How to create demand for the European Speculative Fiction in Europe ?
EUROPA SF’s contributor Cristian Tamas, during an exchange of e-mails, said to me: “Let’s discuss about creating demand for the European Speculative Fiction in Europe !”
For many people the question might be contradictory or even rhetoric but, actually it is a problem for which you are looking for a proactive answer or better, it is a problem for which you are looking for a solution.
The Anglo-American culture tends to hide and overwhelm the European culture.
Attention, do not get me wrong this is not a criticism against the Anglo-American art – a criticism of this kind on my part would be false because I admire their creativity and I love the way they realize the culture – it does not concern therefore a matter of artistic influence but, the difficulty of the coexistence of non-anglo-saxon artistic productions with anglo-saxon productions on the same plane, in Europe.
What is causing the difficulty of coexistence ? It lacks the professionals willingness of to look into the non-English-speaking production of the Europeans, and not because it is of low artistic level but because it involves economic investments, especially in promoting, while the Anglo-American culture is already established, it’s almost a self-promoter so, why to do a such expensive effort ?
From my point of view, I realize that in Europe there is a rampant growing of cultural laziness.
How to solve it ? At this point I can say – and here it becomes my personal assessment – that it is necessary to shift the focus with the question, “how to destroy the cultural laziness that preventing Europe from to find and push his non-Anglo-American talents in the world of Speculative Fiction ?”
With the curiosity and promotion.
To whet the curiosity of the public and professionals, you will need interesting events, media promotion, direct involvement of the public on all social-networks, video production, trailers and images – because the eye always wants his part – in a nutshell, you have to organize a real “circus” where the Speculative Fiction and the consequent culture are the leitmotiv hidden, while creativity and entertainment are instead the exposed part.
The “circus” is an expression of entertainment through different peculiarities and serves to create promotion, to let people know that there is an European Speculative Fiction, to make known its authors and the existence of their novels. To the different events in Europe, for example, a future European Speculative Fiction Writers Association will organize to expose the authors of other european countries, inviting them by publicizing their work, also inviting translators and publishers.
For this you need: the presence of the authors to promote, interviews and articles that announce their arrival, billboards, flyers, every promotional movement must be aimed at create anticipation and curiosity and at give great importance to the work of the authors.
The same thing can be done online through social-network, and this requires the presence of the image: photos, trailer of the works that are to be promoted, video, banner, it must be posted a tangible idea of the content of the novels or other works. This type of promotion should reach the public but also the publishers. Also, it should not be superficial and short-term, first of all there must be the conviction, it must reveal the confidence of a future ESFWA in authors who are promoting. There must therefore be insistence – the foundation of all promotions -, entertainment – a creative promotion, not a homework -, and very careful not to dilute the message with too many promotions – two, three authors at a time – or all efforts will drown in a tsunami of informations.
How to select from time to time the authors to promote? Doing research in order to understand where it is going the taste of the public, that must be involved in the events and on the web, especially by publishers, by authors and SF fans.
The “circus” I mean is pure movement, because the movement creates curiosity and curiosity creates demand. Should be part of this circus also publishers, who should do two harmless efforts, open the mind and avoid the cultural laziness because publishers are the first to practice it, without ever looking around they waiting for the Anglo-American production.
If Anglo-Americans publishers do the same, there would be probably the total extinction of contemporary literature but, they do not have this laziness, they invest, publish, they create new themes to be offered to the public. And if they do not have new authors then create them, how ?
With a new, colorful, sparkling “circus”.
If we all work with the same goals in mind, working together, I believe that a future ESFWA can also work and, with the publishers of the various European Countries, can put in place the sparkling circus and begin to create something really European. It is not competition, it’s creation. It’s culture.
© Debora Montanari
“Writing and Publishing Science Fiction in Italy”: Debora Montanari, Luigi Petruzzelli, Prof. Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College, USA)
A discussion about the world of Science Fiction in Italy and about work of writers and publishers, by the writer Debora Montanari, the publisher Luigi Petruzzelli (Edizioni Della Vigna, Italy), and Professor Arielle Saiber.
From Chicon 7-Hugo Awards 2012, Chicago – September 1st (10.30 am): extract from the panel “Writing and Publishing Science-Fiction in Italy”.
“SF and Fringe Science” : Debora Montanari, Luigi Petruzzelli, Barbara G. Tarn
Interaction between fringe science and science fiction in Italy, by writer Debora Montanari, publisher Luigi Petruzzelli and freelance writer Barbara G. Tarn.
From Chicon 7-Hugo Awards 2012, Chicago – August 30th (4.30 pm): an extract of panel “SF and Border Science: an Italian Point of View”
“Michelangelo and That Whole Crowd: Early Artists Who Dabbled in Science” : Debora Montanari, Luigi Petruzzelli, G. David Nordley (USA)
Some artists from the past were also interested in science, and some among them are also characters in Science Fiction stories. The panel focuses on these artists and their works, always in relation with their vision and with Science Fiction. Panelists: writer Debora Montanari, publisher Luigi Petruzzelli (Edizioni Della Vigna, Italy) and writer G. David Nordley.
From Chicon 7-Hugo Awards 2012, Chicago – August 31st (10.30 am): extract from the panel.