Peeve of the Day

I can’t decide whether this article in the New York Times is more insulting to Mormons (which I am not one of) or to writers of genre fiction (which I am):

Mormons Offer Cautionary Lesson on Sunny Outlook vs. Literary Greatness

But I do know that after a while, the unquestioned assumption that science fiction, fantasy, and young adult/children’s fiction are inherently lesser literary forms gets really, really old.

It has gotten better over the years, at least a little bit.  With science fiction and fantasy having taken over so much of popular culture, at least it’s no longer the case that reading and writing the stuff is grounds for labeling someone a dangerous weirdo, or a pathetic basement-dweller, or a member of the tinfoil-hat brigade.

No, these days it merely labels us as not serious.

(It’s worse if you’re female.  Being a girl means you start out with negative seriousness points.)

Granted, it’s good to be no longer reflexively sneered at by the likes of the New York Times.  But being reflexively patronized isn’t all that much better.

2 thoughts on “Peeve of the Day

  1. That assumption is, in fact, a large part of why I abandoned grad studies, though not the only part.

    Just today a fellow English teacher informed me, I hope unaware of what I write, that she does not allow her kids to read Science Fiction because, after all, “Nothing of note has ever been written in that genre.” I refrained from asking her if it was dark, where her head was, and simply emailed her a list later of literarily well-regarded SFF. I shudder to think of the disagreements we might have if I ever publish and it gets recognized.

  2. It could be worse; you could write romance fiction.

    The literary establishment’s low regard for genre is one of the reasons why, when I went on to grad school, I chose to specialize in medieval literature instead of modern. (The other reason, of course, being that I liked medieval literature more.)

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