Little Miss S in a Mini Dress

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Gary Wassner, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    4,040
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    121
    So it has begun....

    Things get stale so quickly, as I've been saying for a while now. Magical Realism and the New Wierd haven't even had time to become well known enough for most poeple outside of genre to even know what the terms refer to and yet....

    'Deep Genre':

    Traditional tropes + innovative twists x (envelope pushing ideas x great new characterizations/philosophy + vision) = great new books

    What do you think? There has to be a minus sign somewhere in the equation.


    http://www.deepgenre.com/wordpress/constanceash/misc/view-2-deep-genre-genre#comments
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  2. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,053
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    173
    They claim not to be a movement, on Emerald City and that may be a good thing.

    On one hand, I see it as writers from a wide range of FSF circles (Edelman and Elliott write VERY different stuff) coming together to push the genre, as a whole, forward in all its forms.

    This is definitely a group blog (like http://www.sfnovelists.com) to bookmark and check daily.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  3. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,329
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    123
    New words, old idea.

    Personally, I think the term "deep genre" is better applied to certain tropes as used in a text, than to the text in itself.

    It's like the anchor and the boat that buoy that bobs around it. Ironically, it's the buoy that's deep.

    There'll be deep-genre-elements in nearly everything ever written. While it's nice to see people trying to write interesting stories the term seems so... apologetic. Well yes, we're writing genre, but... we're writing deep genre.

    I find the discussion about "failure" in genre fiction quite interesting. (here).
     
  4. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Frankly, the first sentence just tosses the whole thing out of the window, so far as I'm concerned.
    This sounds like setting up Genre as a straw man, and however much the Deep Genre-istas claim to the contrary, the whole thing sounds like a way of saying "gee, look how cool we are." WE "re-vitalize" the genre, as if SFF is somehow on its deathbed.
     
  5. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    4,040
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    121
    Their POV aside, what I find most interesting is that there's already a backlash against the new wave of authors, or so it seems to me, who have really been stretching the boundaries of the genre. Now don't get me wrong; I write Epic Fantasy using many of the traditional tropes, and I never questioned the validity of what I do. I have no bones to pick with anyone who wants to use different worlds and approach the fantastic from a different perspective. But I've objected to those who seemed to have bones to pick with me.

    In any case, I do think it's a piss to read this now. Deep genre? A new name for an old horse? Or is there something else they are trying to get at?
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2006
  6. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2000
    Messages:
    3,397
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    121
    It seems to me that they're looking for wider recognition of writing within the genre/outside the square. We see a lot of epic fantasists copping flack for serving up cookie cutter fantasy, and I think these guys are just asking for respect for the spin they put on the tropes. From my interpretation of what I've read Gary (I mainly focussed on Elliott's comments) they somewhat remind me of yourself - unashamedly writing epic fantasy but attempting to do so in manner that is innovative and interesting to the reader.

    What I don't get is the blog - I'm not sure they'll achieve anything with it. Most readers within the online community are either past any sort of epic fantasy or have read enough to agree with what they're saying.

    Where's the backlash against the new wave Gary? Is there yet another blog I need to start reading?
     
  7. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    4,040
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    121
    No, no backlash in the conversation, but it's in the underlying motivation for the discussion itself I believe. Why have this discussion at all if some of the authors aren't frustrated by the negative attitude that the progressive press and reader has foisted upon authors who use traditional tropes? There's so much talk about cookie cutter fantasy, BFF, clones etc etc. And Epic Fantasy in general became a byword for that to an extent. I just find it amusing that people are speaking out in favor of it now. Maybe I just have a chip on my shoulder. But honestly, among many of the cognoscenti in the genre, the fact that I didn't use a different envelope was a reason not to read me. And then to title my series GemQuest? What was I thinking? Another quest series when quest series are just so passe? Well, it just can't be good. And to top it all off, I wasn't published by Prime, Pyr or Nightshade, but by Windstorm, a non-genre press!

    I love epic fantasy. I love so much about it and so much about how it makes me feel. I also respect Mieville and Vandermeer, Gaiman, Duncan, Lynch etc etc. It's a matter of taste, not value. That's my point.

    I like what these people are saying in that blog. I just wonder where they've been hiding for the past six years.
     
  8. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, that seems to be part of it. Perhaps (even subconsciously) the Deep Genre people are elbowing out a little room for themselves, trying to gain a more recognition/credibility from the more (as they see it) traditional genre writers and readers.
    Not that there's anything wrong with that, but one of the best ways to earn that respect is to persist in creating exciting writing.
    There have been inter-blog and intra-blog conversations dealing with the use of labeling, such as Deep Genre, offensively, to further ghetto-ize the ghetto. One forum for these conversations is the Lotus Lyceum. Now the Deep Genre-istas say that they're not doing this, but does this really square with other claims, such as Deep Genre re-vitalizes the genre?
     
  9. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    4,040
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    121
    Deep genre is just another catch phrase. As any art form evolves, it either perfects itself or it dies. Natural selection, right? That doesn't meant that it has to shed the tropes that drew people to it to begin with. It doesn't mean that it has to do anything specific but remain interesting. How does an art form remain interesting? What it produces has to continue to be relevant, it has to be emotional enough to capture the hearts and minds of its audience, it has to be either fabulously entertaining or so intellectually compelling that you can't stay away from it. Or it can repeat a tried and true formula that has universal appeal and be none of the above in any innovative sense.

    New generations of readers mature constantly. They'll read things for the first time. Will they begin with the modern innovators? or with the classics? That's what's so amazing about books. They endure. If they're good enough, they never get outdated. We have to be new and special if we want to find readers because books accumulate over time. Deep genre means what? Take what we love about the best things we've read and run with them, fast enough so that people can recognize that we're not standing still but far enough so that they can see us clearly for who we are.
     
  10. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12,579
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Oh gag me with a spoon. Are they kidding? Has it gotten that desperate?

    You know, I feel like I'm back in the 1980's. Doesn't this stuff ever get old?
     
  11. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2001
    Messages:
    4,040
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    121
    Yet if you follow the conversation, they are quite serious. I always felt as if I was whining each time I complained that people were so down on traditional epic fantasy. It never occurred to me to call it something else in order to re-validate it. Certainly none of us have re-invented it. It's a big enough genre to begin with, isn't it? Though I do understand why writers using traditional tropes (as I do) might be offended by some who passed us off as passe without even reading what we've been writing.
     
  12. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12,579
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    198
    I admit I didn't follow the whole conversation, as the initial part made me feel ill. I do understand authors' concerns about being labelled one thing or another. But the problem is that they are talking about a disassociative strategy and those hardly ever work. To say that something is bad, inferior or just lacking in ambition, and to then say I am not of that, I am different, just builds animosity.

    Whereas recruitment strategies -- all fantasy has value, everybody explore and find something you like -- are much more effective and have helped to promote and develop the category in sales strength and improved reputation. Once you use the word "cliche," for instance, you aren't moving the category forward, you're moving backward, into old prejudices.

    In a way, the deep genre idea is attempting recruitment by declaring Celtic mythological elements and more modern elements like vampires to have value and to be worth pursuit and consideration. (I will not call them tropes, because IMHO, tropes is a stupid word that people use incorrectly.) This is also like the guys who are trying to resuscitate the reputation of sword & sorcery as a decent and worthy branch of fantasy. But the manifesto for this deep genre thing is put in disassociative terms, meaning that it just becomes another type of slur campaign.

    Early category writers were often sf writers and continued to write both, plus didn't limit themselves to one type of fantasy. They would write contemporary, S&S, high fantasy stories, comic and dramatic. Some writers have continued this tradition, but they are under tremendous pressure from fans to not do this and to stay in a carefully labelled box. Disassociative strategies and agendas promote this kind of creativity lockdown, ironically in the name of encouraging more creativity.

    So, in my opinion only, the deep genre idea doesn't help validate the use of familiar fantasy elements -- it just further condemns them. If authors do not stop trashing other authors as a method for trying to promote or distinguish their own work, it's going to continue to badly effect sales, whether it's framed as a "movement" or not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2006
  13. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,197
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Kat, I only mention it because I'm not sure if you'd seen it yet and because I don't see it happen often, but Guy Kay just announced his new book, which will be coming out early 2007. It's called Ysabel. It's set in modern day France, and it looks to be very similar in idea to Mythago Wood, where aspects of mythology are intruding into mundane life. It's good to see Mr. Kay going in a different direction (not that I disliked his old direction).

    The annoucement was only a week ago and this has already appeared on the forums at Brightweavings:


    So right along the lines of what you're saying, as soon as he steps out of the box, people are jumping on him.
     
  14. BrianC

    BrianC bmalone.blogspot.com

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Messages:
    705
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, Dave will just have to find someone else to live in that little box and write the stories that he wants to read. :rolleyes:

    KatG you must be a diplomat in this, or some former, life. You said what I tried to say--more directly and with more tact. It's one thing for Dave to pack writers into little boxes, only letting them out to tell him stories, but why should writers do it to each other?

    I'm beginning to think that far too many writers spend too much time being critics.
     
  15. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Messages:
    2,329
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    123
    If you read around on the page a bit you'll notice they're not shoe-boxing, really. People pipe up to say what "deep genre" means to them, as if it existed. They're not trying to shoe-box anybody; they're trying to offer a term with widest possible application and least possible use, other than to have like-minded people talk about it.

    There'll be detrimental side-effects if the revolutionaries get hold of the term, but I doubt that'll happen. It's just too tame.

    And some of the discussions there are actually interesting. (As the brief stint about "failure" as a theme in fiction I linked to above.)
     
  16. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12,579
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Actually, Mr. Kay wrote an essay post of far more eloquence than I could manage in response to Dave on his forum. I don't think we can reprint it here, but IM Erfael if you're interested.

    "Dave" is what I've come to call a traditionalist, a rather rigid group which thankfully is not too large. Of bigger size and louder vocals are the reformers, who shoe-box from the opposite direction -- there's a box labelled trash and they put you in it, while putting authors they like in the artist box.

    The authors in the deep genre discussion -- and there are some heavy hitters there, plus editors -- are not really proposing traditionalist or reformer thinking. They seem instead to be responding to those groups, and with a fair amount of frustration. I sympathize, because this is a very old argument. Dawnstorm put up a link in the Scott Lynch thread in the Fantasy forum to Lynch's blog, and the most recent item there has him telling about how Ursula LeGuin had to deal with reformers over Earthsea long ago. In the 1980's, cyberpunk sf was the hot trend and this spilled over into claims that only contemporary fantasy -- elves with computers -- was worth anything from groups of fans. Periodically in sf, there's much debate over what should be allowed to be called sf and what is otherwise masquerading junk.

    If it's just a matter of authors talking about why they write fantasy, and the value of various mythological elements and themes, then it might be helpful. But the presentation of the "deep" concept is that some authors are deep and some are not, and that deep is better -- a standard of quality, creating a caste system. If you are trying to get everybody into the pool, telling them that part of the pool is a swamp is not condusive. It's not that I think these authors shouldn't talk about these issues, but I think the discussion will get lost under the idea of who can get the gold star of "deep" and avoid the deadly badge of "comfort."

    Fiction's "marketing paradigm" is symbiotic, not competitive. That is essentially what a category market is -- a large, symbiotic block allowing 20 authors to be presented instead of 2 to an audience that will buy many such authors, rather than just 1, the most visual symbol of this partnership being the sff sections in bookstores. Publishers also package groups of mid-list authors together to promote and sell them to booksellers. Authors can team up to support and promote each other more effectively than they can alone.

    Authors do get this, which is why they get worried when authors or groups of authors get trashed. Take that Venom spat at a convention a year ago or so. This poor author reads an excerpt of another author's work that he finds strange and kind of funny, has a private conversation with pals about it, and gets jumped on visciously from all sides on the Web. Why? Because of fears that he hurt the Venom author's livelihood, where upon he was threatened with damage to his own livelihood. This kind of thing doesn't help anybody, but it does show the sort of fear that's going around.

    So what then can be done to help authors when fans argue that they should be shoe-boxed and that they belong in the inferior shoe-box? I don't think there's an easy answer for that, or we would have found it already. But I can tell you that social caste hierarchies just reinforce shoe-boxing and don't help anybody much, in my experience.
     
  17. Mathain

    Mathain agitated and opinionated

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My question is, why do they feel the *need* to do this? What is the point? What drives them to, as Kat says, "respond to those groups, with a fair amount of frustration"?

    Kat also said:

    I've read most of the authors on the Deep Genre blog, and in my un-humble opinion, I would say none of them are particularly "deep", nor particularly "quality", sadly. Monochromatic would be a nice way to describe their work, actually.
     
  18. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12,579
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Because it can effect their livelihood in building an audience and their ability to continue getting published. Word of mouth is the principle way by which fiction is sold. Bad buzz is not great news, but on the Web, it's become the science of attack. If there are groups of fans on the Internet and they declare you to be X -- whether because they don't like your work, or just because you happen to write a type of fantasy that can be loosely classified as in the same group as other authors whose stuff they don't like or dismiss as unworthy -- then you are being relegated to the X class, which means some fans won't touch you with a ten foot pole. And because this "type-casting" is usually completely inaccurate and unfair -- not to mention unnecessary to be levelled at any author -- it's rather frustrating to deal with. It's essentially being called "poor Irish trash," and you can't come to the country club.

    The problem is that authors try disassociative strategies, where they essentially agree that the X class exists, but declare themselves not to be a member of it. I'm not poor Irish trash, I'm classic British nobility! I'm not a comfort fantasy writer, I'm a literary fantasy writer! I'm not a Tolkein clone, I'm a slipstream innovator! I'm not a genre writer, I'm a deep genre writer! Sound familiar? All this doesn't make the country club culture go away, and can make it stronger. Which is ironic, because the country club class system is built upon the mistaken notion that the sub-categories used in publishing as an organizational device, are instead reflections of the inherent substance of stories and indicitive of writing quality and value.

    Whereas recruitment strategies are more effective, where you declare all flavors of fantasy to have value and be interesting (and therefore yours is valuable and interesting too.) And that's including the tie-in novels of all stripes, all film and television efforts, comic books, graphic novels, manga and anime. Instead of saying, well it's all very nice to have fantasy stories that are just for entertainment and are comforting, but I'm not writing that sort of thing; try saying that no fantasy is just about entertainment and comfort, but instead is a reflection of struggles and ideas in the human psyche. Or just say you think it's all really neat. (This is my view.) There are no poor Irish trash, you find the country club idea confusing, and you're looking forward to seeing what they do in the next Star Wars tie-in novel.

    Which is sort of what the deep genre concept is trying to do, at least as far as I can tell. But unfortunately, they are couching it in country club terms, which means it's not very effective. And plus, "deep genre" is not something publishers can really use well in the catalog copy. It becomes similar to the "what's real sf and the rest is actually fantasy" argument that goes on over in sf.

    I say unto you again, embrace the cheese! Celebrate it! Or not, but I'm still going to keep reading the stuff.
     
  19. Mathain

    Mathain agitated and opinionated

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    But Kat, don't you think that's a relatively simplistic viewpoint? It's the old "we should all just hold hands and get along with one another" syndrome, and to be quite frank, it has NEVER worked. Nor will it ever work.

    I'm much more of the opinion that tensions within the artistic fields should be encouraged, and that goes for the sff industry as well. Without tension, we would never have seen a development of the field beyond a juvenile, purile level of sff, whether we want to talk about John Campbell smacking his writers upside the head with ideas and standards or the new wave wanting to add literary styles, or the cyberpunks wanting to bring sf kicking and screaming into the present. It's the tension that creates evolution within the genre... and it isn't exactly limited to genre. Look at all of the 'movements' that have shaken up mainstream literature. Look at the modernists, the postmoderns and all of the various others. Do you think Hemingway was saying "let's all just get along? All literature is worthwhile!". Nope. Every subsequent style attempts to tear down its predecessors.

    But I'm getting off on a tangent.

    Essentially, this extended statement is a bunch of bull.

    For starters, writers DO write type X fiction, and type Y, and type Z. You seem to argue that we should not pigeonhole authors into their particular niches... but why not? Especially in the past decade or two, everything has become more niche-oriented, and that is A GOOD THING. People WANT to find the works that will appeal to their tastes! If I, for example, want to read epic fantasy, then I do not want to be told that Hal Duncan's VELLUM is epic fantasy. When I plop down my credit card to buy a book, I want some sense of what I'm getting, not a blank slate! I WANT categories and niches and identifiable works - and that part of it does not have anything to do with the relative merits of the works in question.

    But where you really move into bull territory is in your thinking the internet buzz and squabbles and discussions have any real impact on an author's sales, which just isn't true. Online is a lot like Fandom, in that it may be vocal, and it may seem like there are a lot of people... but in truth it is a miniscule subsegment of the actual readers that are buying books. Try it some time; sit around in the SFF section of a bookstore and do a poll to see how many of them have ever visited SFFWorld, for instance. This is a puddle. The overwhelming majority of people are untouched by the online communities.

    Further, just how many people are actually influenced by what is said online? We squabble here plenty, but how many people have changed their minds based on what others have said? Have YOU changed your mind, Kat? Do you suddenly believe that only urban fantasy is worth your time?

    Ummmmm... which subcategories are those? Last time I looked, there are no slipstream sections in the bookstore. Nor urban fantasy. Nor epic fantasy. These are emphatically NOT publishing categories! These are descriptions that we within the genre have made ourselves.

    And where have you actually seen labels used as an indicator of writing quality or value? Where? I haven't ever seen it. I've seen plenty of people decry one mode or another (for instance, your particular whipping horse seems to be the New Weird [which, entertainingly, isn't even a category that is used by anyone to describe anything!]), but where was it decided that Type A fiction is inherently superior to type B fiction?

    This made me choke, to be honest. Especially since you have displayed a certain ignorance over many different types of fantasy, as well as a distinct lack of knowledge of the history of the genres. (Sorry! But you said you didn't even know any of the writers that I listed in the other thread that are acknowledged classics of fantasy!) Are John Norman's slave girl bondage fantasies of value? Why are all flavors of fantasy interesting, when so many rely on overused tropes, simplistic storylines, cardboard characters, etc? Should these be encouraged?

    Perhaps. If this were true. Sadly, it is a fantasy in itself; there are many, many books (and, to again be incredibly frank, authors) that are not.
     
  20. KatG

    KatG The Bony Hand of Death Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Messages:
    12,579
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Mathain, calm down dude! I don't know that I can do your whole post at once, but let me try to clarify here. (Not that we'll likely agree on everything.)

    I've been reading fantasy since I was a kid. As a teenager, I got into adult sff, which made me a weird girl at that time. Then I became a weird woman, and then a weird person (a victory for feminism.) I have continually been told that fantasy is trash, that wanting to write it is stupid. So being told that some fantasy is trash and that wanting to read it or anybody wanting to write it is stupid, does not make much of an impression on me. I've also been told continually for two decades that sff or various parts of it are perpetually in danger of collapse and will be destroyed by the evil forces of one type of trash or another that will take over like kudzu, even as fantasy has grown larger, more international, more varied, more successful and more respected and valued by the mainstream. (Yes, I know, I know, but compared to the past, it's a big improvement in the respect and value area.) So again, this issue is a non-issue for me, and feels very repetitive.

    It's continually worked, IMO. It's the main reason that fantasy has grown larger and become more successful. It's the reason that non-category fantasy writers are now courting category audiences, and that they're now doing mainstream columns about category sff titles. By presenting fantasy as the place to be, rather than as a slum-sewer that has a few nice things, category fantasy has built on its small initial specialty market. By positioning fantasy as a major force in pop culture, all fantasy takes on more value, overcoming the paperback curse.

    Non-fiction and other mediums like music use both competitive strategies and symbiotic ones to sell, but predominantly competitive ones. Fiction flips it -- they use almost all symbiotic strategies, the goal being to build and expand the reading audience. A category market bunches a lot of similar books together in an attempt to get readers to buy not just one author, but a lot of authors, including new ones. Bundling authors for promotional purposes and displays, sff conventions where groups of authors are made familiar to fans, author blurb quotes on the covers, using a bestseller to launch a bunch of newer or midlist authors; if you like this, then you might like this -- all symbiotic, not competitive.

    Yes, I'm familiar with the whole revolutionary thing, which does tend to get undercut by the fact that the publishers putting out the revolutionaries and the status quo (who were revolutionary in their day,) are the same ones, and not above exploiting the revolutionary underdog idea for marketing purposes. I'm all for movements and encouraging creativity, and I've speculated in these forums on whether authors do need obstacles or the illusion of obstacles to move forward.

    But authors in a movement are bundled together symbiotically for the purposes of marketing that movement, which then adds on to and expands the previous market, not replaces it. These authors don't tear down; they simply go in a different direction. And the movement rises on the substance of what the authors are trying to do in their work, not because they trash-talk other, older writers. As far as I'm aware, for fiction writing, verbally trashing another author or group of authors has not been shown to contribute significantly to an author's marketing or sales. It might even have a negative effect, though that's unclear.

    No, I'm not arguing we shouldn't or don't have sub-categories. You didn't look at what I'm saying. You asked me why the authors feel the need to respond to accusations of groups like traditionalists and reformers. I'm explaining that these authors feel threatened. (Whether they actually are threatened or not in the market is an arguable point. I believe they are probably less threatened than they fear.) If you are a fantasy author and you are accused of being comfort fantasy just because you write epic fantasy, that's a difficult situation.

    Again, you were not reading my post clearly. I am not saying that the on-line community necessarily has a strong negative impact on sales. (I do believe it has a strong positive impact on sales and on the establishment of small sff presses.) You asked me why these authors felt the need to respond. I am explaining that they worry that the on-line community is going to have a strong negative impact on sales if they are tarred and feathered with a derogatory label by it. They also worry about negative reviews posted by trolls on Amazon, etc. I think they worry way too much about this stuff and the defensive stance they take toward it is ineffective.

    I am also saying that trashing your fellow authors en masse in an attempt to avoid such negative labels is not a very effective strategy, in my view, which is what this deep genre thing inadvertantly does.

    If a sub-category got a section in a bookstore, it wouldn't be a sub-category anymore, it would be a category with a large enough fan audience on its own to support a whole individual market. Official sub-categories are used in publishing in cover copy, catalog copy, in promotional materials and the like, as a quick form of communication with fans (so you know it's epic when you use your credit card,) and booksellers. When you see on the book that they put technothriller, or supernatural fantasy or Regency romance, that's an official sub-category. Non-official sub-categories are those terms that get bandied around by fans, reviewers, and others in the sff community.

    Well I'm happy for you that you haven't, as I hate it. But I have seen it on-line, in reviews and other writings. For many, epic fantasy equals trash. Tie-in novels equal trash. Contemporary fantasy equals good, or trash. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I do dislike that a bunch of authors, by virtue of being in the same sub-category, then get told that means they must write awful stuff.

    Actually, I really like New Weird fiction, and I've seen several publishers use the term for their titles in catalog copy at their sites or on Amazon and such, which seems to have made it an official sub-category, at least for the moment. I would prefer a different name for it, I admit, but others picked it and use it. A portion of fans of New Weird -- not all of them, just some -- tend to go after authors who do not write New Weird, and this is the sort of thing that has gotten a lot of these authors a little nervous. Whether they really need to be so nervous is again up for debate. But Gary, for instance, has encountered prejudices as a writer of epic fantasy that led him to bring this topic up. (Not that I'm saying he agrees with me in any way.)

    Did I say I didn't know them or that I hadn't read them? I do know Peake for instance, but haven't read his works yet. I'll respect your right to believe that I'm ignorant about types of fantasy or the history of the genres, but obviously I disagree, though I certainly don't know everything. In any case, that has nothing to do with the fact that in fiction publishing, recruitment strategies are routinely employed and do seem to work.

    Well they were interesting, especially the Priest-Kings part.

    Yes, they should. And they often have personal value to readers, and may have long term value for people, even if they don't personally for you. Because you never know where creativity is going to spring from and how writers are going to develop. And telling writers they can't write something does not encourage creativity. It represses it, IMO.

    But the key issue is that when you declare fantasy fiction to be a sewer, it tends to reinforce the idea that all fantasy fiction is a sewer, includng the authors you like. If we really want to lose the reputation that category fantasy is trash, then it might help if we stopped trashing fantasy. And it would be my suggestion to fantasy authors that instead of buying into the derogatory labels, fearing them, and coming up with weird ways to disassociate themselves from them, they ignore them as not worth their time. (Which seemed to be what you were saying, but I might have misunderstood you.)

    In your opinion. Which is a perfectly decent opinion; it's just not the only one out there on the planet. Neither is mine.