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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 07:23 pm:   

I read a lot of books, and I see a LOT more than that. Because of what I need to read, I spend a lot of time looking at various short fiction publications.

Over and over I keep seeing flashy, splashy mentions on covers and in publicity material of an introduction by so-and-so. I'm not trying to disparage anyone, but I've never actually bought a book because of an introduction or the introducer? Have you? I'd love to know. Is there any reason for publishers to cover perfectly nice cover art with a blandishment about intros, or is it a waste of time? Would you buy a book that you wouldn't ANYWAY, just because of the introducer? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 07:45 pm:   

I wouldn't buy a book because of the introducer that I wouldn't buy anyway, but I might be tempted to stop and look at the book and consider it more carefully if I haven't heard much about it and see what's up with it before summarily passing it over.

I've written one introduction, to Mary Rickert's new story collection, and I have to say, the experience of *writing* an introduction was really great, but perhaps only because of being able to publicly talk about a friend whose writing is wonderful as well as being a wonderful person herself. It's possible that having had this kind of thing happen might make me think twice about introductions and afterwords in the future. We'll see.
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006 - 05:05 am:   

i'd much rather see an intro by the author than by another author, but then i like all that surrounding author material stuff in collections.

however, like christopher, i'd maybe stop to look at an author i hadn't heard about if i had heard (and liked) the intro person. on the other hand, i have been turned off books for the same reason.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 08:21 am:   

I prefer collections to have introductions or afterwards. It's great lagniappe.

Authors who adorn their stories with extra verbiage - I'm thinking of recent collections by Howard Waldrop and Joe Haldeman - are always welcome. I'm grateful that they invest the time and energy to do that.

I'm also grateful when writers take the opportunity to honor their peers with an introduction. Recent examples: Michael Swanwick for Lucius Shepard and Ian R. MacLeod, Jeffrey Ford for Lucius Shepard, Lucius Shepard for Michael Bishop and Howard Waldrop. I find it oddly satisfying that many of my favorite writers are friends and fans of one another.

But, no, I wouldn't buy a book solely on an introduction or blurb. After forty odd years of collecting, I now rarely purchase books I don't feel I'll read and reread with increased pleasure, glowing intro or blurb notwithstanding.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 10:31 am:   

On a practical level, especially with electronic shopping, the name of the introducer provides another set of hits for the book. A fan looking fo more books by X discovers that she has done the introduction for a book by Y that the fan may not have known about and (who knows) may even want to buy.
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Solomon Gursky
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 09:26 am:   

I've bought anthologies (though usually not genre) or works of criticism for the introduction. When taken seriously, an introduction by another author can be a major piece of writing and thought on its own. In addition, many thinkers like Derrida were prone to put their pithiest comments in their introductions or prefaces.
If however, it's buying The Carpet Makers to read Card talk briefly about meeting the author at some European skiffy con then yes, I'll pass.

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