Glen Duncan, the British writer of literary novels with genre elements, who compared literary writers writing genre fiction to intellectuals dating porn stars in his New York Times review of Colson Whitehead’s literary zombie novel Zone One now offers a classic non-apology and non-clarification of his points in the New York Times.
Basically he says, “I was right and the outraged genre readers and writers are wrong and just prove my point that they are too stupid to understand what I was saying, since they took my intellectual and porn star analogy literally.” Unfortunately, Mr Duncan does not tell us how else to take it, probably because we would be too stupid to understand anyway.
He’s wrong about the negative Amazon reviews of Zone One, too. Because the ones I read (I didn’t read them all, since there were more than sixty) did not complain about needing a Thesaurus to understand the book, they complained about Colson Whitehead’s Thesaurus addiction, which is something completely different. And anybody who has ever read slush or dealt with writers in their early development phase knows that Thesaurus addiction is a genuine problem, though I don’t know if it applies to Colson Whitehead’s novel.
I was actually willing to give Glen Duncan the benefit of a doubt before, but this response confirms that the people calling him an elitist jerk are right, though I definitely don’t support the calls for stabbing him in the face and castrating him (What? No “Die in a fire”?) that Duncan claims to have received.
There is an interesting interview with Jonathan Lethem at Salon, which also partly ties into the Q.R. Markham plagiarism discussion. I also like his observation that when he was still unknown, he was free to talk about whatever interested him, but once he became famous that freedom suddenly vanished, because he had to live up to critics’ and journalists’ of what a young literary writer is like.
The Observer has a wonderful interview with and profile of Nora Roberts. I had to grin at the bit where she mentions the New York Times reporter who came to interview her and then only wrote about the decor of her house, because that’s what the New York Times always does to genre writers, send lifestyle reporters to interview them, who will then make snooty remarks of the genre writer’s clothing and furnishings. They did the same thing to Amanda Hocking a while back.
Fantasy Magazine has an overview of the weird western subgenre by Emma Bull. Almost makes me want to try my hand at writing one, though western is not my genre at all, Outlaw Love notwithstanding.