Must-read article by Richard Morgan

Many thanks to Simon Spanton for providing the link!

Here's a brief excerpt:

I guess in the end what I'm saying is that it's about growing up. Not growing up in the sense of writing or reading "grown up" literature (whatever that actually is), or pretending -- on some Eastercon panel or messageboard somewhere -- to cast off a specious immaturity of prior literary taste in favour of more weighty and worthwhile prose. No, I'm talking about growing up in the sense of seeing both the genre and the wider world in the way they are instead of the way we'd like them to be. I'm talking about making conscious choices in what we write, and then taking responsibility for those choices, instead of railing against some crudely confected other that's spoiling everything for us. This is, above all, about getting a sense of perspective on what we do for a living, about accepting our genre as a whole, the way the crime guys accept theirs; accepting it has facets and seeing them that way, instead of constantly turning them into factions; accepting that just because you don't get off on a particular strain of SF&F, doesn't mean other people don't, can't or shouldn't. This is about accepting, as Iain Banks once said, that when all is said and done, we are all a part of the entertainment industry.

Is that so terrible to admit? It shouldn't be. Entertainment looks set to become the major industry of the twenty first century. It seeps into everything we are and do; it's as powerful a globalizing force as anything else in play right now. Not a bad place to be working, really. All we have to do is keep our perspective; shrug off that pitifully self-important delusion that we're locked in some sort of titanic struggle for the cultural soul of humanity against hostile elites or witless hordes or evil marketing empires. Let's save that kind of hyperbole for (some of) our fiction. Let's get a fucking life, people, let's get over ourselves and start enjoying this ride for its own sake -- rather than constantly glowering around with militant disapproval at our fellow passengers further down the car, all on account of what they're reading.

You know how I feel about all that elitist bullshit, so I found myself agreeing with Morgan on this. Read the entire article here.

2 commentaires:

Mark said...

Damn! Makes me wish I could write like a supervillain... I've read articles that approach this subject before, but never something this good. Well said Richard Morgan. Thank you as well for putting up this link.

Anonymous said...

While I'm in full agreement with Morgan, and have been saying this stuff for years, I feel I should point out that the crime fiction field is not as battle-less as it might appear. In crime, there are battles of superiority between thrillers and category mysteries, between hard-boiled, noir titles and soft-boiled cozies -- with the hard-boiled, like hard sf, being more respected because it's more guaranteed to bring in male readers and is more "gritty and realistic." A hard-boiled thriller mystery with a male protagonist has a chance of being made into a feature film, while a cozy with a female protagonist or a hard-boiled title with a female protagonist is usually regulated to television. Of course, there is also the continued battle between advocates of contemporary fiction considered dramatic and literary in style, and the suspense writers who have to prove that a use of violent action does not mean they aren't literary, and so on. There are prejudices in every field, though there are few as passionate as in SFF. This is largely because the SFF fans are much more organized and in contact with each other, more than any other field of fiction. Contact seems to breed rivalries. Then there is the mistaken notion that SFF authors are in competition with each other, that if one group or author does well, it hurts the others in the market or the perceived quality of category SFF -- that fiction is a battlefield. In point of truth, the opposite is true, SFF authors are symbiotic with each other, and all the fighting is not only divisive, but has no effect on the fiction market whatsoever.