August 19th, 2010, 04:10 PM #16
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- Apr 2009
Literary phenomenon put in a tag line != Fantastic work of Literature . I think the failing here is how you choose to take the praise the series received.
I don't get your point mostly because you have barely made one.
Many amazing books have come out along WITH Twilight. Books that get no where near as much praise.
Right , so you're upset because Twilight has gotten more media time than some more literary novels ? When has this not been the case ? In fact outside outside of whatever is the latest pop-culture craze ( Twilight , Brown , Harry Potter etc) when do books ever get much mainstream media attention.
Those who would be interested in those other novels will either know about them or more likely at least know where to find out about them.
So the main argument is 'Heck, these people are reading!'
'But they'll never read again...'
Is that not a contridiction?
Okay, look, the way it is. If you have no friends, at all, if all you want is to be part of a social circle, and thus you accsept the first group of people to want you it doesn't make it right. They might still be shallow, petty, useing assholes.
I'm just, personally, not a person to accept things because 'at least you've got friends/at least they're reading.'
Books like Twilight have their place in the industry, they are integral to the industries survival . I have never read a Meyer novel , and have no real desire to change that. I don't however feel the need to rage over it's success or make assumptions about it's readership.
Why don't you give us an example of a book you think deserved praise , but maybe didn't receive it or the sales you think it deserved. I'm not arguing that Twilight is some amazing work of literature , but I don't think that it it and its ilk never existed that millions would flock to 'serious' fiction.
August 19th, 2010, 04:26 PM #17
The problem here is that every point you are raising is irrelevant to my actual debate. (That's what this is meant to be, by the way, not a strawman mish-mass of 'How dare you think this?')
Twilight is a smut book. Popular, peddled smut. It consists of weak plots, mostly focussing around a romance where a (debatably) vampire boy thinks some human girl smells nice and the girl thinks he is hot. The author has created a smut romance and inserted it into a genre that sells well and generates huge fan bases.
Fine. They have to exist, as you say.
Why, though, should we praise them? Should we be happy just to be presented with a novel and lose every thought in our mind that tells us 'Oh heck, si this the way mainstream lit is going?'
Do not praise a book that does not deserve it. Even if that book is popular.
If someone comes up with an amazing argument and series of point as to why Twilight (and others) are amazing, then fine, praise it. But no body so far has. Everyone's arguments have been 'I'm so happy to see my teenager read!', and 'Oh, the story of those 2 lovers is so unique and magical and forbidden!'
There are many young adult books (fantasy or not) that are of a higher writing quality, have deeper plots, more rounded characters and include actual issues other than 'Oh no, should I do my boyfriend before we get married?'
A Great and Terrible Beauty
Blood and Chocolate
Naughts and Crosses
Many more that I don't know as I don't read young adult books that much anymore.
Then, there are the classics that prehaps people beggining to read should be introduced too.
I honestly don't know how to make this ANY clearer. It's not that the poor book exists. It's not that the poor book is loved. It's that the poor book is praised without reason.
August 19th, 2010, 04:33 PM #18
I agree with some of Rulkez' points. It is true that exactly the success of Twilight and the likes finances the publication of less-successful but potentially worthier books. It is also true that to most of Meyer's fans the series is not "great literature" because, frankly, they don't care about literature and they don't see those books as such, so they don't need to proove anything in that direction. It is also true that - annoying as it is that books like these become pop-culture phenomena - there is no real problem in this, apart from a sad conclusion about the mass audience's intelligence and tastes.
That said, all the above are generalizations. And - as with most generalizations - the exceptions could be rather extreme. It is true that less commercial works are published on the strength of the sales of more... uh... crappy literature, but it is also true that publishers work with slots. They can only publish a limited number of novels per year. So, you are a publisher and you have a choice between the debut novel of someone who could turn out to be the next Hal Duncan or China Mieville, and Bitten By the Night, Part 48 of The Vampires of Passionville. Which one do you choose?
And it is really a matter of perspective. I happen to know an example of exactly this retarded attitude that Luya describes. One of the most vocal fans in my country is like that. He has a site, a real-life club that gives annual awards, he appears on national TV and radio... and he is the one that got that abomination Robert Stanek translated and published. He also firmly believes that sales = quality and his favorite books are always the ones that sell best for the current year, as well as their clones. He is influential enough that people listen to him and form opinions based on his words. It's a sad picture, and deeply disgusting.
And I stand by my words that you mocked on the previous page - publishers should form tastes, not just react to them. Perhaps I am naive enough not to be pragmatically cynical... or perhaps I am mature enough not to. Who knows.
Last edited by Roland 85; August 19th, 2010 at 04:35 PM.
August 19th, 2010, 04:43 PM #19
If poorly written but popular books at least help get lss well-known authors and their works, which might be amazing, off the ground then that's a positive. But do you think it's a positive thing that we need that? We need a poorly written smut book to be able to explore, as a society, deeper or more fluently written works that, though they may have been published, I still have not heard people speak of above those lesser books.
Generalizations sucks, unfortunetly, we need them to form oppinion and debate and grow. Because, otherwise nothing would apply to anything. XD
Here is one huge generalization. Celebrity book clubs. You know like Oprah or Richard and Judy? Never been a fan myself but they have always recommended good books. I assume this is because they have some kind of agent or publisher working for their show. Yet, when a bad book comes out, one that is clearly smut, if over a certain number of people like it they go along with it and promote it. It's shameless. But not even with any kind of 'This is amazing because ___' Just 'OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH!' Like Roland says.
I think it's a certain way of lieing to yourself.
August 19th, 2010, 05:14 PM #20
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People seem to be forgetting that according to some critics, fantasy is by default crap literature (because it is "not real" ). According to the way society sees it, we (fantasy fans/writers) don't have the literary high ground. So who are we to judge? (SF gets a tad more respect, but still not much).
Personally, while I'm not a fan of Twilight or Dan Brown, I don't like most books that are highly praised by critics either. I consider myself a "middle ground" reader and I see nothing wrong with that. Ultimately everyone reads for entertainment: Those who like "literature" are simply entertained by different things than those who like Brown. Good/bad taste doesn't exist in the absolute.
August 19th, 2010, 05:19 PM #21
I think alot of books praised highly are done so because they are overly written, overly descriptive, overly Philosophical, overly ethical, include 'morally grey' issues and different cultures. That's a whole other topic though.
I like to read a book and make my own mind up, so critics rarely come into it for me. With the internet, their job has been basically irradicated.
August 19th, 2010, 05:20 PM #22
Your problem is with how the media praises Twilight, correct? Well when a book like this one has such a massive fanbase, the media will give the majority of the people what they want and the people don't want to hear their favorite book ragged on. Obviously that isn't a good thing and I agree with your point but that's just how the media works and I doubt it will change anytime soon.
August 19th, 2010, 05:47 PM #23
But you're right. It's how they are. Yet saying 'It's not going to change' fuels it.
When people complain about medical treatments, goverments, etc, the mainstream media always have some half-assed way to show us we can't have what we want. Only the little things.
August 19th, 2010, 05:52 PM #24
August 19th, 2010, 05:56 PM #25
Just go all Nietzsche on it. All truths are held to be true, yet not all are equal. They can be defined and put on a scale by how practical they are, how evident, how subjective/objective, etc. Same is true for tastes and books.
August 19th, 2010, 07:04 PM #26
Luya, it sounds like you are raging against the Machine. But you know what? The machine already won: it won years, decades, centuries, even millennium ago. In this context the Machine manifests as a cold, hard truth, which is quite simple: for every "good" book that sells, ten "crap" books will sell. It is a simple, basic rule of human culture and art: crap sells, quality doesn't (at least usually; there are always exceptions).
What do I mean by "good" and "crap"? Well, there is a subjective element, but as some have noted, there is more to it than that. Debbie Gibson and Miles Davis are not "equally good." Debbie Gibson created crappy, facile pop music that has been forgotten for twenty years and Miles Davis is a musical genius whose music has, and will continue to, influenced thousands.
But it is something a bit more subtle than that, whether we're talking about artistic influence, nuance, complexity, etc. It is a living quality that makes a work of art "good." I'll leave it at that for now.
I'm with Pelfrey in that I tend to dislike both "low" and "high brow," but I wouldn't call my taste middle ground, or at least I would say that it is in the vast, teeming Middle Realms that the true art lies. I just think that both the low and high brow ends of the spectrum are too intentional; the former tries to sell through assembling cheap cliches and gimmicks, the latter tries to be Great Literature™ by being clever, witty, and ironic. Both are more along the lines of what Coleridge called fancy, which doesn't tap into the true imagination but instead assembles and regurgitates. Both lack imagination and both fill the void with pre-assembled pieces, re-fabricated, and essentially dead. The difference is that the high-brow does it with cunning and erudition, but not with vitality, soul or imagination.
One of the reasons I love fantasy and science fiction and read very little mainstream literature (whether low or high brow) is that it tends to focus on Story, and Story is the primary vehicle for myth and the imagination, even if unwittingly by the author. In other words, even if an author isn't trying to channel imagination or myth, it will sometimes rear its head up and write itself into the book. Anyone who has tried their hand at writing knows the feeling when the story starts writing you, when you are but a vehicle for Something Else.
This Something Else rarely emerges within the most commercial of fantasy, but it also tends to get closed out of the doors of Literary Fantasy™, which is similar to the Hallowed Halls of Academia in that it keeps both the rabble (commercial fiction), the whackos (unpublishables), and the true geniuses (???) out. It cannot differentiate them.
The key, I think, is for the writer to engage his or her work as a voyage of discovery, of self-inquiry and contemplation of humanity and the world, not as an exercise in cleverness or erudition, or a means to get disenfranchised teenagers to live vicariously through a paper-thin protagonist. The key is to tell a Story to discover where it goes.
A tangent, I know. But hopefully it is related.
August 19th, 2010, 07:19 PM #27
Telling a story, self discovery... These are wonderful things. Yet, if you look at the 'crap' (and I agree with your sort-of definition there) doesn't do either of these. Crap tells an already-existing story with added elements for the sake of self-insertion, self-happiness, or at the lowest point, publicity and money.
All I hope for is that, if an author stays true to the goal of telling their story and learning something from it then they shall be satisfied and will have grown. Even if it does not become popular or it's critique is low brow, high brow or non-existant, others may come to read and learn from it as well.
I seriously wish it didn't have to be this way. But, then again, if the media started holding up the greats we might all get fed up of them for the sake of it.
August 19th, 2010, 09:19 PM #28
I like Luya. She is creating a kick-ass fantasy world. I am not going to drop a pile of ink on her head. (Luya, if you happen to be male, sorry about that; I'm just going with your female-looking avatar for the moment.)
I am, however, laughing my head off over her bringing Stephen King into this, the guy who has for thirty years been reviled by so many as the man who single-handedly destroyed and is destroying literature. (I myself am a fan of his.) You have no idea of King's market power in the 1980's, a market power he still wields as the second best selling fiction author ever in the world.
Twilight is a big bright shiny object and Meyer is the latest phenom author (King being another,) which means a lot of media coverage, especially as she's writing in the YA market. And there are the movies, which millions more people have seen than have actually read the books, and all the merchandise that comes with the movies, and most importantly, very sexy young actors in the movies who are doing other movies and tons and tons of promotion for all the movies they are in and for their careers. So it's easy to think that the universe is Twilight obsessed, but actually it's largely not. And there are many other fantasy novels doing well on the bestseller lists, YA and adult, some of which you may like and some of which you'll think are crap.
I do not regard this as a problem. Fiction publishing has much bigger problems that have to do with more boring things like the economy, distribution systems, technology hitches and a hostile media.
But the best thing you can do Luya is to talk about the books that you find that you love to others. All fiction works are successful chiefly through word of mouth, so spreading word of mouth is the most effective marketing you can do for any author. However, if you frame it as "you should not read that, you should read this instead," they will be less likely to listen to your word of mouth. So my suggestion would be to stick to just "you should try this one." But you don't have to bother doing that with King at this point.
August 19th, 2010, 09:33 PM #29
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There's always been tons of really, really bad popular fiction for both children and adults. Anybody ever read the Hardy Boys, or a whole bunch of pulp fiction from the forties and fifties (not best ofs, but the standard stuff)? Go back in time and you have penny dreadfuls, go back a bit further and you've got all that pornographic stuff about priests and nobles from the Enlightenment period, most of it horribly written. Some of the kids reading this stuff will develop more sophisticated tastes, some will stick to reading mostly crap, some will stop reading altogether. This is really not worth worrying about as such.
August 19th, 2010, 10:22 PM #30
I love your kidness, Kat. I hope my world lives up. THE PRESSURE.
It's honestly fine if people like Twilight, if people keep a place held for it. It's just not what I was trying to debate.
Though, you've kind of done what I was hoping and discussed a way of getting around it. By discussing books you love in hopes they will be passed on to other people, thus investigated and read. That, to you, might not be a way of 'overcoming' the problem, since you don't think it's a problem, but to me it's a good number. C:
PS - Yepp, I'm'a girl.