Dialogue Between Literature & Genre

27 12 2011


Genre writes to Literature

A ‘private letter’ from popular fiction to its grander relation sweetly casts the two as rivals with a lot in common

I come to this a little late but I come to it with a smile I didn’t think would materialise this gloomy Monday morning. If you’re someone who, like me, gets grumpy about the pointlessness of the arbitrary split between literary fiction and genre, then you need to read SFF author Daniel Abraham’s “private letter from Genre to Literature”. It’s great.

“You were in the dark, plain clothes that you think of as elegant. I have always thought they made you look pale,” says Genre, mournfully, to Literature. “You laugh at me for telling the same stories again and again. I call you boring and joyless.”

 Literature, says Genre, takes Genre’s “most glorious moments” – Ursula LeGuin and Dashiell Hammett, Mary Shelley and Philip K Dick – and claims them for its own. “You say that they ‘transcend genre’. There are no more heartless words than those. You disarm me. You know, I think, that if we were to compare our projects honestly – my best to yours, my mediocrities to yours, our failures lumped together – this division between us would vanish, and so you skim away my cream and mock me for being only milk.”

Read full article @ The Guardian

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