Tie-in novels are something I’ve generally stayed away from â€“ not from some sort of disdain for them, but more because the world they’re written in has to be incredibly compelling for me to have interest, otherwise they just seem like jumping into the deep end. I never really know where to begin.
Paul S. Kemp’s Everis Cale series (part of Forgotten Realms) is one of the tie-ins that keeps popping up on my radar throughout the years with some hearty recommendations. So I was interested to see, via John Grasping for the Wind, that Kemp has recently written an article on Tie-in novels and how their place in the publishing world has been changing recently, thank in large part to a few of A Dribble of Ink‘s good friends around the blogosphere.
From Kemp’s blog:
I’ve been writing professionally for nine years now, and, with the exception of a few short stories and my upcoming Star Wars novel, I’ve written almost everything in the shared, tie-in setting of the Forgotten Realms. Hence, I’ve been sensitive during these nine years to the claim — the conventional wisdom, really — that tie-in fiction sucks, or at least isn’t as good as non-tie-in fiction.
Once upon a time, the conventional wisdom went like this: All tie-in fiction sucks. Later, it became, Well, maybe these particular tie-in novels do not suck as hard as other tie-in, but they’re still tie-in. Still later, this became, Well, these tie-in novels don’t suck at all, and are just good pretty good books by any measure. Now, one of the blogger/review sites that I consider one of the opinion leaders (Fantasy Book Critic) is able to write, in a review of Shadowrealm, that “Paul S. Kemp’s ability to do this with ease and grace marks him as one of the best fantasy authors writing today….”
I’m grateful to FBC for such a great review, but I’m not sure that there was enough intellectual space in the reviewosphere for that sentence to have been written five years ago. I think the reviewer’s peers might have sneered at such a claim. I have little doubt that some still do, but many, perhaps even most, probably don’t. The conventional wisdom has changed so much that it’s not recognizable. It’s been elbowed so hard that it’s got a bunch of cracked ribs and a broken jaw. I’m glad of it, and hope its staggered ass is soon sent to the mat for good.
You can check out the whole article HERE.
With talk like this, it makes me even more regretful to have passed up on so many tie-in novels in the past. Coincidentally, I’ll be talking with Tobias Buckell about his latest novel (a tie-in in the Halo universe) sometime in the coming weeks.