How science fiction, fantasy, romance, mysteries and all the rest will take over the world
This post is by way of a reply to Arthur Krystal’s “Easy Writers,” a thoroughly thought-provoking piece about the relationship between genre fiction and literary fiction that ran in the New Yorker this week. I was happy to see the New Yorker weighing in on this, because I think it’s an important part of what’s going on in fiction right now. I think about it a lot. So naturally if anybody says anything about it anywhere, the world urgently requires my response.
[I want to be clear, by the way, that this is a response in the sense of a (probably one-sided) critical conversation. There’s been some umbrage in the genre world about this piece, but my feeling is, we’re all readers in good faith here, and this isn’t going to be one of those pieces where I accuse somebody of “not getting it” and so on. Krystal’s piece is smart, serious and highly literate, and I disagreed with it in places, and I truly admired it in others. But either way it didn’t piss me off.]
What Krystal does in “Easy Writers” is introduce the idea that the distinction between genre fiction and literary fiction has, of late, gotten less clear. “Writers we once thought of as guilty pleasures,” he says, “are being granted literary status.” Which is true. The likes of Chandler, Hammett, (Edgar Rice) Burroughs, Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick have been admitted to the Library of America. Stephen King has been recognized by the National Book Foundation. Fish are roosting in the trees, all is topsy turvy, etc.
Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/05/23/genre-fiction-is-disruptive-technology/#ixzz1wBnzvlH6