Monday, October 25, 2010

15 classic science fiction and fantasy novels that publishers rejected

At io9, Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs came up with a list of well-known and beloved science fiction and fantasy novels that publishers didn't want to touch.

One novel on the list:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)

The number bandied around the internet is that 12 major publishers rejected the first Harry Potter book, before someone was willing to take a chance. Rowling recently told Oprah Winfrey,
My agent knows better than I do... It was a lot of people. A lot of people just sent it back, virtually by return post. It was like a boomerang. I did really believe in it. I just thought, This is a good story.... For some reason, I can even remember being quite pleased with the rejection letters. "F. Scott Fitzgerald got these. It's all part of being a writer!"
One publisher held onto it for six months before finally rejecting it — and then when Bloomsbury decided to take it on, this other publisher suddenly decided they wanted it too. But Rowling decided that she should go with the publisher that wanted the book right away, rather than the one that kept her waiting and then turned her down. According to the BBC, the entire series has sold more than 400 million books worldwide.
Read about another book on the list.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone also appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best scars in fiction and ten of the best motorbikes in literature, Justin Scroggie's top ten list of books with secret signs.

Also see: Ten classic SF books that were originally considered failures.

--Marshal Zeringue