Posts Tagged: genre fiction
Writing for the Guardian, novelist Val McDermid disputes the recent study which suggests that “literary” fiction readers are more empathetic than “genre” readers:
There is no doubt that, historically, there was a valid distinction. Nobody would attempt to suggest that there is an equivalence between Agatha Christie and Virginia Woolf.
At the Guardian, Alison Flood wonders whether or not genre writing, particularly romance writing, is primarily “rubbish.” In her investigation, she points out how assumptions are often made about the “surface” elements of genre works and cites literary novels that have used the conventions of genre while maintaining their literariness....more
Like a detective novel, these books are characterized by a central mystery and the process of detection that leads to solving that mystery. The mystery, however, is not a crime—it’s a life. A person, usually only tangentially related to the subject (the latter is often deceased), becomes engrossed in the discovery of this person’s life, and in the best of the genre we also discover more about the detective’s self along the way.
Fiction has always evoked pictures and provoked ideas and sounds in my mind. James Baldwin, who was a powerful writer of fiction and non-fiction was a haunted witness of American dysfunction.
Serial novels are nothing new, especially in genre fiction designed to keep readers shelling out money for the next phase of a story. But the sudden, rapid success of fantasy genre series like George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones and the adaptation of Tolkien’s hobbit epics to the big screen has meant publishers want to cash in on the double-XL titles....more
Over at Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth shares a fantastic long form piece on the rise of the Harlequin romance novel, and how the brand became synonymous with a wildly lucrative if critically dismissed genre. From the original formula for woman-centered, alpha-male page turners to Harlequin’s relentless advertising tactics to the question of exactly how much sex sells best, Faircloth presents a sociological study....more
Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel The Buried Giant has reignited debates about genre fiction following Ishiguro’s implication that the work isn’t fantasy. The author has since clarified which side he’s really on. Meanwhile, Flavorwire‘s Jonathon Sturgeon defends Ishiguro’s right to call the book whatever he wants:
To use some of Le Guin’s own logic: we still live under capitalism, and the concept of genre is still tied to marketing.
Kazuo Ishiguro insists his new novel, The Buried Giant, is not a fantasy novel. Laura Miller at Salon agrees. Ursula K. Le Guin does not (and is a little insulted). David Barnett at The Guardian doesn’t care either way and instead sees Ishiguro’s novel as an opportunity:
Why not throw open the gates, tear down the walls, and when literary authors appropriate the tropes of genre, see it not as an insult but as a good thing, something that potentially allows us to be evangelical about the books we love to a whole new audience?
At Flavorwire, Jonathan Sturgeon continues the “literary” and “genre” war, offering a new perspective grounded in the marketplace:
So what’s really going on here? Well, it isn’t the genre of prose that has literary novelists anxious. It’s the market status of genre novels.
Science fiction is a growing force on the Chinese literary landscape now that government scrutiny of the genre has loosened up, according to a recent article in the Times. The English publication of Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem, following the inclusion of several of the author’s stories in the prestigious People’s Literature journal in 2012, serve as evidence of a growing readership....more
At the Paris Review, Dwyer Murphy interviews David Gordon about transitioning from writing novels to stories, his time working for Hustler, and how he blends literary and genre fiction in his work:
I think that horror and sci-fi in particular are great generators of imagery, and genre produces great characters.
After years of anxious separation, people are finally relaxing about the literary/genre fiction divide. Over at Electric Literature, Tobias Carroll asks: now what?
We’re now well into a period where literary writers are able to balance their love for horror (or science fiction, or fantasy) with their craft, and fewer and fewer bat an eye…But now that we’ve gotten past that, there’s another question raised by fiction that falls into the realm of, for lack of a more graceful term, literary horror: how does it deal with our expectations of both of its literary forebears?
Laura Miller opines that male-authored crime novels are a bit too predictable. Instead…
I’ve found instead that the crime novels I open with the keenest anticipation these days are almost always by women. These are books that trespass the established boundaries of their genre, adding a dash — or more than a dash — of fabulism, or lingering over characters who used to serve as the mere furniture of the old-style hard-boiled fiction.
Before he became an acclaimed novelist and political commentator, Gore Vidal was just a guy trying to make ends meet. Under three different pseudonyms, Vidal wrote a romance novel, three mysteries, and a crime thriller. Now, over 50 years later, Thieves Fall Out, a pulp novel set during the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, is being re-issued, this time with Vidal’s name on the cover....more
One does not pass from lower to higher. On the contrary one might perfectly well fall from the higher to the lower, or simply read both, as many people eat both good food and junk food, the only problem being that the latter can be addictive; by constantly repeating the same gratifying formula (the litmus test of genre fiction) it stimulates and satisfies a craving for endless sameness, to the point that the reader can well end up spending all the time he has available for reading with exactly the same fare.
Often times readers dismiss graphic novels as too unrealistic to posses literary merit. That would be a mistake, argues Stefan A. Slater at The Airship, because reality isn’t inherently part of good story telling. Plenty of other fictional forms flaunt the rules of the naturalistic universe while retaining literary value, and graphic novels often contain strong narratives confronting contemporary issues:
A good story is meant to transport.
Science fiction has a hefty brilliance to contribute to the literary world, but people often scoff at it as light, genre fiction. The Atlantic explores why science fiction is just as, if not more, relevant than non-genre fiction.
Science fiction, I’ve always felt, is part of that fantastical tradition.
Previously, we blogged about Jennifer Weiner’s battle to shine the spotlight of literary respect on genre fiction written by women.
At Harper’s, Jesse Barron looks at Weiner’s campaigning from the angle of old media vs. new media rather than literary fiction vs....more