Kevin's Watch Forum Index
 HomeHome   MemberlistMemberlist   RegisterRegister   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   FAQFAQ   StatisticsStatistics  SudokuSudoku   Phoogle MapPhoogle Map 
 AlbumAlbum StoresStores   StoresItems Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Fantasy and science fiction as "literature"
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> General Fantasy/Sci-Fi Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Fantasy and science fiction as "literature" Reply with quote

It's pretty easily proven that fantasy and science fiction are not regarded as very "literary." Most literary journals (The Journal of Modern Literature, The New York Review of Books, and The London Review of Books, for example) never review modern fantasy/science fiction. Classic works, like Thomas Covenant, are rarely included or noted in journals or retrospective studies either. Try writing a paper on a fantasy/science fiction novel and looking for scholarly research. It's difficult; not impossible, but very difficult. Even most popular book reviewers (Washington Post Book World, New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Times Literary Supplement), in my view, tend to view FSF as kind of esoteric, rather lesser than contemporary "high" literature. FSF writers never win major literary prizes (the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, the Booker, the Nobel). And if they have, I don't know of them off the top of my head and they are very rare exceptions indeed.

Why is this?
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
The Dreaming
21st Century Schizoid Man

Male
Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 1921

Thanks: 1
Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts

Location: Louisville KY
6650 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Free Lunch


PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snobbery at it's worse. These Genre are still fairly new to the literary stage (high fantasy essentially being created by LOTR and Sci-fi by the pulp magazines). Anything new is feared by the old, it's that simple. The academic elite in the 50s and 60s got their degrees before these genres existed, and naturally think they already knew everything there was to know as of 1940. Finally, I think a lot of the snobbery is breaking, and they are on the verge of being accepted as legitimate literature, just like graphic novels.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Phoogle Map
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with that answer is that plenty of contemporary writers are lauded by critics. Literary critics, theorists, and reviewers aren't stuck in their own days as students. They've been able to recognize plenty of poets and novelists of this generation who haven't been in line with previous norms. The answer must lie somewhere else.
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Holsety
Full of Hot Air

MaleRanyhyn
Joined: 21 May 2006
Posts: 3386

Thanks: 90
Thanked 22 Times in 21 Posts

Location: Principality of Sealand
1221 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Member of Linden's Army1 Captains Fancy1 Lord Mhoram's Victory


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as writing papers go, one can show a line of influence, or at least comparison, between a relatively old work and a relatively new one, and use the many writings on the former as a sort of reference for both. I managed to do so with the Malazan books and Spenser's Fairie Queene; I believe I got at least a B on the final, but I haven't seen the paper. Such initiative should probably only be taken if one has sufficient time to study the work which has undergone the scrutiny of "the experts," and build a theme that can be used to compare the works. I don't think I was particularly successful in my attempt, actually Sad
Quote:
The problem with that answer is that plenty of contemporary writers are lauded by critics. Literary critics, theorists, and reviewers aren't stuck in their own days as students. They've been able to recognize plenty of poets and novelists of this generation who haven't been in line with previous norms. The answer must lie somewhere else.

Even if the poets aren't "in line" with previous norms, they may be very sharply responding to it. For instance, Paradise Lost may not have very much in common with the tradition of sonnets Milton was writing against, but On Shakespeare and the preface to Paradise Lost give us a better idea of his relation to preceding poets.

Admittedly On Shakespeare is, IIRC, a decade or two older than Paradise Lost so it's somewhat disingenuous to present it as a primary reason for Milton writing PL. Still, he continues to deride rhyme as serious in PL's opening and for that reason it's not too much of a leap to conclude that the poem held true for milton years after he first wrote it.

Anyway, as I see it the tradition of fantasy is somewhat estranged from the recent tradition of "higher literature" in the US, and this makes it difficult for someone within that tradition to respond easily. Though there certainly are precursors in that "high tradition" which are still read in public schools today, from The Iliad to Frankenstein (more sci-fi).

I'm trying to put together some reasons but I'm having trouble doing it in a way that makes sense...
_________________
I ship Covenant X Mhoram: unbeliever be true to the bromance 4ever.

Rostov pondered and went precisely in the direction in which he was told he would be killed.
(⌐ Cool _ Cool )
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Worm of Despite
Banned

Male
Joined: 26 Oct 2002
Posts: 9546

Thanks: 4
Thanked 25 Times in 22 Posts

Location: Rome, GA
11943 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
2 Foul Duck1 Furls Fire


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Mhoram wrote:
The problem with that answer is that plenty of contemporary writers are lauded by critics. Literary critics, theorists, and reviewers aren't stuck in their own days as students.


Those aren't the same people who select the literary canon in college (such as the editors of the Norton Anthology). I figure the professors are used to teaching a set series of works, only deviating when it's a special class (such as a class focused on sci-fi novels). World Lit. classes, for example, are going to focus on a wide range of stories from Western society, and Eng. Lit. classes will almost always be British literature.

Problem is, if you suddenly insert a sci-fi book in your Brit. lit. class, even if it's a British author, you're not giving your students anything for a prospective career. It won't be taught in graduate schools, you won't be expected to use if you teach your classes, and most of all, if you're a PhD, your school is not paying you to write an essay about Ender's Game. They'd much rather hear you talk about what you're getting paid for, such as Grey's Elegy or Gothic fiction, etc.

It's like trying to introduce solar cars into a world of gas-based cars. Unless everybody is using them, and it's financially viable, then okay, but you're going to have to prove that to a lot of people (and when it comes to that many people, sometimes the results aren't based on knowledge but a fear of change).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holstey,
Quote:
Anyway, as I see it the tradition of fantasy is somewhat estranged from the recent tradition of "higher literature" in the US, and this makes it difficult for someone within that tradition to respond easily.

I don't think I agree. Literary historians can trace fantasy/science fiction back many centuries, including mainstream, critically acclaimed British authors of the not-so-distant literary past like Mary Shelley or HG Wells. Fantasy/science fiction didn't come out of a vacuum by any means. Literary critics are intimately familiar with, say, Shelley's Frankenstein. Why aren't they so familiar with "A Song of Ice and Fire"?

Lord Foul,
Quote:
Those aren't the same people who select the literary canon in college (such as the editors of the Norton Anthology).

I'm not sure what you mean. All editors of Norton are literary critics.
Quote:
Problem is, if you suddenly insert a sci-fi book in your Brit. lit. class, even if it's a British author, you're not giving your students anything for a prospective career. It won't be taught in graduate schools, you won't be expected to use if you teach your classes, and most of all, if you're a PhD, your school is not paying you to write an essay about Ender's Game. They'd much rather hear you talk about what you're getting paid for, such as Grey's Elegy or Gothic fiction, etc.

Indeed. Why is this, though? Take Ender's Game which you mentioned, published in the mid-1980s, landmark science fiction novel, acclaimed as a classic within the genre, winner of the Hugo Award. Like you said, you wouldn't be taken seriously at all if you wrote about it as a professional student of literature. But if you wrote about a book by, say, John Updike, from the same period, it'd be a different story.

Is it a question of literary merit, then?
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Worm of Despite
Banned

Male
Joined: 26 Oct 2002
Posts: 9546

Thanks: 4
Thanked 25 Times in 22 Posts

Location: Rome, GA
11943 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
2 Foul Duck1 Furls Fire


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mhoram wrote:
Lord Foul,
Quote:
Those aren't the same people who select the literary canon in college (such as the editors of the Norton Anthology).

I'm not sure what you mean. All editors of Norton are literary critics.


Not sure really who all composes Norton, as it changes, but I'm very aware that many of them have worked at colleges or still do. They're going to cover what colleges need for their classrooms. Unless all the classes across the country (or a great majority) ask for sci-fi entries, it won't happen.

As for critics: even if they are, many are college teachers and operate within those parameters. And a great deal of the critics, theorists, and other groups who praise sci-fi are often free-lance or work for a magazine or the news.

Lord Mhoram wrote:

Quote:
Problem is, if you suddenly insert a sci-fi book in your Brit. lit. class, even if it's a British author, you're not giving your students anything for a prospective career. It won't be taught in graduate schools, you won't be expected to use if you teach your classes, and most of all, if you're a PhD, your school is not paying you to write an essay about Ender's Game. They'd much rather hear you talk about what you're getting paid for, such as Grey's Elegy or Gothic fiction, etc.

Indeed. Why is this, though? Take Ender's Game which you mentioned, published in the mid-1980s, landmark science fiction novel, acclaimed as a classic within the genre, winner of the Hugo Award. Like you said, you wouldn't be taken seriously at all if you wrote about it as a professional student of literature. But if you wrote about a book by, say, John Updike, from the same period, it'd be a different story.

Is it a question of literary merit, then?


I think the literary merit of SF writers like Philip K. Dick is parallel or beyond many of the accepted authors in colleges. I'm very sure that professors love covering classic literature, because if you go in for a job like that, you're going to be a literature nut (one of my professors loves Southern literature, another Gothic, and another something so specific I forget what the genre is called). So that's part of it, but I think the second part (and maybe bigger part) is the logistical problems of getting sci-fi integrated in every classroom syllabus.

Sci-fi may one day be introduced into the curriculum, but I picture a few lauded works introduced, very gradually.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Menolly
Gravin Threndor, how I love thee.

FemaleRanyhyn
Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 22524

Thanks: 32
Thanked 77 Times in 77 Posts

Location: Harper Hall, Fort Hold, Northern Continent, Pern...
145501 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Pantheon Veteran1 2008 Watcher of the Year1 Furls Fire


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Foul wrote:
Sci-fi may one day be introduced into the curriculum, but I picture a few lauded works introduced, very gradually.


Perhaps more campuses will start offering courses similar to CLA3930 at UF's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger Phoogle Map
duchess of malfi
Mother of Dragons, Slayer of Lies

Female
Joined: 15 Oct 2002
Posts: 11104

Thanks: 37
Thanked 31 Times in 28 Posts

Location: Michigan, USA
8103 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Rubber Duck1 Foul Duck1 2007 Watchies


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, to begin with, there are various editions of The Norton Anthology of Science Fiction . This is used in college classrooms, as many universities and colleges do offer at least one class in science ficiton/fantasy in their literature departments.

Others offer classes specifically in Tolkien studies.

These are usually one more class than the same literature departments offer in non-American/non-British literature. Wink

At least one science fiction novel - The Road has won a Pulitzer Prize in very recent years.

What you guys say is a lack of respect towards science fiction and fantasy is actually a lack of respect for
all
genre ficiton.

For example - other than Edgar Allan Poe and Conan Doyle you will not see much detective fiction/mysteries being taught/discussed. Other than Jane Austen and the Brontes you will not see much from the romance genre. Other than Frankenstein and maybe Dracula and maybe Poe you're not going to run into much from the horror genre. Forget about westerns and/or action adventure stuff, too!

With science fiction/fantasy you might run into 1984, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, Tolkien, Beowulf, various King Arthur stories, Midsummer Night's Dream, McBeth, and The Tempest among others.

I would actually say that science fiction/fantasy gets more respect than some other genres. Confused [/i]
_________________
Love as thou wilt.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
aliantha
18k or bust!

Female
Joined: 05 Mar 2002
Posts: 17525

Thanks: 27
Thanked 72 Times in 71 Posts

Location: Arlington, VA
13522 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Aliantha Berries1 Andelain1 SRD's Green Rock


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

duchess of malfi wrote:
What you guys say is a lack of respect towards science fiction and fantasy is actually a lack of respect for
all genre fiction.

What she said.

<ali edges toward her soapbox> Oh, what the heck. <climbs aboard>

I've said here before, and I still believe it's true, that "magic realism" is fantasy written in a language other than English. We read "The House of the Spirits" when I was in grad school. It's a pretty good novel. But c'mon, it's a ghost story! Why were we reading it in a graduate-level literature course? Because she's a woman and she wrote the book in Spanish. It's okay for us to take foreign writers to put fantastic elements in their books seriously, because, y'know, they're already kind of exotic and fantastical. And it didn't hurt that she's a she, so the reading list looked a little more diverse by including her on it.

Same deal with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is a master of magic realism -- head and shoulders, as a writer, above Isabel Allende, imho. Basically, he writes fantasy, but in Spanish, so the lit crit snobs can call it magic realism. Jorge Luis Borges also wrote fantasy, essentially.

Toni Morrison's "Beloved" is another fantasy novel that has made it into the mainstream. Yeah, yeah, it's allegory. Sure, whatever. Rolling Eyes

So the lit crit crowd will accept *some* fantasy, as long as they can give it the high-falutin' "magic realism" label. Well-written stories with obvious fantasy settings or characters need not apply.

In terms of sci-fi making the "literary" crossover, Duchess mentioned "1984" and "Brave New World" as sci-fi that has some respect from the critics; I'd also include "Farenheit 451" on that list. Dystopian novels play well in general. Stuff set on distant planets, however, is too obviously genre-specific to make the cut.

It's frustrating because there's a lot of good stuff out there that really ought to be getting more respect from the literary establishment (Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" springs to mind). Maybe someday it will.
_________________



EZ Board Survivor

"Dreaming isn't good for you unless you do the things it tells you to." -- Three Dog Night (via the GI)

http://www.hearth-myth.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Foul,
Quote:
Sci-fi may one day be introduced into the curriculum, but I picture a few lauded works introduced, very gradually.

I would hazard to say that only a very few works of FSF even deserve to be in a university curriculum.

duchess,

All points well taken. (Especially The Road. Good call.) But I guess my question still remains: why is FSF, and a lot of genre fiction in general, treated as less than literary?

aliantha,

Perhaps. I have read some magic realism, though, and what I've read (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie) has been (a) of a way higher literary quality than the vast majority of fantasy, and (b) demonstrably different from (most) FSF in that the fictional setting is still the "real world"; the magical elements are imported into a "real" setting. There is no creation of a different universe. I think this is a very important distinction. It may seem like a trivial one, but when we're defining genres, we might as well be exact about it.
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
aliantha
18k or bust!

Female
Joined: 05 Mar 2002
Posts: 17525

Thanks: 27
Thanked 72 Times in 71 Posts

Location: Arlington, VA
13522 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Aliantha Berries1 Andelain1 SRD's Green Rock


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Mhoram wrote:
aliantha,

Perhaps. I have read some magic realism, though, and what I've read (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie) has been (a) of a way higher literary quality than the vast majority of fantasy, and (b) demonstrably different from (most) FSF in that the fictional setting is still the "real world"; the magical elements are imported into a "real" setting. There is no creation of a different universe. I think this is a very important distinction. It may seem like a trivial one, but when we're defining genres, we might as well be exact about it.

Well, sure. But there are similar real-world fantasy writers out there -- Graham Joyce is one that springs immediately to mind. Also Neil Gaiman, come to that ("American Gods" and "Anansi Boys" are both set in modern-day America).

And I agree that Garcia Marquez and Rushdie are way higher in literary quality than most. But Allende's not, and yet she writes magic realism too. And of course there's a fair amount of traditional "literature" out there that's crap, too.
_________________



EZ Board Survivor

"Dreaming isn't good for you unless you do the things it tells you to." -- Three Dog Night (via the GI)

http://www.hearth-myth.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
The Dreaming
21st Century Schizoid Man

Male
Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 1921

Thanks: 1
Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts

Location: Louisville KY
6650 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Free Lunch


PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even younger academia all grew up in a world where fantasy and science fiction are "base" genre. The college reading curriculum hasn't changed in probably 70 or 80 years. It's going to take longer for that for new media to become accepted by all of society. Good old fashioned neophobia goes all the way back to Homer for god's sake. Many Greeks considered it blasphemous to write down the great oral traditions. The Novel was seen as a trashy and base literary format for centuries. (all the greats were writing epic poetry) Try and tell a modern literature professor that poetry is a dead medium... (It pretty much is)

It's a good way of seeing what media are dead and what are still vibrant, look how up their own asses the visual artists are these days. I certainly hope the novel isn't dying, but signs point to it. It's *us* that make it a living, important medium, not the academia. King knows that, Donaldson knows it, Erickson knows it, so does any author who actually gives a S**t about their readers.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Phoogle Map
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dreaming,
Quote:
Even younger academia all grew up in a world where fantasy and science fiction are "base" genre.

I realize that. I mean, I'm growing up now and that's what I'm seeing. I'm just trying to figure out why this is.
Quote:
The college reading curriculum hasn't changed in probably 70 or 80 years.

Of course it has.
Quote:
Good old fashioned neophobia goes all the way back to Homer for god's sake. Many Greeks considered it blasphemous to write down the great oral traditions. The Novel was seen as a trashy and base literary format for centuries. (all the greats were writing epic poetry)

Very true, but (a) FSF is part of a long literary tradition as I noted upthread, nothing new about it, and (b) there's nothing revolutionary about it. It's not a new medium. It's still literature...it's just not "literary."
Quote:
Try and tell a modern literature professor that poetry is a dead medium... (It pretty much is)

It's a changed medium, not a dead one. IMO.
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
The Dreaming
21st Century Schizoid Man

Male
Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 1921

Thanks: 1
Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts

Location: Louisville KY
6650 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Free Lunch


PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't really say that fantasy was a genre distinct from the rest of literature untill Tolkein. I wouldn't say that SF was distinct until the pulps in the 30s. Just look at how many SF writers get away with being praised because they are "speculative fiction writers" like Vonnegut or Orwell. (You never find him in the SF section of Barnes and Noble for some reason) Is Lewis Carell in the Fantasy section or the literature section?
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Phoogle Map
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dreaming,
Quote:
I wouldn't really say that fantasy was a genre distinct from the rest of literature untill Tolkein.

I definitely agree with that. FSF now is esoteric. That may be hitting on the core of my question.
Quote:
Just look at how many SF writers get away with being praised because they are "speculative fiction writers" like Vonnegut or Orwell.

Neither Vonnegut nor Orwell is a "science fiction writer" in the same way science fiction writers are today. It's an enclosed genre now. Those writers were novelists (and essayists) in a much broader sense.
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
The Dreaming
21st Century Schizoid Man

Male
Joined: 04 Oct 2004
Posts: 1921

Thanks: 1
Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts

Location: Louisville KY
6650 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Free Lunch


PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's face it. Speculative Fiction is just a less geeky way of saying Science Fiction. The difference is a farcical fabrication. I don't know whether Vonnegut considers himself *above* other writers like Asimov or Heinlenn, if he did he would be worthy of ridicule. I don't think he's even as good a novelist as Dick, who is firmly entrenched in SF for some reason.

Are you really going to tell me that a Vonnegut Novel and a Dick Novel are two categorically different classes of literature?

It's a distinction fabricated by Academia (who also associate with and teach literary critics) and Publishers (who will market a book however they think they can sell units)

In fact, I think Genre itself is something people can be kind of snobbish about.

I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir for the most part. I'm willing to bet most of us here are embattled FSF readers.
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Phoogle Map
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dreaming,
Quote:
Let's face it. Speculative Fiction is just a less geeky way of saying Science Fiction. The difference is a farcical fabrication.

How so?
Quote:
Are you really going to tell me that a Vonnegut Novel and a Dick Novel are two categorically different classes of literature?

If I may I'd like to reframe your question a little more broadly. Yes, what I'm saying is that Vonnegut is in a categorically different class of literature than mere science fiction. His was a much broader scope than the parameters of the genre allow for.
Quote:
I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir for the most part.

For the most part. But not to me. I don't sympathize with FSF readers' moanings that their genre is not accepted by the literary community, because I don't think most of it deserves to be in the first place.
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
wayfriend
whilom witling

Male
Joined: 21 Apr 2004
Posts: 18113

Thanks: 11
Thanked 177 Times in 164 Posts

Location: The world of the Bowling Green Massacre
40229 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:


PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple points I'll add.

First, most genres are still filled with mostly crap and mediocrity. If you're mining for gold, you're not going to look where the gold is scarce, right? So the genre doesn't attract literary critics and literary scholars who would give new works any attention - they're all mining more promising veins. And they're not developing any sensitivities for the genre's content. So even if something wonderful emerges, no one of any caliber is around to notice.

Second, the inherent nature of genre fiction is that they share many of the same qualities as blockbuster movies. That is, they are entertaining without necessarilly demonstrating any literary skill. Other skills, sure. But demonstrating depth in science, or knowing how an armada of spaceships would attack a death star, or coming up with novel ways for people to slice each other up with a sword is not literary skill, sorry. Most of what's pleasing to genre readers comes along these lines, and they tend to over inflate the greatness of genre works because of it. Like it or not, as cool as giant spice-producing worms are, there's nothing that makes them good literature. Contrast this with mainstream novels, which have nothing to sell except being good literature. These guys live and breath literature in ways that only exceptional genre novels dream of.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Lord Mhoram
Boston Brahmin

Male
Joined: 08 Jul 2002
Posts: 9512

Thanks: 2
Thanked 17 Times in 17 Posts

Location: Boston USA
2131 White Gold Dollars
Tokens
HP

User Items:
1 Lord Mhoram's Victory1 Revelstone


PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thoroughly agree, particularly with the second point
_________________
"All my life I have sneered at the natural rights of man." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Phoogle Map
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Kevin's Watch Forum Index -> General Fantasy/Sci-Fi Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 1 of 4

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by Earthpower © Kevin's Watch