Sunday, November 20, 2005

“I just work here. I write the books, and other people tell me what genre they are.”

my editor started saying things like “dark fantasy.” This turned my head completely around. Sure, I was a little surreal, funky, even, but I felt “fantasy” was taking it a bit too far. My husband very gently poured me a cup of tea, sat me down and told me that, strictly speaking, animals don’t talk, mazes are cute little things made out of cardboard they put up for Halloween carnivals, and angels are supposed to be androgynous and sexless, so they can’t really be queer. Oh, and there’s no such thing as angels, anyway.

You are not a realist, he said. Realism doesn’t have alligators preaching the gospel.

Then realism is stupid, I said, and it was a crocodile.

Link via Mumpsimus. You should read the whole article, which is not only funny but makes a very important point: the term 'fantasy', which should by all rights refer to unbridled imagination, to worlds that exist outside the recognized boundaries of reality, to anything and everything that is impossible and strange, has come to mean a very specific, very rigid form that follows in the footsteps of one (monumental, deservedly influential) work. It isn't just writers who are concerned with labeling their work as fantasy--it's readers. Only last week I saw a poster on Readerville trying seriously to make the point that China Miéville and Susannah Clarke aren't fantasists.

It's a world askew.

1 comment:

Dancing Crow said...

You can create all you wish, in the end though, your readers will define your creation for you,

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