Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The Book Report: Why Not Just Admit It?

British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro has a new novel coming out and the critics and literary prize juries are wetting themselves in eagerness to heap him with praise.

The novel The Buried Giant, is set in an alternative medieval Earth with magic, heroes, and at least one dragon. 

Sounds like a big fantasy novel, but Ishiguro says that you don't dare call it fantasy, it's "literary."

Ursula K. LeGuin, who has been writing award winning science fiction and fantasy fiction for decades, takes him to task over this and wonders why he won't take that leap and say it's fantasy.

I'll say why he won't call it fantasy: SNOBBERY.

He's been getting critical praise and winning big and important literary awards for over 30 years. His books are the books that people in the book business use as a standard to show the ignorant what is "important" and "literary."

For him to stoop to something as low as "genre" fiction is seen as a crime against "art." He's better than that he's IMPORTANT.

Stinking blinking ignorance.

It's not the first time he's done this. His novel Never Let Me Go was basically a science fiction novel that he denied was science-fiction, even though it was about clones being harvested for their organs. (If he was a science-fiction writer he would have realized he had used the same hackneyed premise as Michael Bay's The Island and Parts: The Clonus Horror)

I wish, I dream, that someday this snobbery over genre and literary would end. There are no such things as a "good/bad" genres and just because something is deemed "literary" doesn't mean that it's important. There are just good stories and bad stories.

But some people never learn.

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