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robertogreco : genre   13

Hilton Als on writing – The Creative Independent
"Your essays frequently defy traditional genre. You play around with the notions of what an essay can be, what criticism can be, or how we are supposed to think and write about our own lives.

You don’t have to do it any one way. You can just invent a way. Also, who’s to tell you how to write anything? It’s like that wonderful thing Virginia Woolf said. She was just writing one day and she said, “I can write anything.” And you really can. It’s such a remarkable thing to remind yourself of. If you’re listening to any other voice than your own, then you’re doing it wrong. And don’t.

The way that I write is because of the way my brain works. I couldn’t fit it into fiction; I couldn’t fit it into non-fiction. I just had to kind of mix up the genres because of who I was. I myself was a mixture of things, too. Right? I just never had those partitions in my brain, and I think I would’ve been a much more fiscally successful person if could do it that way. But I don’t know how to do it any other way, so I’m not a fiscally successful person. [laughs]

[an aside in italics:

"I was struck by this quote:

“I believe that one reason I began writing essays—a form without a form, until you make it—was this: you didn’t have to borrow from an emotionally and visually upsetting past, as one did in fiction, apparently, to write your story. In an essay, your story could include your actual story and even more stories; you could collapse time and chronology and introduce other voices. In short, the essay is not about the empirical “I” but about the collective—all the voices that made your “I.”"]

Do people ever ask you about writing a novel?

No. I could try, but It feels like a very big, weird monolith to talk about your consciousness as an “I” without being interrupted by other things. That’s what I don’t understand. That it’s just “I” and the world as I see it, when there are a zillion other things coming in. Fictional things that I’ve written I’ve not been satisfied with because I didn’t put in the real life stuff, too. So maybe I should just go back and do that. But I don’t think that one exists without the other for me. Fictional worlds are interesting, but real life is impossible to ignore."
hiltonals  writing  fiction  boundaries  genre  genres  criticism  format  invention  howwewrite  virginiawoolf  words  nonfiction  storytelling  emotions  breakingform  form 
february 2018 by robertogreco
////////// from “Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box,” Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other
"Nothing could be more normative, more logical, and more authoritarian than, for example, the (politically) revolutionary poetry or prose that speaks of revolution in the form of commands or in the well-behaved, steeped-in-convention-language of “clarity.” (”A wholesome, clear, and direct language” is said to be “the fulcrum to move the mass or to sanctify it.”) Clear expression, often equated with correct expression, has long been the criterion set forth in treatises on rhetoric, whose aim was to order discourse so as to persuade. The language of Taoism and Zen, for example, which is perfectly accessible but rife with paradox does not qualify as “clear” (paradox is “illogical” and “nonsensical” to many Westerners), for its intent lies outside the realm of persuasion. The same holds true for vernacular speech, which is not acquired through institutions — schools, churches, professions, etc. — and therefore not repressed by either grammatical rules, technical terms, or key words. Clarity as a purely rhetorical attribute serves the purpose of a classical feature in language, namely, its instrumentality. To write is to communicate, express, witness, impose, instruct, redeem, or save — at any rate to mean and to send out an unambiguous message. Writing thus reduced to a mere vehicle of thought may be used to orient toward a goal or to sustain an act, but it does not constitute an act in itself. This is how the division between the writer/the intellectual and the activists/the masses becomes possible. To use the language well, says the voice of literacy, cherish its classic form. Do not choose the offbeat at the cost of clarity. Obscurity is an imposition on the reader. True, but beware when you cross railroad tracks for one train may hide another train. Clarity is a means of subjection, a quality both of official, taught language and of correct writing, two old mates of power; together they flow, together they flower, vertically, to impose an order. Let us not forget that writers who advocate the instrumentality of language are often those who cannot or choose not to see the suchness of things — a language as language — and therefore, continue to preach conformity to the norms of well-behaved writing: principles of composition, style, genre, correction, and improvement. To write “clearly,” one must incessantly prune, eliminate, forbid, purge, purify; in other words, practice what may be called an “ablution of language” (Roland Barthes)."

— from “Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box,” Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other

[See also PDF of full text in a couple of places:
http://www.sjsu.edu/people/julie.hawker/courses/c1/s2/Trinh-T-Minh-ha-1989.pdf
https://lmthomasucsd.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/minh-ha-reading.pdf ]
trinhminh-ha  rolandbarthes  literacy  clarity  writing  language  taoism  zen  buddhism  persuasion  authority  authoritarianism  power  control  tradition  poetry  prose  canon  rhetoric  grammar  rules  expression  classics  communication  subjection  instrumentality  beauty  style  genre  composition  correction  improvement  purification  speech  vernacular  schools  churches  professions  professionalism  convention  conventions 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Ursula Le Guin Has Earned a Rare Honor. Just Don’t Call Her a Sci-Fi Writer. - The New York Times
"The speech, and her outrage, went viral. “A writer in her mid-80s simply has less to lose,” she said. “An author in midcareer who defies the hegemony of Google and Amazon, and names their immoral or unfair practices as such, takes an immediate risk of vengeance from them and of enmity from fellow writers who are cozy with them. I’m taking the same risks, but what the hell. My work is out there — visible, existent.”

Many younger writers cite Ms. Le Guin as an inspiration, including David Mitchell and Neil Gaiman. In an email, Junot Díaz talked about “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” Ms. Le Guin’s parable about a society whose happy existence depends on keeping one small child locked away in misery. Most citizens of Omelas accept that deal. A few do not.

“That story is both a call and a practice for Le Guin,” Mr. Diaz said. “She has spent all these decades trying to chart a path for those who wish to walk away from Omelas — also known as the horror of our civilization.”

“The Complete Orsinia” is Ms. Le Guin in a quieter key. “The editorial challenge of the Library of America is to strike a balance,” said Max Rudin, the library’s publisher. “On the one hand to publish writers and works that are indisputably part of the American canon, and on the other hand to publish books that stretch people’s imagination of what great American writing is.”

In the introduction, she quotes from a 1975 notebook in which she wrote that much of her work was concerned with one central notion: “True pilgrimage consists in coming home.” The hero of “Malafrena” must leave his provincial farm only to find it again.

“There’s a difference between the circle and the spiral,” Ms. Le Guin said. “We say the Earth has a circular orbit around the sun, but of course it doesn’t. You never come back to the same place, you just come back to the same point on the spiral. That image is very deep in my thinking.”

“Orsinia” has another spiral: As Ms. Le Guin’s works are being put in the canon, she has largely stopped writing. “The fiction isn’t coming. You can’t get water from a dry well.” She still writes poetry, which is a consolation.

There remains that other big legacy-cementing possibility. Last year, Ms. Le Guin was given Nobel odds of 25-1. Her conclusion: “All I have to do in the next 25 years is outlive the other 24 writers.”"
ursulaleguin  2016  sciencefiction  scifi  literature  fiction  writing  historicalfiction  recognition  junotdíaz  nailgaiman  davidmitchell  gender  genre  dondelillo 
september 2016 by robertogreco
The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany - NYTimes.com
"In its subject matter, “Orphan Black” broods on the nature-nurture debate in human biology, but in its execution, the show cleverly extends the same question to matters of genre. What does the exact same woman look like if you grow her in the petri dish of “Desperate Housewives” or on a horror-film set in Eastern Europe? What about a police procedural? The result is a revelation: Instead of each archetype existing as the lone female character in her respective universe, these normally isolated tropes find one another, band together and seek to liberate themselves from the evil system that created them.

By structuring the story around the clones’ differences, “Orphan Black” seems to suggest that the dull sameness enforced by existing female archetypes needs to die. Early in the first season, there is a serial killer hunting down the clones ­— it turns out to be Helena, the Ukrainian — who ritualistically dismembers Barbie dolls after dyeing their hair to match that of her next victim. It’s a creepy touch, but one that can also be read as a metacriticism of how women are used on TV: the punishing beauty standards to which they’re held, the imposed uniformity. (Need a new sitcom wife? Grab the prototype and change the hairstyle.) Our low tolerance for difference among female characters means that they will almost always be less interesting, less memorable and less beloved than their male counterparts. In this context, Helena becomes a kind of hero, slaughtering televisual conformity and constituting, in both her savagery and her warmth, a radical expansion of what women on television can be. And each character, including the criminally insane one, gets considerable attention and respect, even when it comes to questions about butter."



"She expressed some ambivalence about the way fame produces demand, especially in an age of social media. “People just want want want want stuff,” she said. There are awards shows, red carpets; she appreciates it all, but is careful not to let it control her. “You exist without this stuff,” she said. “This stuff doesn’t define you or anything.” Maslany has pointed out that her “Orphan Black” characters, too, must deal with the discovery that they are — in some sense — property and refuse to let it define them. “That always resonated for me as a woman,” she told Vanity Fair in an interview, “this idea of our bodies not being our own. That they’re owned by someone else. That the image of them is owned by someone else.”"



"On “Orphan Black,” the clones fight constantly for control of their own lives and bodies, and Maslany obliquely linked their struggle to her own experience with the publicity machine. “This is about volition and autonomy,” she said of the show, “and that was resonating with me, being an actor who was suddenly being interviewed or being dressed.”

It was an offhand remark, but the connection she drew between self-­ownership and the alienating experience of press interviews — especially given our circumstances — was as subtle as it was smart. I thought about it that night, back at my hotel. Interviewing is a strange business, and I was impressed by the tact and frankness with which Maslany had articulated her discomfort. “Glancing blow, warmly delivered,” I scribbled in my notebook.

Weeks later, Maslany walked the red carpet at the SAG Awards, dressed and styled to the teeth. She smiled brightly. Her fans cheered her gleefully on Twitter. But when Maria Menounos invited her to use the “mani-­cam” to display her nails and jewelry (an invitation some actors walking the red carpet refused, finding it sexist), she bashfully confessed that she hadn’t gotten her nails done and then pulled off what I’ve come to think of as the ultimate Maslany maneuver: She stuck her unmanicured hand in and gave the camera a thumbs-­up, concealing her nails. A glancing blow, warmly delivered."



"“But it’s not about insanity!” Maslany exclaimed. “Her emotional life is so enormous that it can’t be contained, and I think there’s something really beautiful about that. It’s weird to call it insanity, or weird to dismiss her as a victim. I don’t see her as a victim in the slightest. She’s just off. She’s off. She’s just odd.”

I confessed that I agreed with her. Watching “A Woman Under the Influence,” I too fell for Rowlands and her fragile, nutty, compellingly huge character.

Maslany described her favorite scene in the film to me. She prefaced this by saying, “It’s not the most feminist scene on the planet.” In it, Mabel has returned from being institutionalized and manages to perform a broken kind of normalcy with some success. But her husband can’t take it; he’s devastated by what she has become — what he has done to her. He tries to slap her back to herself. “It’s just the two of them silhouetted, and he’s slapping her and going, Bah-bah! Bah-bah!” Maslany said. “And he’s telling her to do the thing that she does, which is just be herself. He can’t handle the fact that she’s been sent away to be changed and to be made homogeneous and made easy to palate.”

There are traces of Mabel in Maslany’s Helena, whom Maslany allows to become off-­putting and even genuinely frightening in ways that female characters rarely get to be. Mabel is not the safe, charming bumbler of the romantic comedy. Nor is Helena, who is erratic, hilarious and homicidal — but never predictable. As Maslany put it, “she’ll probably poop on your face or something.” Maslany cherishes roles that leave room for that kind of unlikability and risk. “The greatest gift as an actor,” she said, “is you get to go, Well, I’m doing this as a character, but really, this is me, this is me at my worst, my worst bits of me.”"



"One of the most interesting things about the show, and its metacriticism of the genres it juggles, isn’t just how elegantly it addresses the solitude that the lone female character on many shows suffers in her particular TV universe. It’s also how resolutely the show refuses to place these genres in opposition to one another. There’s no condescension here; Alison’s suburbia gets as much visual and narrative respect as Rachel’s evil corporate empire. The characters find one another because the system that produced them and scattered them is breaking down. What emerges is a full, generative map of the possibilities that emerge when you let the Strong Female Character and her lonely sisters from other genres mix. By exploring the different directions that “genetic identicals” can take when differently nurtured, “Orphan Black” shows what a single actor can do when given the opportunity — and, by extension, reveals the interesting stories that emerge when women are afforded the chance to exist in rich narrative relation to one another.

Despite Maslany’s reluctance, I managed to steer our conversation back to her magical quick-change act. I still wanted to know how she does it. “I think there’s something about being prepared enough that you can surrender,” she said. Then she quoted to me something the dancer Martha Graham told the choreographer Agnes de Mille in 1943.

At the time, de Mille was confused and bewildered by her sudden rise to fame, and Graham offered her words of encouragement. It is a beautiful pep talk, practically written in verse. I can see why it has special meaning for Maslany as she navigates the challenges of the fishbowl herself. The part Maslany recounted to me is this: “It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

De Mille asked Graham when she would feel satisfied, and Graham replied: “There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” I asked Maslany what her divine dissatisfaction was. “I don’t know how I would label it right now,” she said. “I think if I looked back on this time, I’d probably see where it lived.”"
2015  tatianamaslany  orphanblack  acting  television  lililoofbourow  tv  naturenurture  gender  marthagraham  agnesdemille  feminism  volition  interviews  self-ownership  identity  genre 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Let Me Explain to You a Thing
"I see and write a lot of “DON’T DO THIS!!!” posts, so I thought I would make a “DO THIS!!!” post.

General Requests

• More POC in leading roles
• More important friendships
• More queer characters in leading roles
• More disabled characters in leading roles
• More genderqueer and trans characters in leading roles
• Realistic women in leading roles
• Happier/more positive characters and messages

Specific

• 45 Things I Want to See More Of (Part 2)
• Black Villains
• Boys in YA
• Characters
• Cool Things (2) (3)
• Fantasy (2)
• Female Characters (2)
• Female Character Traits
• Happiness
• Horror Genre Mashups
• Magic Systems
• Male Characters
• Medieval Fantasy
• Modern Fantasy
• Plots
• Relationships
• Romance (2)
• Soulmate AUs
• Stories
• Stories I Want to Read
• Urban Fantasy
• What thewritingcafe Wants
• YA Novels (2) (3) (4)

My wish list tag is always updating and includes posts containing things I would like to see in fiction. characterandwritinghelp has a similar tag.

The plot bunnies tag is likewise updating and includes posts that I think would make for an interesting story.

More Things I Would Like to See

• Steampunk with different ethnic influences alongside the gears
• Utopias that try really hard to be good, even though they aren’t and never will be perfect
• Science and magic coexisting
• Creation stories - stories that focus on building and growth rather than destruction
• People are good themes
• Extroverted protagonists
• Environments other than temperate deciduous
• Stories centered on art
• Stories without war

• Nonviolent revolutions
• Genres from different viewpoints (YA from adult perspective, dystopian from government worker perspective, fantasy from A REAL PEASANT)
• Stories focused on a not nation-changing events within a larger world
• Negative rebellions
• Recovery stories (from wars, especially)
• Love stories where the characters are already together/married
• Many main characters
• A story about averting a war via aggressive diplomacy
• Stories of a land during its Golden Age
• Stories centered on science
• Stories centered on someone’s strange profession
• Optimistic messages (an optimistic story does not necessarily need to be a happy one)
• Villain protagonists, or antagonists and protagonists who have equally valid/sympathetic goals
• Journey stories á la the Oregon Trail
• Borderlands with lots of culture clashes
• Settings that play a huge role in the story
• Ordinary heroes (scared, untrained, and will never be ready for power)
• Stories centered on games and entertainment
• Stories that show how victors/history distorts the past

A lot of my longer posts (like Therianthropy, Magic, and Apocalypse/Post-Apocalyse) and posts on worldbuilding are hopping with plot bunnies, so you should check those out if you want more specific help."
orldbuilding  storytelling  genre  peace  nonviolence  diversity  srg  writing  ya  youngadult  plot  characters  settings  fantasy  relationships 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Ursula K Le Guin's speech at National Book Awards: 'Books aren't just commodities' | Books | The Guardian
[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et9Nf-rsALk ]

"To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long – my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for 50 years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom."
ursulaleguin  2014  invention  sciencefiction  fiction  speculativefiction  future  creativity  whywewrite  writing  imagination  capitalism  economics  publishing  genre  visionaries  freedom  alternatives  books  fear  diversity  hope  optimism  paradigmshifts  transcontextextualism 
november 2014 by robertogreco
more than 95 theses - Michiko Kakutani, who writes reviews for The New...
""Michiko Kakutani, who writes reviews for The New York Times, is the same way. She’ll review a book like David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks, which is one of the best novels of the year. It’s as good as Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, has the same kind of deep literary resonance. But because it has elements of fantasy and science fiction, Kakutani doesn’t want to understand it. In that sense, Bloom and Kakutani and a number of gray eminences in literary criticism are like children who say, ‘I can’t possibly eat this meal because the different kinds of food are touching on the plate!’"

— Stephen King: The Rolling Stone Interview [http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/stephen-king-the-rolling-stone-interview-20141031?page=6 ]. Exactly. Exactly."

[Compare to Ursula Leguin on “The Critics, the Monsters, and the Fantasists” [.pdf]: http://www.rc.umd.edu/sites/default/files/imported/reference/wcircle/leguin.pdf

"The modernists are largely to blame. Edmund Wilson and his generation left a tradition of criticism that is, in its way, quite a little monster. In this school for anti-wizards, no fiction is to be taken seriously except various forms of realism, which are labeled “serious.” The rest of narrative fiction is labeled “genre” and is dismissed unread.

Following this rule, the universities have taught generations of students to shun all “genres,” including fantasy (unless it was written before 1900, wasn’t written in English, and/ or can be labeled magical realism). Students of literature are also taught to flee most children’s books, or books that appeal to both children and adults, as if they were ripe buboes. Academic professionalism is at stake — possibly tenure. To touch genre is to be defiled. Reviewers in the popular journals, most of whom come out of the universities, obey the rule. If the reality of what people read forces a periodical to review mysteries or science fiction, they do it in separate columns, coyly titled, at the back of the journal — in purdah.

To declare one genre, realism, to be above genre, and all the rest of fiction not literature because it isn’t realism, is rather as if judges at the State Fair should give blue ribbons only to pigs, declaring horses, cattle, and poultry not animals because they’re not pigs. Foolishness breeds ignorance, and ignorance loves to be told it doesn’t have to learn something. But nobody can rightly judge a novel without some knowledge of the standards, expectations, devices, tropes, and his- tory of its genre (or genres, for increasingly they mix and interbreed). The knowledge and craft a writer brings to writing fantasy, the expectations and skills a reader brings to reading it, differ significantly from those they bring to realis- tic fiction. Or to science fiction, or the thriller, or the mys- tery, or the western, or the romance, or the picture book, or the chapter-book for kids, or the novel for young adults.

There are of course broad standards of competence in narrative; it would be interesting to identify those that span all genres, to help us see what it is that Jane Austen and Patrick O’Brian have in common (arguably a great deal). But distinction is essential to criticism, and the critic should know when a standard is inappropriate to a genre.

It might be an entertaining and mind-broadening exercise in fiction courses to make students discover inappropriateness by practicing it. For example: judge The Lord of the Rings as if it were a late-20th century realistic novel. (Deficient in self-evident relevance, in sexual and erotic components, in individual psychological complexity, in explicit social references. Exercise too easy, has been done a thou- sand times.) Judge Moby Dick as science fiction. (Strong on technological information and on motivation, and when the story moves, it moves; but crippled by the author’s foot-drag- ging and endless self-indulgence in pompous abstractions, fancy language, and rant.) Judge Pride and Prejudice as a Western. (A pretty poor show all round. The women talk. Darcy is a good man and could be a first-rate rancher, even if he does use those fool little pancake saddles, but with a first name like Fitzwilliam, he’ll never make it in Wyoming.)

And to reverse the whole misbegotten procedure: judged by the standards of fantasy, modernist realist fiction, with its narrow focus on daily details of contemporary human affairs, is suffocating and unimaginative, almost unavoidably trivial, and ominously anthropocentric.

The mandarins of modernism, and some of the pundits of postmodernism, were shocked to be told that a fantasy trilogy by a professor of philology is the best-loved English novel of the twentieth century. People are supposed to love realism, not fantasy. But why should they? Until the eighteenth century in Europe, imaginative fiction was fiction. Realism in fiction is a recent literary invention, not much older than the steam engine and probably related to it. Whence the improbable claim that it is the only form of fiction deserving the name of “literature”?

The particular way distinctions are made between factual and fictional narrative is also quite recent, and though useful, inevitably unreliable. As soon as you tell a story, it turns into fiction (or, as Borges put it, all narrative is fiction). It appears that in trying to resist this ineluctable process, or deny it, we of the Scientific West have come to place inordinate value on fiction that pretends to be, or looks awfully like, fact. But in doing so, we’ve forgotten how to read the fiction that fully exploits fictionality.

I’m not saying people don’t read fantasy; a whole lot of us people do; but scholars and critics for the most part don’t read it and don’t know how to read it. I feel shame for them. Sometimes I feel rage. I want to say to the literature teacher who remains willfully, even boastfully ignorant of a major ele- ment of contemporary fiction: “you are incompetent to teach or judge your subject. Readers and students who do know the field, meanwhile, have every right to challenge your igno- rant prejudice. — Rise, undergraduates of the English Departments! You have nothing to lose but your grade on the midterm!”

And to the reviewers, I want to say, “O critic, if you should come upon a fantasy, and it should awaken an atrophied sense of wonder in you, calling with siren voice to your dear little Inner Child, and you should desire to praise its incomparable originality, it would be well to have read in the literature of fantasy, so that you can make some compari- sons, and bring some critical intelligence to bear. Otherwise you’re going to look like a Patent Office employee rushing out into the streets of Washington crying, ‘A discovery, amazing, unheard of! A miraculous invention, which is a circular disc, pierced with an axle, upon which vehicles may roll with incredible ease across the earth!’”"

via: http://designculturelab.org/2014/10/23/three-uncertain-thoughts-or-everything-i-know-i-learned-from-ursula-le-guin/ ]

[Also compare to Sofia Samatar:
http://post45.research.yale.edu/2014/12/interview-sofia-samatar/

"SS: The relationship between fantasy fiction, and the whole African literature thing... So, I get questions a lot, where people ask me why I write this, and I try to answer them as best I can.

Is that an antagonistic question? As in, "why do you write fantasy rather when you should be writing real literature?"

I think it's a little bit antagonistic, but I also think it's genuine. I don't think people are asking it to be confrontational. They honestly want to know. But genre fiction—you know, science fiction, fantasy, Western, romance—all of them are set apart from literary fiction, in the way that our literature is divided. And since literary fiction is generally felt to be realist—which is totally not the case, but it is what people think—the question becomes, well, here is this dominant literature, here is The Novel, we have this idea of the novel as a realist form... That's where the question "why" comes from, the idea that writing fantasy is not a normal thing to do.

One way I address this is to turn things around, and look at how much older fantasy is than realism, how much more widespread in the world. How deeply a part of oral tradition fantasy is—and say, you know, explain to me, "Why write realist fiction?" Because fantasy is not the fringe, really, if you take narrative as a whole. It is the center.

So, there's that answer. But that doesn't work, right? Because we are still looking at things the way they are now, the way literature is divided. So then I go to my other answers. One of them is that I don't know. I wrote my PhD dissertation on the Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih: I wrote it on the uses of the fantastic and the uncanny in his work, plus a comparative piece where I was looking at Ibrahim al-Koni of Libya, Ben Okri of Nigeria, and Bessie Head from South Africa/Botswana. I was looking at how all of these writers are using the fantastic and the uncanny in their work. I did this, in part, to try to figure out why I am drawn to this literature. And I failed! I failed, Aaron. I still don't have a satisfactory answer for my attraction to this kind of literature."
genre  criticism  literature  fantasy  sciencefiction  2014  stephenking  michikokakutani  nytimes  genres  ursulaleguin  narrative  modernism  magicrealism  edmundwilson  postmodernism  realism  sofiasamatar 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Flickr: Discussing Tagging it up ~ some suggestions for tagging your images. in FlickrCentral
"You can find some specifics examples of how people are using tags in the tagography thread.

a bunch of flickr users have made some suggestions for tags in this thread, and i've tried to compile a thorough a list as possible here, from those suggestions ~ feel free to pick and choose from this list as you see fit: …"
names  naming  subjects  genre  medium  folksonomy  tagography  2004  tags  tips  tagging  flickr 
july 2012 by robertogreco
A Brief History of Architecture Fiction: Implausible Futures for Unpopular Places: Places: Design Observer
"First, we identify a suitable building: Something that appears neglected, and seems to have no immediate prospects for a future use. In short, we choose an unpopular place. Next we devise a hypothetical future for that structure. Specifically, we strive to make this future blatantly implausible: maybe provocative, maybe funny; above all engaging. Then an artist creates a rendering based on the imaginary concept. This is printed onto a 3' x 5' sign, modeled on those used by real developers. That sign, finally, goes onto the building."

"Our neighborhood is the sort that people describe as "transitional," and some of the property…is vacant. On one nearby commercial structure…I noticed a sign…You've seen similar signs…It was a rendering of a development, a future, involving a small, empty building. It suddenly struck me that, given how long this sign has been here, what it depicted was, at best, a hypothetical future — and arguably a fictitious one."
design  architecture  writing  fiction  designfiction  robwalker  classideas  architecturefiction  archigram  creativity  jgballard  brucesterling  hypotheticdevelopmentorganization  writingprompts  geoffmanaugh  bldgblog  carlzimmerman  brettsnyder  phantomcity  nyc  nola  neworleans  losangeles  cities  urban  urbapotential  foundfutures  honolulu  stuartcandy  packardjennings  stevelambert  genre  storytelling  benkatchor  detroit  dreams  seeing  noticing 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Post by Robin Sloan; "the Borders bankruptcy isn't essentially about the book business"
"I think it might have something to do w/ the franchises you cite, +Tim Carmody. I think the real locus of love & engagement today is not books (e- or otherwise) but rather fandoms. You know this is the case when you don't ever cite a particular volume. Instead it's just: Twilight. Harry Potter. Middle Earth. Game of Thrones. (And there's an interesting cross-media dynamic in that last example: the TV incarnation has essentially usurped the naming rights for the whole fandom. I call the book series "Game of Thrones" now—not "A Song of Ice and Fire.")

Now, as it turns out, books are a great way to kick off sprawling cross-media stories, and manga are even better; words are still a world-builder's best tools. But importantly, the thing people get wrapped up in, the thing they feel this crazy allegiance for, isn't the words, or the paper, or the E-Ink. It's the fictional world."
robinsloan  timcarmody  bordersbooks  books  booksellers  print  publishing  retail  bankruptcy  2011  genre  franchises  fiction  literature 
july 2011 by robertogreco
john mullan, clapham & the no-fuck vampire novel | the m john harrison blog
"Literary fiction as described here is the fiction of a generation which discovered “good” novels via B-format in 1980. It is a fiction so very clearly generic that when I read John Mullan’s description of it (complete with successful business model, strict boundary conditions and committed fanbase which won’t read anything else) as not genre fiction, I weep with laughter at the sheer depth of his self-deception. Still, by the usual Freudian processes he has said what he really means, & that’s a step forward. The sooner literary fiction recognises & accepts its generic identity, the sooner it can get help. One of the more obvious results of generification is that–as with gentrification–blandness sets in, whether you’re knocking out no-fuck vampire romances or contributing to the high-performing post-Austen industry…"
literary  literature  literaryfiction  fiction  2011  genre  generification  mjohnharrison  blandness  self-deception  novels 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Tale of Tales» A bad year for dreams
Provocative post with many comments. "2009 Was another triumphant year for the Wii & DS. Nintendo has successfully introduced the general public to playing games on computer hardware... far from a triumph for the medium of videogames. ..Nintendo didn’t do much. ... Rather than trying to start a revolution with a brand new medium, they had a good look at the way people play today & made digital versions of those activities. They basically made it possible for people to play the kinds of games they were already enjoying, on their television sets. Some may celebrate this as the breakthrough of videogames into the mainstream. I don’t. I hope this is just a temporary setback in the evolution of the medium. I’m not a big fan of huge corporations, but I do share, to some extent, the dreams that Sony & Microsoft have about the interactive medium. With them, I see videogames as the great new art form of the new century. Videogames as the cinema, television & pop music of the young millennium."
games  gaming  videogames  art  sony  microsoft  nintendo  play  lifestyle  2009  genre 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives: On the Pleasures of Not Belonging, or Notes on Interstitial Art (Part Two)
"Many young American consumers are using the web in search of Korean dramas, Japanese anime, Latin American telenovelas, or Bollywood films, anything that takes them outside the parochialism of their own culture. The result really does defy any classification: look at something like Tears of the Black Tiger which starts as a classic Thai novel, throws in a little opera, adds a much more intense color palette, and tells the man's story as a western and the woman's story as a '50s style melodrama to suggest that the two protagonists are living in different worlds."

[Part One: http://henryjenkins.org/2009/11/on_the_pleasures_of_not_belong.html ]
henryjenkins  media  2009  criticism  globalization  interstitialart  belonging  identity  genre  literature  storytelling  fiction 
november 2009 by robertogreco

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