Robert N. Lee

I meant to write something about this SFSignal post last week…

…but Nick got there first and…THIS.

Two things I have to add, though, about this particular point in the piece:

“I read through the collections of your most honored short stories, and what do I see? Fantasy, mystery, ghost stories, romance. How often you refresh yourself at my springs.”

1. I find it hard to believe that Abraham has read many collections of the most honored “literary” short stories, as they are simply not mostly about genre subjects. The schism here goes back to the very beginning of science fiction fandom itself, and the rejection writers and readers back in the day took on as a mantle, rejection of the “mundane.” SF/F/H becomes more “literary” the more it is concerned with that very mundanity, and there is much more unfairly SF/F/H-ghettoed material, the last several decades, that…tries to be art, let’s just say that. (If you can’t admit genre hackwork exists at all, we have nothing to talk about, really.)

If you skipped all the boring stories in those collections about the worst day ever at boring jobs and divorces and child death where no ghosts show up to punish evil bosses, spouses, and parents, you probably shouldn’t be commenting on literary fiction, not that there’s anything wrong with being somebody who just likes to read about ghosts and not actual death.

2. “My springs” is a little weird, since Romance was included, and most fantastic genre folk resent the hell out of the fact that if you rolled all the space and vampire and steampunk and dragon books into a ball and threw it at the ball of kissy-book titles that sell every year, Romance would never even notice. So they hate, hate, hate kissy books, that’s really what the Twilight hate from adults who’ve never read it, of late, is about.

Also, if we’re going to throw in odd-sized genres most SF/F/H people got no truck with, I would suggest: Westerns. There are virtually no outlets left on earth to publish short stories about “The West” and cowboys except literary mags, and they can’t get enough of the damn things.

But, uh, they’re going to have to be stories about boring old real life, and not so much the gunfights in the middle of the street.

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