Okay, so the whole Internet hasn’t shut down after all

All right, so I did find three interesting posts after all:

Mark Charan Newton wonders why secondary world fantasy usually has quasi-medieval settings and why secondary world fantasy is perceived as less relevant than SF. Some nice discussion going on there, though I’m not in the mood to add my two cents.

Meanwhile, Sherwood Smith discusses the widespread dislike for prologues at the Book View Café.

I’ve never understood this prologue hate myself. Of course, not all prologues are good or necessary, but I don’t think I have ever skipped them – why would I? In fact, I loved the Encyclopaedia Galactica entries in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. For a while, I actually sought a copy of the Encyclopaedia until I realized that it was just as fictional as the rest of the stories. In my defense, I was fifteen.

Still, I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that prologue hatred is a peculiarly American thing much like the hatred of adverbs and the passive voice.

And now off to watch Hustle.

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4 Responses to Okay, so the whole Internet hasn’t shut down after all

  1. Kaz Augustin says:

    I think you’re right about prologues and Americans. They always like to pigeonhole things. “Your prologue should be a Chapter One or else it should get cut” (well no, what if there’s a period of time before the two?), “Shove the prologue in Chapter Three” (and destroy the linear narrative?), “Put it in as hints throughout the rest of the novel” (but it explains a major plot point that the reader must know going in). Even some agents say that they will discard a manuscript the moment they see it has a prologue. It won’t even be read. It’s insane!! I know I’m blowing my own trumpet here a little, but I’ve been told by editors that I write very good prologues. And, in fact, it was the prologue by itself that sold one of my books to an (American) editor, albeit he was a little more Old School SF.

    No wonder I’m self-pubbing my next novel. Unfortunately, it has a prologue as well. 😛

    • Cora says:

      I strongly suspect the anti-prologue bias is an American thing, though at least one German poster on the Book View Café blog says that she doesn’t like them either.

      I actually agree that there are some literary devices you should be careful with and prologues are probably one of them. But this very American blanket anti-something attitude, whether it’s prologues, adverbs or passive voice (and if you’re very lucky, they will actually know what passive voice is), is annoying. And it seems to be a particularly American thing, because Brits and Germans are usually not as hung up about something or other being “bad writing” regardless of circumstances. Okay, Germans have a thing about not repeating words and it took me some time to get over that, but it’s still not as pervasive as the hatred of passive voice, adverbs, prologues or whatever else is a no-no this week. And editors/agents not even looking at a manuscript because it includes one of those no-nos is insane, because plenty of excellent and highly successful works break many of those rules.

      Anyway, War Games sounds very cool and I’m looking forward to it, prologue and all.

  2. Rachel says:

    Yep, absolutely correct. I lived in the US for decades (hate the place!) and whittering on about things like “never use the passive voice” is an American thing. It’s why so much writing you see online by Americans is formulaic and dull, IMO.

    • Cora says:

      Oh, the US has both good and bad aspects. The obsession about not using the passive voice is one of the not so good aspects. And like all countries, the US has good and bad writers. Though a lot of people swallow the advice about not using the passive voice without ever properly digesting or understanding it.

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