booksellers couldn’t believe the scale of the Harry Potter phenomenon and even though the price wars meant they were the people who made the least money out of it, they have been absolutely desparate to find a substitute now that Harry has gone.

      Dan Brown is a massive seller, but his books don’t have the hysterical hype-factor that drives footfall. And he certainly doesn’t have the related product sales. Stephanie Meyer does. Twilight is by far the biggest phenomenon in fiction publishing since Harry Potter, and that’s despite the potential market clearly being more limited.

      Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy both sell fairly poorly. It’s been many years since there was any distinction in bookselling between S.F. and Fantasy. We shelve them together and very few booksellers I have met could distinguish the genres, or would even care to try. What we used to call Fantasy probably sells better than straight S.F. but neither is a major seller any more.

      We have recently been told to install two new separate, permanent sections. I forget the exact marketing titles for them, but they are effectively for Dark Fantasy and Teenage Vampire books. They need the separate visibility and square footage because they sell. Whether we’ll still have the same sections in five years, I doubt. But whether we’ll even have an SF/Fantasy section by then, who knows?

      1. Interesting to get an insiders insight Bhagpuss. I have one question about the teen Vampire thing – am I right in saying they are aimed almost exclusively at girls? The ones I have seen are pretty top heavy with hormones and such.

        With regard to F&SF going out of fashion. I guess I am already reconciled to the fact that these books are becoming a specialist niche that can only be found in certain stores. I am not too pessimistic though because I think they are genres that will survive quite well on digital downloads given the nerd element that reads them.

        1. The main target audience is teen girls, but you will see others. There are some targeted at teen boys, and then you get into the many vampire detective novels/series that start on adults and are more likely to be either gender. And then you have Mario Acevedo, which is just salaciously for men.

          Of course, zombie is the new vampire, so there are also teen zombie romance novels.

        2. As if boys didn’t have hormones. If only Twilight wasn’t so terrible. I’ve never heard of a GOOD vampire romance and I don’t want to start looking (will take forever).

          Bookshops near me don’t have these new “genres” thank goodness. Still quite enough sci-fi and fantasy (lumped together) to please me.

          1. Good: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 2. It may help that it notices her job (killing vampires) and his primary food source (her).

  2. Haven’t read the book but the film of Battle Royale is excellent. It’s not just about violence, there’s a lot of subtext to it.

    Sounds like you’re having good fun at the conference anyway!

  3. I assume you’ve read the classic book about this: The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. If not, check it out, it’s really good.

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