Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Genre gurgling.

Alright, so I've been talking about genre lately. Thinking about it, always thinking about it. I mentioned a big part of the problem: the self reinforcing feedback loop! I like books about wizards, I go to the sci-fi section, even though One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is essentially a story about the family descending from a alchemist patriarch. Yeah, Gabriel García Márquez writes a lot of stories that are basically about magicians-- it was Gene Wolfe who said "Magical Realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish." So, even if you like lightsabers (who doesn't?) & Jedi (or Sith, if you are like me), you end up in the Sci-Fi section-- even though there is no guarantee that Star Wars Expanded Universe novels are going to be any good-- odds might be that they aren't! It isn't just "elitist" snobs who are keeping genre on the sidelines-- it is the actions of genre readers themselves. Hey, colour me guilty-- I'm way less likely to read fiction about...I don't know, what is popular fiction about? Menchildren who can't reconcile art & responsibility? Then again, what is Fantasy about anymore? Semi-offensive caricatures of gender relationships? See-- lose/lose. You have to find the good stuff, fringe or otherwise. You've got to tilt your head & think about how Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World is basically a Phillip K. Dick novel. Nicola Griffith has talked about this at length-- she's in the thick of it! Her novels run the gamut from the rather "Hard" SF novel Ammonite to the Noir(ish) series starting with The Blue Place & continuing into Stay & Always-- stopping along the way to write the Cyberpunk Slow River & edit a bunch of Gay & Lesbian Fiction anthologies. Currently she's working on a bit of historical fiction. So where do you shelve her? I guess the answer is-- wherever the hell you want.

5 comments:

Alicia said...

Manchilds, not Menchildren.

mordicai said...

Cite needed!

mordicai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

"Manchilds, not Menchildren."

That's not how you decline child! Which, what the hell vanishing "-ren" declension, go away! You haven't been a real category since before even when the Englisc was Eald!

mordicai said...

Menschildress?

Werechilds?