Crap books and good books (was Re: Best Books of 2004)
minnow at belfry.org.uk
minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Jan 19 10:58:34 EST 2005
>On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 16:02:37 -0600, Margaret Ball wrote:
>>Melissa Proffitt wrote:
>>>But it occurred to me later that no matter how insulated the
>>>SF community gets, you NEVER hear about them talking about their own fiction
>>>as though it's the pinnacle of creation, the only true and living fiction
>>>ever created, of which all else is a pale shadow.
>>Oh yeah? I could introduce you to a couple of SF writers who do just
>>that, and at great length. But it wouldn't be nice to name names here.
>If they do, I guarantee no one in the literary community will take them
>seriously. What I mean is that science fiction writers are aware of how
>their genre is perceived by other writers, and that to some people, SF
>cannot be great simply by virtue of being SF.
There's a whole section of Langford's life-work devoted to "How Others See
Us", containing the dafter quotes from non-SF-authors about why the thing
they just wrote that includes time travel, androids, and a plot revolving
around scientific discovery, set in a post-Holocaust Antarctica, is more
"meaningful" than run-of-the-mill SF can ever hope to be. Also quotes from
the reviewers who persist in reviewing any SF work favourably with
comforting words like "Far from being merely yet another
spaceships-and-robots saga, this work explores human relationships in an
unusual setting" and blah on about how in spite of being written as SF,
published as SF, and using forty-three SF tropes, this is *almost* a *real
If it doesn't make one spit tintacks it's very funny indeed.
Is it annoying when some Big Name Real Author decides to venture into the
ghetto and write a Science Fiction Book just to show all the poor pathetic
prunes who live there how it ought to be done, and produces a thing that
would be derivative if one didn't realise that in fact they had no idea
that they were simply re-inventing the wheel when they proudly start to
work out that going back in a time machine and killing your mother might
not be the brightest possible act? Or is it merely risible when they boast
about their originality?
I dunno about you, but it gives me acute attacks of the gigglies. Pompous
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