Today was the first day of school after the winter holidays and students and staff were welcomed back by the worst storm of the winter so far. I’m actually surprised that they did not cancel school or at least the afternoon classes, because gale force winds and torn of branches made walking or riding a bike to school rather dangerous. Even crossing the schoolyard was something of a problem. Two students in my afternoon class had bought a pizza at a nearby pizza shop (they’re not supposed to go to the pizza shop or the bakery, but they do so anyway, because the school meals are not very good) and the wind tore the pizza box out of their hand on the way back to school. The pizza looked somewhat mutilated, but was still edible.
Meanwhile, yesterday’s post on gender roles in fiction and TV seems to have struck a chord. There’s some good discussion going on in the comments over there.
Over at the Pegasus Pulp blog, I have a post on KDP Select and e-book pricing.
At The Guardian, Damien Walter has a weird article on romantic fantasy, which somehow manages to ignore 99 percent of all romantic fantasy fiction out there, including the entire paranormal romance, fantasy romance and time travel romance genres as well as the romantic half of urban fantasy and the romantic edge of epic fantasy. Honestly, there’s not even a single nod at what is some of the bestselling fantasy out there.
Instead, Damien Walter chooses to focus on three books, Fated by S.G. Browne (tagline: “Love is not a choice. It’s a disaster.”), The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Now neither S.G. Browne’s Fated (which I hadn’t even heard about before today) nor Theodora Goss’s The Thorn and the Blossom would be in my Top 10 or even in my Top 100 books that I think of when hearing the term “romantic fantasy”. This is not to say that these are not worthy books, they very likely are. The Marriage Plot is almost certainly a very worthy book, but it’s not fantasy. It is also telling that none of the three books discussed would meet the RWA definition of romance, though to be fair he did call his article “romantic fantasy” not “fantasy romance”.
I strongly suspect that Damien Walter wanted to discuss a couple of books that he had enjoyed (The Thorn and the Blossom is released later this months, so now is the time for a review or discussion) and was looking for a common thread to tie them together. All books deal with the subject of love in some way – voila, there’s our theme. Of course, Damien Walter begins his article by stating that he believes that love is merely a social construct – a view that is echoed by the commenters – which explains a lot.
Also at The Guardian, Alison Flood reveals why the Nobel Prize committee passed over J.R.R. Tolkien (nominated by his pal C.S. Lewis), E.M. Foster, Graham Greene, Robert Frost, Lawrence Durrell and Karen Blixen in favour of Yugoslavian writer Ivo Andric in 1961. I usually defend the Nobel Prize committee from Anglo-American complaints that a supposedly obscure non-Anglophone author (who normally is not at all obscure in his or her country of origin) was maliciously picked over a better known Anglophone author. And Ivo Andric might indeed have been a worthy winner – unfortunately, I have never heard of him. But given the competition that year, I strongly suspect that they really got it wrong. It’s not the first time either – I only cite the German trio of Theodor Mommsen, Paul Heyse and Rudolf Eucken, all Nobel Prize for Literature winners from the early 20th century who are forgotten even in their own country a hundred years later.