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Carmen Maria Machado
Unpopular opinion, literature edition: some (some) folks in the SF&F/genre world are fixated on the perceived slights and inadequacies of literary fiction in a way that is unhealthy, anti-intellectual, and embarrassing.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
Replying to @carmenmmachado
No, actually, which is what makes it so weird.
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Stéphane Crouzy Jun 4
Not arguing with you, just surprised: how would literary fiction be better or worse than any other genre?
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
Replying to @SCrouzy @ann_leckie
It’s not a difference of genre at all; it’s a difference of sensibility, community, and history.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
Replying to @carmenmmachado
Yeah. I’ve experienced 10x more pedantic boundary-policing in the genre community than I have in the literary fiction community.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
Replying to @carmenmmachado
(This is not just a random thought, btw. I’m writing an essay about it, so it’s on my mind.)
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
I agree that things have been different historically, and that narrow reading is a problem on both sides, but imo the boundary-policing is a way worse problem on the genre side right now.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
But that’s a real problem. “Mundane fiction,” “litfic is boring garbage,” “realism has no value,” etc. is not.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
It’s almost entirely structural/historical, imo. Also, I miss Unstuck. ☹️☹️☹️
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Lincoln Michel Jun 4
Yeah I hear way way more negative generalizations about lit fiction (like "mundane fiction" etc.) when I'm in the genre world than the reverse. Like the SF/F thinks the lit conversation is still in the 1950s on these issues, instead of realizing that like our generation
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
Right! It’s like the perceived slights/faults in the literary community from the past are being passed around within the genre community but don’t come from actual experience anymore. (Which is, weirdly, like the plot of a a SF novel.)
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Lincoln Michel Jun 4
I know a lot of SF/F people hate this essay, but I often think about Lethem's essay on the failure of SF/F to embrace the weird 70s lit fic Even today, it's really rare for a "literary" /crossover author to be up for Hugo/Nebula/etc. Chabon one of few exceptions I can think of?
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
Ooooh yes, what’s the title of that essay again?
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
I want to like this fifty times.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
When I am not on the road and you are not presently doing journalism, I’d love to talk to you about this & this essay.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
I think what it means to “be” in a community is a good question, but reading outside of your own community is even more important.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
She is both a literary and culinary genius.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
Also, there’s a great deal of possessiveness that I’ve encountered. I literally sat on an ICFA panel in March where a panelist accused literary fiction of stealing/appropriating genre.
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Lincoln Michel Jun 4
Yep narrow reading is the problem for both sides: Genre people who think lit fiction is all realism (much less all boring realism), lit people who think genre is all pulpy action with no attention to language or style, etc.
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Carmen Maria Machado Jun 4
GOD I want to work on my essay RIGHT NOW but I have to drive to Biloxi. ☹️
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