The Extrahuman Union

Archive for the ‘Broken’ Category

One of the things that caught both my publisher and I off-guard was that BROKEN started getting reviewed as a YA novel. I hadn’t written the book specifically for young adults, and I know we wondered (and are still wondering) just what it is about the book that makes some people class it as YA fiction. Part of the the reason might be the age of one of the protagonists: Michael Forward is 14. There is also a definite theme of growing up; Michael has to find a way to do the right thing despite facing his worst fears, and he doesn’t always succeed. Plus, BROKEN is relatively short, it clocks in at about 60,000 words (most non-YA SF/Fantasy seems to be longer, averaging around 100K, at least from what I’ve heard).

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s exactly the kind of story I would have loved when I was 14.

But does that make it YA? What does make something YA? I’m still not sure. I’ve found a couple of definitions here and there, but I haven’t found any of them satisfying. I think there are plenty of books which are easily identifiable as YA fiction, but there are plenty more that fall into this sort of gray area BROKEN is in. Is YA in some cases more about marketing than content (see: Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance for another very, very fine distinction that may just come down to which cover goes on the book)? Does the author’s intended audience matter? I have no objection to BROKEN being classed this way, for the record, but I do have to admit it wasn’t my thought when I was writing it.

I’m still mulling all this over. What do you think, folks who have read the book? Could it/should it be classed as YA? Does the label we give a book matter, except as a tool to reach new audiences?

It might not surprise you that there’s a lot of background stuff for the BROKEN universe that never made it into the book. I don’t subscribe to the idea that just because I’ve created a huge world with tons of background information you’ll be interested in hearing about every inch of it. But there are lots of extras, and from time to time I’ll probably post a few of them here.

One of the things I created is a handy reference chart for Extrahumans and their powers. Here it is, in memo form–the most evil, sinister form of all (click “fullscreen” to see everything more easily).

Don’t forget: you can buy BROKEN in electronic format for a mere $10 at the following locations:

One thing I’ve been wondering about lately is why we’re not seeing the huge level of online social media interaction that we have now crop up much in science fiction (unless it’s the STERN WARNING OF THINGS TO COME brand of science fiction). I think part of it is that the tech is so (relatively) new that authors aren’t sure how to incorporate it into existing worlds, and no one’s sure how pervasive this stuff will be in a few years.

I’m struggling with it, too. There isn’t any in BROKEN, except for passing references to people not using the internet because it’s basically bugged and unsafe for our characters.

And yet, I have to think that in a century, people will likely still be using social media of one sort or another. But what will it look like? A single service? Will there be FutureTwitter where people can send all kinds of quick easy messages all over the place? Will it be text-based? Video? Emotional? Smell-o-vision? Will people have devices that resemble all-in-one gadgets like the iPhone? If they don’t have this stuff, why?

I don’t have answers just yet, but I’m thinking about it.

This is a picture of Silverwyng (from BROKEN) that my friend Ben did a long time ago. He says he’s done a new one–I’ll post it when he sends it to me! But this is Silverwyng as she might have looked during her time with the Union. I love the expression on her face.


Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union

Hey! Welcome to the Extrahuman Union, home of Susan Jane Bigelow. Prepare to be stripped of all meaningful identity. While you're processing, check out more about me on the about page!

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BROKEN

Extrahuman Union #1

SKY RANGER

Extrahuman Union #2

THE SPARK

Extrahumans #3

THE DEMON GIRL’S SONG

YA LGBT epic fantasy!

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