Today I want to touch on a subject near and dear to my heart.
I have been an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy probably since my dad sat there and watched Voltron and He-Man and She-Ra and Thundercats with us on Saturday mornings. (Shhhh, I know it dates me.) Disney movies were a staple. And so it was no surprise that when I started reading that it was fantasy toward which I gravitated.
Now, some people say that fantasy “isn’t literary enough”. And that adults shouldn’t be reading YA because we’re grown-ups. That well-known fantasy and sci-fi authors could be so much more if they were to abandon their genre for a more literary approach. Things of that sort. (I would hate to hear what these critics think of fan-fiction.)
All I’ve got to say to that is “haters gonna hate.” I’m going to keep liking what I like, and writing what I write. And I think that the success of fantasy and science fiction books that become movies speaks volumes about how the rest of the world feels, too.
io9, of course, has a much better-worded response, although it’s much along the same lines. And the comments are pretty fabulous, too.
But my question still remains: why all the genre-hate? Those who know me know that this subject can inspire all sorts of lengthy rants about what makes “literary” fiction so much more “valid” than any other genre and other less complimentary things. I am the first to acknowledge that there is plenty of good literary fiction out there to be studied and learned from. Many of the works considered “classics”, for example. But there’s also a lot of junk, just like any other genre. To me, literary is a genre where the books that don’t fit any other genre on the bookstore shelves go. Not any indication of quality or how enjoyable it will be.
And if I’d rather read or write something else? That’s my right. Just as it is the right of any other reader or writer.