Why no love among the SFF fandom??? (6 years later)

I wrote this piece back in 2009 and it just appeared in my Facebook memories. Decided to give it a read through, just for the heck of it. Oddly enough, the sentiment is pretty much the same and nothing seems to have changed in the last 6 years. . .

And this is one of the posts that generated a lot of comments back then, I'm curious to see if I'm the only one feeling this way in 2015.

Here's an extract:

I've been giving this some thought, and I can't for the life of me understand why the SFF fandom seems to be fragmented beyond repair. So perhaps you guys can help me understand why there appears to be so much hate going around.

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. . .

Follow this link to read the whole piece. . .

3 commentaires:

Ed said...

Hey Pat,

Long term reader of the blog and a fan of speculative fiction in a myriad of mediums. Through my 30+ years of life I have enjoyed manga, anime, videogames, films and they all have their merits. Although novels remain my primary love, I do think there is a fair amount of stigma associated with the other media. When some work colleagues the other day asked for recommendations on good books to read, I mentioned the excellent "The Walking Dead" - the reactions were less than complementary with "but that´s a comic" and "do you still read comics?!" among them.

These sort of reactions are pretty typical and it´s a pity as there are plenty of SF outside of novels that are outstanding: The Last of Us (videogame), Blade of the Inmortal (manga), Grave of the Fireflies (anime) to name a few.

Here is hoping more people who only read SF novels give the other mediums a chance and that you can go back to doing the occasional review outside novels to help broaden horizons.

Fred said...

La résistance au changement peut-être ? Personnellement, je trouve la lecture plus difficile d'accès qu'un comic ou un jeu vidéo car ça me demande un effort supplémentaire. Je pourrais comprendre que cela peut rendre des gens plus "élitistes" en ce sens que lire demande plus de capacité que s'écraser devant un jeu vidéo.

Frank Johnston said...

People trying to quantify a qualitative process? It can't possibly be as good as my favorite book because it is a 40 page comic, etc...

If a comic resonates strong enough for me to continue to think about it days after reading it, it is a better story than some novels I have read any quickly forgotten.