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To clarify my rant somewhat

I've scooped this from the previous thread's comments because I want to clarify my rant's stance for a variety of reasons.

Ran smack into that very attitude you describe here:

http://maisonneuve.org/blog/index.php?itemid=363

(It's not his assessment of PDK that annoys me, but his general attitude towards SF.)



While I can understand why this attitude irritates the person who posted the comment (and I confess that I skimmed the article because nothing is going to make me a big PKD fan); while the article in question is somewhat derogatory of SF in general; and while the author in question is a novelist, these things don't coincide in a way that combine to aggravate me. I may not agree with the text of the essay (although I would probably agree with more of it than I disagreed with), but it wasn't frothing, and it wasn't, imho, rabid. It was derogatory of SF in general, true.

This fails to irritate me, though.

To be a bit clearer:

1. I don't care if readers hate SF. Or Fantasy. Or Romance. Or Luna.

I certainly don't enjoy war novels, and couldn't be forced to read them at gunpoint, because my time is money.

If someone wants to hate Big Fat Fantasy and deride it endlessly, I don't care -- and I write it. Anyone who loudly decries the genre I work in is of no concern to me, because in the strict, mercenary, business sense of the word, they're not paying customers -- or rather, they're not mine; they'll never contribute to my career in any way, and their hatred amounts to indifference because the two have the same net effect in terms of moving my novels off the bookshelves and into reader hands. People who hate BFF (which is sometimes called Extruded Fantasy Product, but I don't think that's what I'm writing, hence the difference in terms) clearly loathe the genre I've put my heart into, but that's not a problem, because they've equally clearly stated that they're not my readers. Why should I waste tears or heart on people for whom I'll never be writing?

2. I don't care if critics don't take SF or Fantasy or Romance or Manga or (insert genre of your choice) seriously.

I truly don't care. Why? Because they're also not my paying customers. And the people who read and snicker with them are, by and large -- surprise! -- not my paying customers. They don't really influence my bottom line. Not with dollars and not with emotional response and these are the two coins that matter to me.

Reviewers & critics in genre already treat the genre with respect, and if they hate my book, that's a slightly different matter, although there aren't many who are both respected intellectually and are willing to say something good about Big Fat Fantasy Series <wry g>.

Greg Gatenby once said that by default he found SF writers to be so touchy about their status it was almost an accusation. (I told him that was a gross generalization as, in fact, I didn't give a "darn" what he thought of my writing as long as I was passionate about it, and he did laugh and acknowledge that it was perhaps a mild generalization).

3. Writers should not have contempt for their reading audience.

The only occasion in which 1. and 2. are not true, and I go slightly crazy (the definition of slightly can be argued by people who know me, but not safely <g>) are when they're attached to someone who then goes on to say they're going to write for the audience they have inadvertently expressed so much contempt for.

If you despise romance and can't read it, what on earth makes you think you'll be able to dash a quickie off and sell it? You don't believe in it. Likely, neither will anyone who reads what you've written.

If you despise "bestseller trash" but need to make a quick million? Win a lottery, because I think the chances are about the same.

There's a grey area in which someone who has literary credit is afraid to squander it openly, but that's an entirely different issue; that's cowardice, caused by economic and other factors. Cowardice is not today's topic <g>.

Comments

supergee
Aug. 18th, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC)
I will settle for passing along rivka's description of the article writer's problem: genre panic.