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Are You Tired of Genre Definition Debates?

If you really want to kill SF as a genre, go right ahead and tell people what is and what isn’t really SF, and don’t forget to exclude people whose work borrows from and expands on the central themes and tropes of the genre simply because they forgot to include a heroic narrative or some other tick mark that meets the approval of the Guardians of the True Quill.


--Paul McAuley.

What a cool little quote, hey? I dig that. So, there's the link. McAuley doesn't actually say much in the post, just sort of says, 'You're all idiots,' but that's okay some of the time. Strange about the copyright notice in his biography information, though.

Comments

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ataxi
Oct. 17th, 2006 05:06 am (UTC)
I've heard of navel-gazing, but I've never seen someone actually stuff their own head into their navel.

Honestly anyone who thinks they can reduce the purpose of any sort of fiction (heck - why not literature, or art altogether?) to a single verb, whether it be "entertain" or "subvert" or "sell" or "teach" - is smoking crack. The Asimov's article was pure trash but the responses seemed almost as flawed.
benpeek
Oct. 17th, 2006 05:45 am (UTC)
yeah, i didn't make it through a lot of the rush article. but there are lots of people who try to reduce things down to one of those. i used to find the conversations interesting, but now, i think i've just burnt out on them. ultimately, who cares?

and really, everything is so blurry it doesn't matter.
ataxi
Oct. 17th, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
People blogging about books from within the industry (as writers, publishers, editors, whatever) always have an ulterior motive, or a vice they need to justify. "I don't read very many novels, and when I do they're pure escapist trash - oh and I watch a lot of crap TV and write tie-ins" are the sins Rush needs to justify. She's ashamed of them, and consequently overcompensates by bitchslapping the sfnal cultural elite that have left her feeling that way, as conveniently corralled by the term New Wave.

It's amazing how much of the fluff around recent quasi-literary fantasy / sf / whatever is of New Wave Icon origin. Moorcock endorses right left and centre on the fantasy side. See his foreword to City of Saints and Madmen for a great example. I'm a big Moorcock fan (with the usual qualifications) but his eagerness to claim writers like Miéville, Vandermeer and Bishop as part of a direct lineage from himself and other New Worlds writers up to the present day is slightly amusing. He wants to be the Capo of Capos - the Antitolkien - when it comes to that patch of the literary turf. I don't know if Moorcock has ever even written anything of the overall quality of The Etched City, which is, IMO, a bloody great novel.
benpeek
Oct. 18th, 2006 02:47 am (UTC)
i don't really know enough about moorcock or the new wave thing to debate it. the whole thing was over and done with before i was even interested in the scene--so i've only reads bit of it. likewise, i haven't read THE ETCHED CITY, yet. i keep meaning too, but then i keep buying books and getting side tracked, you know?
strangedave
Oct. 17th, 2006 05:23 am (UTC)
The thing is, it doesn't really matter what you put in your copyright notice (or don't), unless it is an explicit licence over rights you already have.
benpeek
Oct. 17th, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
yeah? i don't know much about copyright, but i kinda figured slapping something into the bio like that didn't really mean much.
strangedave
Oct. 17th, 2006 07:32 am (UTC)
I am often amazed by how little writers know about copyright, considering its the legal framework governing their paychecks and livelihood. (it governs mine too)

(and you'd want to know copyright fairly well to be know, for example, whether the story you talk about in your latest post would even be publishable if it used a real band and their work)
benpeek
Oct. 17th, 2006 09:15 am (UTC)
i kinda knew that story wasn't going to float by the time i was subverting it all--originally, it was meant to just have straight, normal reviews, which is fine, from what i understand. but yeah,i should probably sit myself down and learn more...
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