John Berlyne

Essentially I’m a sucker for a good old plot-driven narrative. To break this down further, I like books in which things happen to people (or monsters, or aliens or whatever) – in which a character is faced with a problem and in which the meat of the novel is about them solving that problem. For me, good fiction is about forward momentum and the plot is the engine that should drive a story onwards. There are infinite variations and riffs on this classic approach and seeing them reinvented time and again is one of the great pleasures of reading.

I’ll happily consider all kinds of fantasy and SF – but anodyne Tolkien derivatives will be given short shrift and I can spot ‘em a mile off!  I like cool monsters and heavy magic and I like books in which magic seeps into contemporary life. Neil Gaiman does this kind of thing beautifully but please don’t send me Gaiman derivatives either – be inspired by brilliant writers, but don’t try to replicate their work.

I’ll read Urban Fantasy, but note that I’m not the ideal target demographic for this kind of stuff so I’m only looking for the highest quality material. Given the level of competition, anything less than exceptional will be bounced back to you. I’ll gladly read YA stuff but do note that it’s really not an area I tend to represent, so the chances of me being the right agent for a YA book are slim. That said, if you can ignite my sense of wonder, lost so long ago, buried beneath a black mountain of cynicism, then I’ll get the drinks in! And I’ll read space operahorror, and thrillers and crime and historical fiction and combinations of all of the above – surprise me! And if it helps you further to target your submission, don’t send me political treatise disguised as fiction, or anything too whimsical or stuff that purports to be funny but isn’t. And read our submission guidelines!

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Twitter: @jberlyne


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