Posts Tagged ‘genre fiction’
Michael Dirda asks the following on his blog this week:
This past weekend I attended Readercon, a science fiction and fantasy convention held annually in the Boston area. Over the long weekend of the con a recurrent theme gradually emerged: What is the relationship of genre literature to so-called mainstream literature? Have any of the Reading Roomers ever reflected on this relationship between genre and mainstream? What so-called genre books do you consider major works of art? –Dirda’s Reading Room
I have had many different discussions with a lot of people about what genre essentially boils down to. For me, it is a question of power and authority because those in power and authority place certain books in particular positions and this inevitably influences how we read certain works. The English Literary Canon and I use capital letters because there are certain works that people have attributed with this standardized Canon, is made up of largely upper-class white British men from Great Britain. One has only to go trolling through history to see the apparent incongruity with the numbers of women or people of color who are represented as apart of the Canon. That has changed recently and scholarship from the past few decades have unearthed a surprising amount of information about the fact that there have been many authors that represent groups not present in the Canon.
For me, it has always been about power and agency/access. Think of the recent rise and popularity of graphic novels and comic books. The Canon is quite fickle as now one is likely to hear or read phrases like: “Greatest Graphic Novel of All Time” or “The Grandfather of Graphic Novels”, etc. This genre is still for the most part looked upon with some suspicion but still now there are entire courses in various Academic institutions whose sole purpose is to engage in this style of reading. Why is this happening, because culture and society has changed, and the value placed on this type of reading, this particular genre has been given a new opportunity, as I said, power and agency/access.
Genre Fiction has a bad reputation. It is often looked down upon, considered sub-par. I’ve even heard it described in terms of “trash-fiction”. You know of what particular genres I speak: Harlequin Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, etc. And for the most part I have to disagree with these types of derogatory labels and commentary.
Time is the great equalizer and many of the “great works of Literature” that we now consider to be an essential part of the English Literary Canon, were at some point apart of these “trash-fiction” categories. Almost anything from the 19th C. was considered to be rubbish at some point; the whole concept of the Novel as a type of fiction that is to be read and tossed away was relegated to the more feminine mind as something childlike. (**take note of sarcasm).
Through my good friend Rob at the Fine Grind downtown, I have been exposed to the Greatest Fiction Sub-Genre of them all. This Sub-Genre is better than the notorious Nascar Harlequin, that is right, Harlequin Romance novels that center around Nascar drivers and their sexual exploits. This Sub-Genre puts all others to shame.
- Rough and Ready
- Down and Dirty
- The Very Virile Viking ** A personal favorite of mine.
- Wet and Wild
- & Etc.
I don’t know about you but I think I have most of my Christmas Shopping done right here. Many of you are just a few clicks away from enjoying (Viking Time-Travel) Genre Fiction.
Oh and as an added bonus I’m posting here one of the Comments & Reviews from Amazon for the book pictured above in all its glory: Viking Unchained by Sandra Hill. Enjoy folks.
Navy SEAL Dave Denton dies while on a mission. His pregnant widow Linda is devastated when the mortuary officers visit her with the bad news. Soon after Dave’s combat related death, Linda gives birth to their son.
Thorfinn Haraldsson has been searching for his missing son for five years when he is attacked and knocked out. When he awakens he finds himself inside the belly of a flying bird with other people; some he knows. His twenty-first century kin cocoon him as they mentor him on how to fit in an alien technological world. When he ventures outside, a woman rushes up to him crying and hugging him. Confused he cannot stop kissing her until they go off to make love. He meets Linda’s five years old son who has his eyes, leaving him further bewildered, but in love.
Fast-paced and filled with humor, the latest eleventh century Viking- modern day American romance is a fun tale though in some ways it has a déjà vu feel to it; having a military widow and her son brings a freshness to the plot. With glossaries for SEAL and Viking vernacular to enhance the time travel tale, series fans will enjoy the romance between the widow who sees a second chance with her husband’s “doppelganger” and the clueless Viking, who seems like a fish out of water (no SEAL pun intended).