And since my readership is comprised of haters, wankers, aficionados and casual readers, I figure that the Hotlist reaches basically every kind of fans. Perhaps we can make sense of this sad state of affairs. . .
For some reason, it seems that speculative fiction readers consider themselves to be at the top of the SFF totem pole. Many look down at everything else, as if novels held the monopoly on quality as far as different media go. I've always known this to be the case, but it's gotten more and more obvious since I started to try to give various media some exposure on the Hotlist a few weeks back. There has been a lot of resistance from a panoply of fans, as if comic books, anime, animated films, and video games were beneath their notice. Why is that, I wonder? Doesn't it stand to reason that there are high quality works in every SFF medium?
Are SFF books and series the epitome of quality in the speculative fiction sphere? Why the superiority complex when readers cannot even agree as to what's good and what's not? You have the wankers peddling their titles to all and sundry like they're the gospels. And then, they're disappointed and can't seem to understand why casual SFF readers don't give a shit about the John Clute, M. John Harrison, and James Nicoll of this world?
There is certainly an "holier than thou" attitude coming from the elitist clique of the genre which drives me nuts. One only has to look at the fiasco surrounding Neil Gaiman's winning the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction for The Sandman issue #19 "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Why was it so bad for a comic book to win the award? And why are comics now only eligible in the Special Award Professional category?
What is so frightening about comic books receiving accolades such as a World Fantasy Award? Why is it so difficult to accept that quality works exist outside of the "literary" sphere and deserve the recognition? You tell me. . .
Why is it, in a genre that supposedly embraces all possibilities, that so many fans seem narrow-minded? Why is it that a vast majority of them can't stand to get away from their comfort zone? Why is it that inferior writers like R. A. Salvatore and Terry Brooks, who have been writing the same generic stories for over two decades, outsell original authors such as Hal Duncan, R. Scott Bakker, and Ian McDonald by a margin of more than 10 to 1?
Also, why are subgenres such as sword & sorcery, urban fantasy, and tie-in fiction considered dross unfit to be read by discerning fans? Why do we (myself included) generalize to such an extent and refuse to see the merits of some authors, titles, and series?
Why is it so bad that a "credible" SFF book reviewer like me (though how much credibility I do have is a bit ambiguous! Depends on who you ask!) decides to give Japanese animated features a shot? I've said it before and I'll say it again: Many of the films I've seen and reviewed thus far would appeal to most people hanging around here. And based on the number of emails I've been receiving since I gave Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke a try, it appears that quite a few of you did the same and are pleased to have done so. And yet, quite a few of my detractors opine that it's simply more clutter on this blog.
The same thing goes since I elected to give Neil Gaiman's The Sandman a second shot. I quit reading the comic book in the 90s, yet I've been a big fan of his novels. So I was aware that at some point I would have to give The Sandman another go. And you know what? I'm glad I did! I just finished The Sandman: Season of Mists and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But again, many SFF readers seem to feel that comic books, even something written by Neil Gaiman, are too low for them.
The same thing occurred when I teamed up with Sony Online Entertainment to bring more gamers into the fold, and hopefully get a few of them to discover great SFF books and more by doing so.
Yet every time I steered the ship away from books, some people have been complaining, as if the other media held nothing of interest. So why are so many SFF readers loath to give the body of work of the genius Hayao Miyazaki a shot? Why read and enjoy Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and American Gods, but scoff at the notion of doing the same with The Sandman? A lot of readers are gamers, so what is so bad about trying to attract more gamers to SFF book-reviewing blogs like the Hotlist?
To the outside world, like it or not, most of us, regardless of the medium we prefer, are considered geeks. So why war among ourselves instead of recognizing the fact that there are some great works in every SFF medium? It's all right to prefer one over another, but why do some many of us feel the need to belittle the other media? Moreover, why bitch like this when often those haters mudslinging another medium have never even given it a chance?
SFF books will probably remain my favorite medium, true. Yet by broadening my horizons I've discovered wonderful works that were as satisfying as any great science fiction and fantasy books I've ever read. So do yourself a favor and try stuff by Hayao Miyazaki, Makoto Shinkai, and chances are you'll enjoy them! With the panoply of styles out there, I'm sure there are comic books you'll like. For all I know, it might be the same with manga and anime series!
I just don't understand the hate and all that negative energy flying around. As C. S. Friedman told me when I sent her a link to that M. John Harrison rant on worldbuilding a few years ago, "Aren't we all just nerds anymore?"
Feel free to leave your two cents. . .=)