Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Where's the Love?

Over a year ago I posted a blog (rant) about a run in with an acquaintance who had such a scathing attitude to the romance genre that it left me reeling. I understand not choosing to read it or just not getting into love stories, but the vitriol dripping from the comment was overwhelming. Any attempt at pleasantries between us was effectively crushed. Honestly, unnamed person, you could have just smiled and said no, then brought up the weather. Social niceties 101.

At the time I assumed this person must read obscure but profound literature. You know, the stuff college professors assign or the titles on your list that you never actually read but plan to some day because the names show up on crossword puzzles. Plus, it's fun to seem like you're smart, right? And, of course, the best way to do that is to make sure everyone else knows you think they're an idiot.

The fact that thinking about it still bothers me shows how sensitive I am. Oh well.

My point, you ask? Well, today I found out that this person reads sci-fi/fantasy and my jaw dropped. Wait, after that absolute slap in the face about the genre fiction I write and love, you read genre fiction too? You mean you deign to waste your brain space on formulaic, commercial tripe? You respond to the hero's journey? Say it isn't so.

Oh, it is.

Don't get me wrong, I love sci-fi/fantasy. My adolescent reading started with mystery and then morphed into sci-fi/fantasy with Xanth trilogy (or so it began) and I kept going from there. I only started on romance ten-ish years ago. I'm not insulting the genre, but I am saying that it is a genre of commercial fiction.

So what makes one genre more elevated than another? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say NOTHING. Within all genres there are good and bad authors and it's entirely subjective. That said, why the disdain? I teach high school and I can't remember even a student being that rude before. Seriously.

Image from HBO's mini-series Game of Thrones, written by George R.R. Martin (and yes, I've read it but not seen the series). High fantasy with a lot of kinda rapey sex.

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