2.21.2004

Genre Idiosyncrasies

I find all the talk of genre idiosyncrasies fascinating.

Alan Lattimore begins the discussion here.

Matthew Cheney takes off from there.

(Matthew and I discuss various implications here.)

And, not so tangentially in my mind, Alan talks further about the genre in regards to Jonathan Lethem's essay.

My first response to Lethem (and to Gabe) essentially said that SF turned its back on the literary culture long ago, but of course it is much more complex than that. In the process of separation, I believe, it's developed an art quite different from the tradition literary culture (the "Who Shot SF?" essay attempted to point out one aspect of its art through Robert Sheckley as did this other essay on another aspect of genre art where stories that may seem insubstantial separately add up to something more thought provoking)--an art which, if we recognize it, we also tend to turn our back on since it's that big scary unknown thing we call art. But acceptance of art in the genre goes through its cycles. (An academic essay was floating somewhere on the web regarding Lethem's essay--where "Who Shot SF?" had become a footnote--although I cannot find it now for further references.)

In fact, I propose that SFF continues to invent new art forms, it just doesn't know it. This is what I've been trying to get people excited about and encouraged about and to get us to EXPLORE FURTHER for a while now (I made one proposal of a new art form within the Interstitial movement, but since it didn't encompass the whole movement, it's been downplayed, but I hope it eventually gets air-time.) We could be on the tip of a huge iceberg.

I'm not yet sure where Gabe's going on the main website, but his ideas are starting to gel and excite me--is he on the verge of a conceptual breakthrough? I shall wait with bated breath. (If not, who cares? It's the attempt that's important, and as Tarkovsky says, "If one were to perform the same single act..., the world would be changed." I hope we one day fulfill Jeff Ford's prophecy: "They eventually lead to other universes." Is this just hype? Or the real thing? Stay tuned to find out.)

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