These things have a way of sneaking up on you!  The essay was actually published on Thursday, February 9, as advertised last week (cf. February 4), but in the circuitous way of the internet at times, word finally only caught up with me last night.  So it goes.

The essay, anyway, pertains to my upcoming novel, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, but is actually about novel structure.  That is, TOMBS isn’t structured like a majority of novels, as pretty much a continuous narrative, but rather is what is sometimes called a mosaic novel or a novel-in-stories.  Say what?   That is, like Amy Tan’s THE JOY LUCK CLUB or Ray Bradbury’s THE 8451b32b-e3c4-41cb-8f3e-7c6834708f13MARTIAN CHRONICLES.  Or what about Bradbury’s THE ILLUSTRATED MAN?  Or John Dos Passos’s U.S.A. trilogy.  Novels pieced together from parts, the parts sometimes short stories in their own right — but not necessarily always.  And anyhow why do it that way at all?

Well, now we have an answer, courtesy of blogger Heidi Angell who, as of Thursday, has published my “What Is a Novel in Stories” as a guest blog.  And did it really start with Edgar Allan Poe?

To find out, press here.


  1. I enjoyed your in depth guest essay, Jim. I loved Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles — should be on a Required Reading List for ages 14 to 94!

  2. Agreed (though quaintly dated by now, unless they’ve come out with even more editions pushing the dates forward — still though, a classic)!

    • Quaintly dated? You mean you don’t believe in the ghosts of Martian cities –the communion of their peoples? What?? Just because that little rover thing can’t find them doesn’t mean a thing. 😀

  3. No, I mean the chronology in my copy (SF Book Club, but I believe the first edition text) has the first manned landing in 1999. I think there was a second edition, with two or three changes in stories too, that moved the dates back 20 or 30 years, but as of now, if we actually have a manned landing ten years from now, which might be possible though I’d consider it wildly optimistic, it would already be a year after the original’s ending “The Million-Year Picnic.” (Though, well, we do have the Rover at least which was neat when it first landed, with TV coverage projected on a movie screen at an SF convention I happened to be at.

    (For what it’s worth, I recall conversations comparing the Houston, Cape Canaveral, etc. scenes with their equivalent from the moon landing era, noting how it wasn’t all short haired white men any more, so things have changed in some ways. 😉 )

  4. I wonder what Bradbury, Sturgeon, Asimov, and many another great mind would say …

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