My post on morality in fantasy really seems to have struck a chord, because I’ve been getting a lot more hits than usual in the past two days. Black Gate Theo (does he have an actual surname?) also responded. Needless to say he disagrees with me.
There have also been some other interesting discussions going on the the speculative fiction community of late:
Alec Austin has a great post on taste hierarchies in speculative fiction. Found via Sherwood Smith’s livejournal, where there’s also some good discussion going on.
I very much agree with both of them that taste hierarchies have become a problem even in popular culture which was largely ignored by the gatekeepers of culture until the internet came along. I’ve made a few posts about the issue in the past: Here is one about taste hierarchies in TV and film criticism. I also have several posts about taste hierarchies in the SFF community here, here and here.
Unlike Damien Walter, Theodora Goss is aware that her upcoming book The Thorn and the Blossom is not a romance according to the RWA definition, though it is a love story and a romance in the older sense of the chivalric romance.
Though I don’t agree with her that genre romance is inevitably fantasy. True, some romance subgenres are fantasy. Paranormal romance is obviously fantasy – that’s the paranormal aspect – and quite a lot of historical romance could qualify as fantasy, because it has very little to do with actual history. But in general, the romance genre is no more fantasy than the crime fiction or thriller genre. Because last time I looked, the average person was far more likely to fall in love with a member of their preferred gender and enter a longterm committed relationship than they were to be murdered, witness a mafia hit, targeted by serial killers, be falsely accused of murder, get embroiled in a terrorist plot or any of the other things that routinely happen in crime and suspense fiction.
Ari Marmell finds surprising parallels between epic fantasy and Steampunk. I’m not fully convinced, but his points are certainly interesting. In many ways, Ari Marmell’s post reminds me of Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s article on the transformation of the gothic novel into the paranormal romance via the horror and/or “bodiceripper” type historical romance. Unfortunately, the essay seems to have vanished into the ether along with Jim Baen’s Universe.
Finally, I’ve also got a new post up at the Pegasus Pulp blog about mainstream perspectives on the rise of e-books and indie publishing, which includes the elusive newer numbers on the e-book market share in German speaking countries.
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