A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Friday, September 29, 2006

It totally counts

As blogging if I quote someone else, right? Via Matt, who used to be Blatantly Obvious, and now just sits at home and writes novels, a link to a speech Clive Barker gave on "genre" at FantasyCon 2006, which was mentioned at last night's Neil Gaiman/John Hodgman nerdfest (I jest, but I'm oh-so-very sad to have missed it). My favorite part:
I think we should cancel the word genre, I think we should throw the word genre out. We are not a genre, which suggests a small or perhaps even somewhat besieged condition -- we are a continent and, actually most of the smaller things which came along afterwards like naturalism, realism, these things are a mere 200 years old, to pick up Ramsey's word, they are striplings. How long has naturalistic fiction been around -- maybe 300 years?

We are in a tradition which began, we may assume, around campfires as stories were told and gods were made and goddesses were worshipped and the fundamentals, the primal concerns of human beings, were laid out. Fuck genre -- this isn't about genre, this is about the fact that we are writing and painting and making in film form expressions of the profoundest issues of the human heart!
Go read the whole thing, and then, if you're looking for more to read, go read John Hodgman's blog. You'll thank me.

As for me, I'm heading out tonight to Astoria to try to sneak up on Costas again, and have dinner (and eyebrow plucking) with Famous Author Friend MJ. Tomorrow I attempt to pack... then unpack when I realize there's NO WAY I will fit everything into my bags, then repack again.

Oh, and watch Ugly Betty. Apparently, it's pretty good.

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Blogger ***Dave Hill said...

"Genre" made a certain measure of sense when, say, sf/fantasy books were hard to find as hen's teeth, except in large book stores.

But nowadays, I can wander into my local Safeway, or a "news stand" at the airport, and find plenty of sf/fantasy books, should I choose (and I occasionally do). The genre ghetto has been broken.

I do have to say I do appreciate the segregation by standard "genres" -- sf/fantasy, mystery, etc. -- to help me zero on on what I'm looking for. I dread "fiction" sections (hmmmm, isn't "fiction" just a genre?), since the ratio of "stuff I want to read" vs "stuff I have no interest in reading" drops from 1:50 to 1:500.

Use of genre as a demeaning or ghettoizing term is passe. Maybe we need a better term, less laden, to replace it. But used as a classification description -- even though there are some books that cross those classifications (and, hey, should be available in all the groups they belong!), it's still useful to the consumer.

9/30/2006 1:04 PM


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