At last weekend's San Diego State University Writers' Conference, I was surprised to find that several literary agents were not interested in my mystery novel because my protagonist is an artificial intelligence being.  (Some of the agents who handle mysteries were interested.)  I was surprised in part because Donna Andrews' mysteries involving the 'Artificial Intelligence Personality' Turing Hopper have been published by Berkeley Crime.  I am curious how readers of mysteries feel about a murder mystery where the protagonist is an AI.  Would you read such a book?  


John Mullen

Views: 141

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I wouldn't worry about the literary agents who aren't interested in your novel; it's the one who might be interested who you need to find.


In terms of readers, yes, you might have to cross over to the sci-fi/fantasy market.  But you don't need to worry about that right now.


Speaking of sci-fi and the detective genre, have you all read British author Richard K. Morgan?  ALTERED CARBON and the rest of his Takashi Kovacs series, set in the dystopian future, are quite wonderful.  I'd highly recommend that series to thriller lovers. 


Surprised to hear that you weren't more embraced at the SDSU conference -- San Diego, especially UC San Diego, promotes creativity in fantasy/sci-fi genre.


I don't know if you have any connection to Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in SD, but I'd cultivate a friendship with one of the booksellers there and see if they might be willing to take a read of your work-in-progress and give you some suggestions.

Thanks for the suggestion.  I had planned to ask the Mysterious Galaxy staff about sci-fi/mystery novels, but it hadn't occurred to me to ask one of them to take a look at my book.
Altered carbon is indeed and excellent book. I only dip my toe into sci-fi maybe twice a year or so but this was one of the better books I have read.


From your description of your novel, it's actually hard to determine whether it would be mystery or sf.


I read and enjoy a lot of different things. I do not box myself into a select genre because of certain expectations per se.  I might read a book or story along the lines of something you have described here. Now, what I will say is that your own description of your work has to be better. Presentation means a lot and right now you're not presenting properly to appeal to either my sf interests and my mystery side... I would suggest that any issue with your novel efforts might be more in your presentation and pitch, not the actual content.  It also seems you're trying to sell more of the gimmick than story.


SF writers I enjoy reading:

Dick, Gibson, Simmons


Just my .02

JD Robb (Nora Roberts) has been doing a mystery series set in the future (so S/F) for some years now and enjoyed a lot of sucess.

   Of course, she is Nora Roberts but even she started somewhere.  Go for it.

Thanks.  I will check out her books.
It seems to me that there are quite a few scifi/mystery books. I still remember reading Smart House: A Charlie and Constance Mystery by Kate Wilhelm. I also write in both genres, but when it came to writing one I did put it out as a science fiction book rather than a mystery. I might not be typical in reading across the genres, but if the protagonist is engaging and interesting then I'd read it.
Thanks for the tip about Kate Wilhelm's books.  

Human beings are still more interesting to me than robots.   Having said that, though, I have to admit that  the subject of AI is a  fascinating one in so many ways, and fiction does love to play with it.  Data was my favorite Star Trek character---I adored him, because he tried so hard to be a perfect human, and had in fact become human without actually realizing it.   It's just that if I'm looking for a mystery to read, I might  want a real human detective. But any fictional detective really "real?" :)

The contemporary detective (fictional AND  real)  now  relies very heavily indeed on the computer: to analyze all sorts of data, from profiling to forensics.  There's always someone clicking away at a computer to map out a killer's territory, or run a check on similar crimes. 


So, if it's well done, why couldn't an AI detective be a break-through sort of thing?  One might  even argue that Sherlock Holmes, with his lack of social skills and chilly  objectivity, could almost be said to be a  precursor to an "AI" character!, as much as he was to forensics in detective fiction.

And the much-lauded Lisbeth Salander was pretty damn close to an AI character---superhuman in so many ways, including awesome  brain power and physical prowess, the ability to survive, but with ZERO social/relationship skills.  You just need the right agent.

Readers want  suspense, and a way to "get into" the mind of a killer...maybe the total  objectivity of an AI would be refreshing. If the writing is really good....I'd read it!
I appreciate your openmindedness.  I hope I can write my story well enough to make it worth your reading.
Sounds an intriguing concept. I love genre crossing work. Remember, too, though, that Isaac Asimov wrote science fiction mystery stories. As have a number of other science fiction writers. Agents are interested only in stuff they know will sell, and since yours is an unknown quantity, Donna Andrews notwithstanding, they may just be being cautious.


CrimeSpace Google Search

© 2024   Created by Daniel Hatadi.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service