Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Time Traveller's Wife: the gateway drug

It is possible that I have not had my genre-fiction bitch here at the blog. There are all kinds of erudite things I could say about genre snobbery, but at the moment I'm stuck at my first point of reference, which is: if you say to me "Oh, I don't read fantasy," in a voice dripping with contempt, right after you've finished telling me how much you loved Gregory Maguire's Wicked, a novel based on the freaking Wizard of Oz, you richly deserve the dressing-down you'll be getting in the staff room later on.

Luckily, I've been following not one but several spirited discussions about how genre fiction is denigrated by folks who don't read the genre in a variety of sexist, class-based ways. So if you're interested in losing a whole afternoon learning the intracacies of these arguments: what they said.

I've been thinking about whether there is a non-snarky way to address this in my job, say, with a clever display. There's got to be some way for me to say "Look, I'm not saying that if you loved the Time Traveller's Wife you're going to love a book with dragons in it. But you might enjoy some other well-written time travel fiction. What do you say you give it a whirl?" Um, in fifty words or less, on a placard.

Any ideas for books I should be linking up? I'll take suggestions in mystery, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, and pretty much anything else you can think of. The thing I'm the weakest on is what literary fiction works I could be using as examples. It just--more things to like in the world, you know? That's got to be a good thing.

*I freely admit that only a tiny bit of the Robin McKinley discussion is about genre, but it ranges freely into people's book prejudices, and I adore Robin McKinley, so any chance to direct people to her is a chance I'll take.


Boethius said...

Name of the Rose is a Medieval Mystery, Gulliver's Travels is Sci Fi, and that's really all I've got. Can I be a genre snob about Romance? I read a few pages of one and It made me mad at the world. Also I hate Self-Help, New Age, Business, etc....oh, and ESPECIALLY that Controversial Knowledge section. There's others but I forget.

Boethius said...

Oh my God....I read that left me with one, all-pervading, overwhelming question: DOES THE AWESOME EVER STOP??!!? Best article ever!!!! Pew Pew Pew!!!! Dim women FTW!!!! LOL.

'col said...

Well, you may be a genre snob about romance, but it's not very...rigorous of you. Which is not to say that I think you have to like romance novels, or any other genre, for that matter. But it's a huge leap from "those stories don't appeal to me" to the ad hominem attacks on romance (or sci fi, or self help, or business) readers that I'm complaining about.

And...yeah. I especially love the way the Post is all "no, it was humour, get it? god, you women just can't take a joke."

Boethius said...

So who gets the "Setting Women Back" award for this year? The lady from the Post, Fergie, of Crying Hillary Clinton?