Is it time for a new genre? - Page 4


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Thread: Is it time for a new genre?

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    That sounds really intriguing, and ideas come to mind. Can you elaborate about what you had in mind?

    war stories that delve into the causes of violence (political ambition) and the suffering and casualties (perspective of the citizens) and the pointlessness of it all.
    SciFi akin to Childhoods End, or delves into subjects of the human condition (intolerance, species prejudice).

    Subjects like that.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    war stories that delve into the causes of violence (political ambition) and the suffering and casualties (perspective of the citizens) and the pointlessness of it all.
    SciFi akin to Childhoods End, or delves into subjects of the human condition (intolerance, species prejudice).

    Subjects like that.
    Yes, I can see that being very popular and timely. Authors have to find ways to stay relevant. I think some people are craving an explanation to the madness that is happening in politics right now. We seem to have slipped into this black and white world, where free speech is exhalted but much of it is noise drowning out the truth. I could see the younger generation questioning how governments really work so they can find a better way. They will be looking for a sincere perspective to draw their opinions, and set their path.

    The pendulum may swing away from mindless, tribalist, drivel to more introspective literature. Nietzschesque in nature.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    I'm on a couple of servers on discord but haven't seen anything like this. Can you recommend any that fit the bill?
    Unfortunately, no. It's something my son does. He tells me about it, but I don't understand half of what he's talking about.

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    Yes, I can see that being very popular and timely. Authors have to find ways to stay relevant. I think some people are craving an explanation to the madness that is happening in politics right now. We seem to have slipped into this black and white world, where free speech is exhalted but much of it is noise drowning out the truth. I could see the younger generation questioning how governments really work so they can find a better way. They will be looking for a sincere perspective to draw their opinions, and set their path.

    The pendulum may swing away from mindless, tribalist, drivel to more introspective literature. Nietzschesque in nature.
    Actually - that's the sort of SciFi I write, and have used a nonhuman character to give perspective on humanity. The trick though, and it can be tough to do on certain subjects, is to write objectively. Tell the story from the character's perspective.

    My first book, Dark Side of Joy, was about a boy taken from his criminal parents. He went through juvie (essentially kid jail), then abusive foster care, then lived on the street surviving by selling heroin. I wrote that during the time when children of illegal immigrants were being taken from their parents, as a means of saying - putting kids in jail because of things their parents have done has been going on for a long time, and yet no one objected to it.

    My second book, The Last Dragon, was about real estate developers converting ethnic neighborhoods into cookie cutter business districts.

    My Extinction series is about the future spiritual evolution of humanity. Each of the books took a different subject, tyranny, the inherit violence of politics, intolerance, relationships and sexism, and finally spirituality and religion.

    As a reader, I search for books that have some meaning to them. Car chases, army maneuvers, shoot-em-up stories, monsters chasing people around - for me, all that is meaningless unless there point to the story other than mindless entertainment.

    I'm probably an outlier though - so keep that in mind.

  5. #35

  6. #36
    I haven’t read everyone’s responses yet, so I’m sorry if I repeat anything, but I think our technology is connecting ideas, people, and genres more and more and I think that will affect how we want to experience our reading. What if you felt like you could influence a story in real time? What about the line between story and gaming. I think that line might blur. I also think it will just get more this way so that a fairly unknown composer might pair with a fairly unknown author might pair with an unknown illustrator and might join with existing fans to create a music score, art and interactive pieces to a work. Which would be so cool! I think blending between all of these things can happen more and more.

    About journalism... a lot could happen with a creative story of an imaginary someone or a real someone who gets highlighted in any conflict in real time so that people can better put together what is happening to people when their town is getting bombed, for instance or when there is terror from cartels or when there is a volcano. I personally really want something like this... a interview isn’t enough, reality TV is nothing like this, and I (and I’m sure others) want to be able to follow someone through real crisis. Just the thing is... then people won’t stand for it happening and won’t stand for people to not get aid and I want that! Big time! Show me a kid in a cage, show me a Kurd getting bombed out, show me all of it. I think anyway.... I hope people wouldn’t stand to not help in those cases. Ugh.... I want to have faith in people, anyway.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    First Time I have heard of fan fiction. Interesting. Not sure how I feel about it. For those of you who don't know, it's fiction written by fans of existing books/TV shows/movies, using existing characters. It is rarely published, because most of it infringes copyright. I wonder how the copyright holders feel about it. On the one hand it's stealing their well-established characters, but then on the other hand I could see how they may find it useful if there is that much interest and activity. It's almost like free advertising, like for example for the Star Trek series, which I take it was the first one used for the genre. I could also see a huge market for characters from classics coming back to life. Who doesn't want to read about Holden Caulfield again. Although I just noticed that Salinger is still alive at 91. I wonder if it makes a big difference if the author is living or dead.
    I think it is fine as long as it isn't published. I don't really see why anyone would have an issue with that. I mean sure some of it is cringeworthy and bad, but someone cares about your work/characters enough to try to continue it. I think that is admirable and certainly not an easy task. I would struggle writing FanFiction personally.

  8. #38
    We don't need a new genre, we need new material but there is absolutely no need for the perpetual fads and tribalism associated with genre to persist as some sort of designed entity.

    Genre is such a weak term now, so open to overlap, that people can (and do) debate endlessly on what it is. Just about any author trying to submit work has to go through this whole, tortuous game of trying to distill the varying facets of their work down to a singular -- or, at most, double-barreled -- label, to try to 'make it fit'. It's ultimately not a legitimate exercise.

    It's an important exercise, though, simply because publishers are lazy and superficial (because readers are lazy and superficial) so we must play such games, but there is no book that has ever been enhanced by a label. Is Frankenstein better for being considered horror, science fiction, or the loose term 'gothic', or all of the three? Something different entirely, perhaps? Nobody knows. It bares only weak resemblance to most other horror, science fiction or gothic novels so even by agreeing on a label we have not exactly accomplished much.

    Yet hours of life have been expended debating the topic, and almost certainly more words written in critique than the book ever contained. More conflict too, no doubt. Which is the bigger horror story, a horror story itself or the hand-wringing waste that goes into debating Said Horror Story?

    What is 'paranormal fiction' and why is it important to distinguish it from 'horror fiction'? There are answers to that, I'm sure. The question isn't whether you can argue for the validity of most of these genres but whether you need to. A paranormal fiction story could be said to be different to a horror fiction story because...I don't know...it's less scary? Says who, then? And what about all the other non-horror stories that are generally considered to be very scary? Is Jaws a horror story? Not really. Most horror publishers probably wouldn't give it a glance. It's potentially pretty scary, though, right?

    Point being, uh, this is not necessary, guys. Music is a little different (not much, but a little bit) because musical genres are traditionally built on things that are objectively there or not there. It's not possible to disagree over whether rap music is or is not rap music -- if it contains rapping then it is rap music. But even then, yeah, I think it's pretty stupid and in many respects becoming or already become as vague -- I have no idea what 'Indie Music' means anymore. Moreover, I often wonder how many people would like rap or blues or jazz or whatever else if they were absolutely oblivious to it being 'something separate' to the Kind Of Music They Like and the sad truth is we won't know. Often, when we talk about genres, we are talking about ourselves -- our tribal identity.

    I don't totally dismiss the need for genre entirely, though. The traditional genres made a little bit of sense as a means to classify what a reader may want to get out of their writing, or at least avoid. For example, somebody who is lonely and depressed may find it useful to visit the 'romance' section of a library so they can read something that includes a happy ending -- one of the requirements of romantic fiction -- and may have found it useful to avoid 'horror'. To that extent, a genre can be argued as making some sense. I would still probably say it wasn't a net good thing, but it's pretty benign.

    Less benign is the garbage that revolves around aesthetics and fads and I-want-exactly-this-setting-and-this-type-of-character-and-this-time-period-or-else-I-won't-enjoy-it. Stuff that is aesthetically based, aimed at regurgitating a shortlist of tropes according to formula, and capturing 'a readership' who is extremely loyal to it and reject others. Steampunk, for example, is entirely vapid as a genre. So is cyberpunk. So is Weird Fiction, techno-thriller, 'chick lit'. These are all squishy, juvenile subcultures masquerading as 'genres' designed to facilitate a tribal approach that distracts from the original point of literature (which is/was, overall, to find or learn something new) and merely becomes a fairly brainless exercise, sort of like watching A Christmas Story for the fiftieth time in your life 'because it's that time of year'.

    People can disagree, though! I personally don't reread books almost ever, don't see the point and don't understand those who do. Books, in my opinion, just aren't there to be re-read. The written word should be there to challenge, perhaps even alter one's perspectives, not merely be a primitive episode in an endless soap opera or a re-watched movie. If you read something properly you should not need to read it again because everything that mattered should have stayed with you the first time and everything that matters now exists in the vast sea of what you have not read yet. People who re-read Harry Potter over and over strike me as odd.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    We don't need a new genre, we need new material but there is absolutely no need for the perpetual fads and tribalism associated with genre to persist as some sort of designed entity.
    So glad to hear you say this! Art is supposed to be creative, not formulaic.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Genre is such a weak term now, so open to overlap, that people can (and do) debate endlessly on what it is. Just about any author trying to submit work has to go through this whole, tortuous game of trying to distill the varying facets of their work down to a singular -- or, at most, double-barreled -- label, to try to 'make it fit'. It's ultimately not a legitimate exercise.
    I have stopped trying to do this myself, because frankly, it is soul-destroying.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I don't totally dismiss the need for genre entirely, though. The traditional genres made a little bit of sense as a means to classify what a reader may want to get out of their writing, or at least avoid. For example, somebody who is lonely and depressed may find it useful to visit the 'romance' section of a library so they can read something that includes a happy ending -- one of the requirements of romantic fiction -- and may have found it useful to avoid 'horror'. To that extent, a genre can be argued as making some sense. I would still probably say it wasn't a net good thing, but it's pretty benign.
    Yes, I think basic classifications make sense for practical terms. I was pleased to see one of the agents I have been researching has simplified her search to basic categories:
    Commercial fiction
    Literary fiction
    Upmarket women's fiction
    Historical fiction
    Suspense
    Fantasy
    Young Adult
    Middle grade
    Like she doesn't want to miss out on something new and original because the author gets discouraged by not finding a perfectly correlating genre. And to me these make more sense, because it is likely how a bookstore or library might break things out.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Less benign is the garbage that revolves around aesthetics and fads and I-want-exactly-this-setting-and-this-type-of-character-and-this-time-period-or-else-I-won't-enjoy-it. Stuff that is aesthetically based, aimed at regurgitating a shortlist of tropes according to formula, and capturing 'a readership' who is extremely loyal to it and reject others. Steampunk, for example, is entirely vapid as a genre.
    I don't really know what a trope is. I only recently welcomed the terms POV and genre into my vocabulary. But the word "trope", sounds cynical to me, and anti-creative, so I'm not even going to google it...just ignore it.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Books, in my opinion, just aren't there to be re-read. The written word should be there to challenge, perhaps even alter one's perspectives, not merely be a primitive episode in an endless soap opera or a re-watched movie. If you read something properly you should not need to read it again because everything that mattered should have stayed with you the first time and everything that matters now exists in the vast sea of what you have not read yet. People who re-read Harry Potter over and over strike me as odd.
    Yeah, the Harry Potter thing I don't really get either. But recently, I have been re-reading some of the books that had an impact on me when I was young. Can't remember much, so still a captivating read. What's really interesting is the before and after. How I related to things then and how I relate to things now. There were a few books I wished I hadn't read. Now I can see where a bad influence snuck in and lead to a less than perfect decision.
    Sometimes in the waves of change we find our new direction...
    - unknown

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor View Post
    Yes, I think basic classifications make sense for practical terms. I was pleased to see one of the agents I have been researching has simplified her search to basic categories:
    Commercial fiction
    Literary fiction
    Upmarket women's fiction
    Historical fiction
    Suspense
    Fantasy
    Young Adult
    Middle grade
    Like she doesn't want to miss out on something new and original because the author gets discouraged by not finding a perfectly correlating genre. And to me these make more sense, because it is likely how a bookstore or library might break things out.
    Yeah, it's still not ideal though, because she is still basing her genres around things that nobody actually needs to use as categories.

    Historical fiction is the most glaring example of something that is obvious bullshit as a genre. Historical fiction is any story that is set in a defined historical period, which is a controversial identifier itself -- the eighties is not yet historical, the fifties is getting there, the twenties is, the 19th century definitely is -- okay, great, now who is deciding this? Strike one.

    That isn't so important, though. We can agree there is a sort of unspoken sense as to what 'feels historical', right? Okay, but what else is fundamental to this 'genre'? Nothing. Nothing, that is, that defines the story itself. I can rewrite absolutely any story, whether it be a murder mystery, psychological thriller, sexy romance or slasher and so long as I make it 'historical' enough it's 'historical fiction'. That makes it, as a genre, completely worthless. It means that, once again, it is relying not on anything meaningful or necessary but on whether people want to read about characters in dresses and top hats.

    Even there, it fails, because my 'historical fiction' might be about Romans and Romans Did Not Wear Top Hats. It's not even useful as an identifier of setting. All historical fiction can be assumed to mean is 'no cellphones in this story'.

    Fantasy? I don't know what that means either. According to wikipedia 'fantasy is set in a fictional universe'. Okay, well, a lot of stories that definitely aren't considered fantasy can be set in 'fictional universes' of some sort. It's not even true, there are plenty of fantasy books set in the ordinary universe, or something closely resembling it as to make little difference. Again, that isn't to say it's not obvious what is and is not fantasy, however it is true that it's mostly nothing to do with the definition and everything to do with creatures and costumes. It's an aesthetic distinction, not a literary one, which is fine but -- again -- totally superficial and not useful to anybody who wants to actually read.

    Young Adult and Middle Grade are simply age groups for marketing (virtually all of genre is for marketing). Calling something YA means not very much except that it's about a kid and to be read by a kid. Might as well have a genre called 'American Fiction': About Americans and for Americans to read. It's that meaningful.

    I don't really know what a trope is. I only recently welcomed the terms POV and genre into my vocabulary. But the word "trope", sounds cynical to me, and anti-creative, so I'm not even going to google it...just ignore it.
    I love tropes. Used properly, they're really useful and important, mainly as something to be subverted.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

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