Genre Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Genre. Here they are! All 200 of them:

My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky.
Alan Moore
Don't classify me, read me. I'm a writer, not a genre.
Carlos Fuentes
Personally, I believe “Young Adult” to be an arbitrary title that means the book "Can be enjoyed by anyone/Has a main character who’s not quite an adult/Isn’t really boring.
Shannon Hale
If you want to write a fantasy story with Norse gods, sentient robots, and telepathic dinosaurs, you can do just that. Want to throw in a vampire and a lesbian unicorn while you're at it? Go ahead. Nothing's off limits. But the endless possibility of the genre is a trap. It's easy to get distracted by the glittering props available to you and forget what you're supposed to be doing: telling a good story. Don't get me wrong, magic is cool. But a nervous mother singing to her child at night while something moves quietly through the dark outside her house? That's a story. Handled properly, it's more dramatic than any apocalypse or goblin army could ever be.
Patrick Rothfuss
According to the conventions of the genre, Augustus Waters kept his sense of humor till the end, did not for a moment waiver in his courage, and his spirit soared like an indomitable eagle until the world itself could not contain his joyous soul. But this is the truth, a pitiful boy who desperately wanted not to be pitiful, screaming and crying, poisoned by an infected G-tube that kept him alive, but not alive enough. I wiped his chin and grabbed his face in my hands and knelt down close to him so that I could see his eyes, which still lived. 'I'm sorry. I wish it was like that movie, with the Persians and the Spartans.' 'Me too,' he said. 'But it isn't,' I said. 'I know,' he said. 'There are no bad guys.' 'Yeah.' 'Even cancer isn't a bad guy really: Cancer just wants to be alive.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
If Music is a Place -- then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple.
Vera Nazarian
I am self-educated from genre books.
Charlaine Harris
Should it matter what genre it is if the book is good?
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I'd rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas.
Michael Moorcock (Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Eternal Champion, #11))
Because in fantasy perhaps more than in any other genre, the character is rewarded for making the right choices and punished for making the bad. Ask Boromir.
R.A. Salvatore
There is only one genre in fiction, the genre is called book.
Matt Haig (The Humans)
I admire Tolkien greatly. His books had enormous influence on me. And the trope that he sort of established—the idea of the Dark Lord and his Evil Minions—in the hands of lesser writers over the years and decades has not served the genre well. It has been beaten to death. The battle of good and evil is a great subject for any book and certainly for a fantasy book, but I think ultimately the battle between good and evil is weighed within the individual human heart and not necessarily between an army of people dressed in white and an army of people dressed in black. When I look at the world, I see that most real living breathing human beings are grey.
George R.R. Martin
Dismissing fantasy writing because some of it is bad is exactly like saying I'm not reading Jane Eyre because it is a romance and I know romance is crap.
China Miéville
I have the death sentence in seven genres.
Jasper Fforde (The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3))
The problem with most genre fantasy is that it's not nearly fantastic enough. It's escapist, but it can't escape.
China Miéville
... c'est peut-être ça la vie : beaucoup de désespoir mais aussi quelques moments de beauté où le temps n'est plus le même. C'est comme si les notes de musique faisaient un genre de parenthèses dans le temps, de supension, un ailleurs ici même, un toujours dans le jamais. Oui, c'est ça, un toujours dans le jamais.
Muriel Barbery (L'Élégance du hérisson)
I would give them (aspiring writers) the oldest advice in the craft: Read and write. Read a lot. Read new authors and established ones, read people whose work is in the same vein as yours and those whose genre is totally different. You've heard of chain-smokers. Writers, especially beginners, need to be chain-readers. And lastly, write every day. Write about things that get under your skin and keep you up at night.
Khaled Hosseini
Chick Lit uses humor to reflect life back to us. It's a very comforting genre, and it's the first time our generation has had a voice. It's a very important genre for all of those reasons.
Marian Keyes
Can you imagine life without the horror genre? There would be no monsters. Only a**holes.
Michael A. Arnzen
Horror itself is a bit of a bullied genre, the antagonist being literary snobbery and public misconception. And I think good horror tackles our darkest fears, whatever they may be. It takes us into the minds of the victims, explores the threats, disseminates fear, studies how it changes us. It pulls back the curtain on the ugly underbelly of society, tears away the masks the monsters wear out in the world, shows us the potential truth of the human condition. Horror is truth, unflinching and honest. Not everybody wants to see that, but good horror ensures that it's there to be seen.
Kealan Patrick Burke
Novels, since the birth of the genre, have been full of rejected, seduced, and abandoned maidens, whose proper fate is to die...
Margaret Drabble (Sense and Sensibility)
Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.
Alan Moore
Science fiction is very well suited to asking philosophical questions; questions about the nature of reality, what it means to be human, how do we know the things that we think we know.
Ted Chiang
When you strip away the genre differences and the technological complexities, all games share four defining traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation.
Jane McGonigal (Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World)
At the time, sword and sorcery stories were quite popular. There were female warriors waving swords around as well, but the genre is populated entirely with people who have absolutely no responsibility to anyone, so I knew my story would have to be completely different from any of these.
Hayao Miyazaki
Good writing is good writing. In many ways, it’s the audience and their expectations that define a genre. A reader of literary fiction expects the writing to illuminate the human condition, some aspect of our world and our role in it. A reader of genre fiction likes that, too, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the story.
Rosemary Clement-Moore
This is the time for every artist in every genre to do what he or she does loudly and consistently. It doesn't matter to me what your position is. You've got to keep asserting the complexity and the originality of life, and the multiplicity of it, and the facets of it. This is about being a complex human being in the world, not about finding a villain. This is no time for anything else than the best that you've got.
Toni Morrison
Dear Mia, What can I say? I don't know all that much about romance novels, but I think you must be the Stephen King of the genre. Your book is hot. Thanks for letting me read it. Anyone who doesn't want to publish it is a fool. Anyway, since I know it's your birthday, and I also know you never remember to back anything up, here's a little something I made for you. It would be a shame if Ransom My Heart got lost before it ever saw the light of day because your hard drive crashed. See you tonight. Love, Michael
Meg Cabot
I'm grateful when anybody can start to have his or her limited perception of the genre open up a little bit, ... There's a lot of great music in the country genre that doesn't get heard because people say, 'Well, I don't like country.
Keith Urban
Great music completely obliterates any conceptions of genre.
Billy Corgan
An admirable line of Pablo Neruda’s, “My creatures are born of a long denial,” seems to me the best definition of writing as a kind of exorcism, casting off invading creatures by projecting them into universal existence, keeping them on the other side of the bridge… It may be exaggerating to say that all completely successful short stories, especially fantastic stories, are products of neurosis, nightmares or hallucination neutralized through objectification and translated to a medium outside the neurotic terrain. This polarization can be found in any memorable short story, as if the author, wanting to rid himself of his creature as soon and as absolutely as possible, exorcises it the only way he can: by writing it.
Julio Cortázar (Around the Day in Eighty Worlds)
Unicorns, dragons, witches may be creatures conjured up in dreams, but on the page their needs, joys, anguishes, and redemptions should be just as true as those of Madame Bovary or Martin Chuzzlewit.
Alberto Manguel (Dark Arrows: Great Stories of Revenge)
Science fiction as a genre has the benefit of being able to act as parable, to set up a story at a remove so you can make a real-world point without people throwing up a wall in front of it.
Joe Haldeman (The Forever War)
Comedy was one of those genres that while appearing quite jolly was actually highly dangerous.
Jasper Fforde (One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Thursday Next, #6))
When people dis fantasy—mainstream readers and SF readers alike—they are almost always talking about one sub-genre of fantastic literature. They are talking about Tolkien, and Tolkien's innumerable heirs. Call it 'epic', or 'high', or 'genre' fantasy, this is what fantasy has come to mean. Which is misleading as well as unfortunate. Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious—you can't ignore it, so don't even try. The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil. And there's a lot to dislike—his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien's clichés—elves 'n' dwarfs 'n' magic rings—have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was 'consolation', thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader. That is a revolting idea, and one, thankfully, that plenty of fantasists have ignored. From the Surrealists through the pulps—via Mervyn Peake and Mikhael Bulgakov and Stefan Grabiński and Bruno Schulz and Michael Moorcock and M. John Harrison and I could go on—the best writers have used the fantastic aesthetic precisely to challenge, to alienate, to subvert and undermine expectations. Of course I'm not saying that any fan of Tolkien is no friend of mine—that would cut my social circle considerably. Nor would I claim that it's impossible to write a good fantasy book with elves and dwarfs in it—Michael Swanwick's superb Iron Dragon's Daughter gives the lie to that. But given that the pleasure of fantasy is supposed to be in its limitless creativity, why not try to come up with some different themes, as well as unconventional monsters? Why not use fantasy to challenge social and aesthetic lies? Thankfully, the alternative tradition of fantasy has never died. And it's getting stronger. Chris Wooding, Michael Swanwick, Mary Gentle, Paul di Filippo, Jeff VanderMeer, and many others, are all producing works based on fantasy's radicalism. Where traditional fantasy has been rural and bucolic, this is often urban, and frequently brutal. Characters are more than cardboard cutouts, and they're not defined by race or sex. Things are gritty and tricky, just as in real life. This is fantasy not as comfort-food, but as challenge. The critic Gabe Chouinard has said that we're entering a new period, a renaissance in the creative radicalism of fantasy that hasn't been seen since the New Wave of the sixties and seventies, and in echo of which he has christened the Next Wave. I don't know if he's right, but I'm excited. This is a radical literature. It's the literature we most deserve.
China Miéville
A great artist is not one who merely fits into a genre but one who defines the genre.
Vikas Swarup (Q & A)
Hardcore without punk isn't music, it's a genre of porn. And punk isn't a genre of music, it’s a thought process.
Dominic Owen Mallary
A serious adult story must be true to something in life. Since marvel tales cannot be true to the events of life, they must shift their emphasis towards something to which they can be true; namely, certain wistful or restless moods of the human spirit, wherein it seeks to weave gossamer ladders of escape from the galling tyranny of time, space, and natural law.
H.P. Lovecraft
When a woman reads a romance novel, she is putting her own pleasure first. That small act of rebellion is perceived as a threat to the status quo. It’s also why this eternally popular and profitable genre has been scorned, ridiculed and dismissed.
Maya Rodale
When Job lifted his face to the Storm, when he asked and was answered, he learned that he was very small. He learned that his life was a story. He spoke with the Author, and learned that the genre had not been an accident. God tells stories that make Sunday school teachers sweat and mothers write their children permission slips excusing them from encountering reality.
N.D. Wilson (Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent)
The true genre of the life is neither hagiography nor saga, but tragedy.
Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Third Edition)
feel like I've never really been beholden to any genre. FOB's kind of changed on every record
Patrick Stump
As Duke Ellington once said, “There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind.” In that sense, jazz and classical music are fundamentally the same. The pure joy one experiences listening to “good” music transcends questions of genre.
Haruki Murakami (Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa)
Quand j'arrive à la gare de l'Est, j'espère toujours secrètement qu'il y aura quelqu'un pour m'attendre. C'est con. J'ai beau savoir que ma mère est encore au boulot à cette heure-là et que Marc est pas du genre à traverser la banlieue pour porter mon sac, j'ai toujours cet espoir débile. [...] Je voudrais que quelqu'un m'attende quelque part... C'est quand même pas compliqué.
Anna Gavalda (I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere)
I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be—basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful—nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and—I imagine this goes without saying—vampires.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Revenge writing is a female genre. Men who have been left by women or made cuckolds by rivals either lick their wounds in humiliated silence or start the Trojan Wars. Having no other power or public voice, the betrayed woman reaches for her pen.
Frances Wilson (The Courtesan’s Revenge)
I write across several genres. I’m a slut for words. I can’t keep it in my literary pants.
Fierce Dolan
It's chick flick disguised as a sword-and-sorcery picture. The only genre film with less balls is probably... freakin' Legend. Anyone who actually enjoys Ladyhawke is a bona fide USDA-choice pussy!
Ernest Cline (Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1))
My favorite genre is Beautifully Written Books of Any Genre. Could we make that a genre?
Kristin Cashore
Someone needs to buy a radio station, then play nothing but audio books, with a different genre of book played at set times. That way we can always have something new to read, no matter where we are.
Shana Chartier
I had one woman come up to me in a bookstore and say, 'You know, everyone told me it was a horror book, but when I finished it, I realized that it was a love story.' And she's absolutely right. In some ways, genre is a marketing tool.
Mark Z. Danielewski
Books should broaden us, take us to places we have never been and show us things we’ve never seen, expand our horizons and our way of looking at the world. Limiting your reading to a single genre defeats that. It limits us, makes us smaller. It seemed to me, then as now, that there were good stories and bad stories, and that was the only distinction that truly mattered.
George R.R. Martin (Rogues)
And once upon a time I wondered: Is writing epic fantasy not somehow a betrayal? Did I not somehow do a disservice to my own reality by paying so much attention to the power fantasies of disenchanted white men? But. Epic fantasy is not merely what Tolkien made it. This genre is rooted in the epic — and the truth is that there are plenty of epics out there which feature people like me. Sundiata’s badass mother. Dihya, warrior queen of the Amazighs. The Rain Queens. The Mino Warriors. Hatshepsut’s reign. Everything Harriet Tubman ever did. And more, so much more, just within the African components of my heritage. I haven’t even begun to explore the non-African stuff. So given all these myths, all these examinations of the possible… how can I not imagine more? How can I not envision an epic set somewhere other than medieval England, about someone other than an awkward white boy? How can I not use every building-block of my history and heritage and imagination when I make shit up? And how dare I disrespect that history, profane all my ancestors’ suffering and struggles, by giving up the freedom to imagine that they’ve won for me.
N.K. Jemisin
Readers will stay with an author, no matter what the variations in style and genre, as long as they get that sense of story, of character, of empathetic involvement.
Dean Koontz
I don't believe any genre of music can be unilaterally dismissed (aside from like, white-power music or something).
Patrick Stump
Reality has always attracted me like a magnet, tortured and hypnotized me, and I wanted to capture it on paper. So I immediately appropriated this genre of actual human voices and confessions, witness evidences and documents. This is how I hear and see the world—as a chorus of individual voices and a collage of everyday details. In this way all my mental and emotional potential is realized to the full. In this way I can be simultaneously a writer, reporter, sociologist, psychologist and preacher.
Svetlana Alexievich (Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster)
Seit Urzeiten ist Fantasy das beliebteste aller Genres. Fantasy-Autoren der zweiten großen Welle wie Johannes, Lukas, Markus und Mel Gibson haben zum Beispiel selbst heute noch fanatische Fans, die ganze Passagen auswendig kennen und sich regelmäßig in mittelalterlichen Gebäuden zu Conventions treffen, bei denen sie sich gegenseitig ihre Lieblingsstellen vorlesen und absurde Rituale aus den Bücher nachspielen. Totale Nerds. (Anm. des Kängurus)
Marc-Uwe Kling (Die Känguru-Offenbarung (Die Känguru-Chroniken, #3))
Being a lover of books has its perks. There’s always a story waiting to be read. A hero to fall in love with. A heroine to adore. Sometimes I think I should change genres and actually give the potential men in my life a chance. My expectations of love are dangerously unrealistic.
J. Daniels (When I Fall (Alabama Summer, #3))
Living a life where you are true to yourself takes more courage than hiding under a false life such as a pen name or alias. Never be ashamed of what you write, what genre you write where you have to hide who you are. - STRONG: Powerful Philosophy for Timeless Thoughts by Kailin Gow.
Kailin Gow
Yes, of course, the whole idea is utterly inane, but to let its predictable inanities blind you to its truly fabulous and breathtaking aspects is to do both oneself and the genre a disservice.
Alan Moore (Swamp Thing, Vol. 1: Saga of the Swamp Thing)
She understood the genre constraints, the decencies were supposed to be observing. The morally cosy vision allows the embrace of monstrosity only as a reaction to suffering or as an act of rage against the Almighty. Vampire interviewee Louis is in despair at his brother’s death when he accepts Lestat’s offer. Frankenstein’s creature is driven to violence by the violence done to him. Even Lucifer’s rebellion emerges from the agony of injured price. The message is clear: By all means become an abomination—but only while unhinged by grief or wrath.
Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1))
As far as I'm concerned, you can't beat a good whodunnit: the twists and turns, the clues and the red herrings and then, finally, the satisfaction of having everything explained to you in a way that makes you kick yourself because you hadn't seen it from the start.
Anthony Horowitz (Magpie Murders (Susan Ryeland, #1))
...[T]he only means I have to stop ignorant snobs from behaving towards genre fiction with snobbish ignorance is to not reinforce their ignorance and snobbery by lying and saying that when I write SF it isn't SF, but to tell them more or less patiently for forty or fifty years that they are wrong to exclude SF and fantasy from literature, and proving my arguments by writing well.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Wild Girls)
…Here we come close to one of the definitions of literary fiction. Even the best kind of popular novel just comes straight at you; you have no conversation with a popular novel. Whereas you do have a conversation (you have an intense argument) with [literary fiction].
Martin Amis (Experience: A Memoir)
Je suis plutôt King Kong que Kate Moss, comme fille. Je suis ce genre de femme qu’on n’épouse pas, avec qui on ne fait pas d’enfant, je parle de ma place de femme toujours trop tout ce qu’elle est, trop agressive, trop bruyante, trop grosse, trop brutale, trop hirsute, toujours trop virile, me dit-on.
Virginie Despentes (King Kong théorie)
The truth is that Trout, like Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury and many others, writes parables. These are set in frames which have become called, for no good reason, science fiction. A better generic term would be 'future fairy tales'. And even this is objectionable, since many science fiction stories take place in the present or the past, far and near.
Philip José Farmer
I don't think humanity just replays history, but we are the same people our ancestors were, and our descendants are going to face a lot of the same situations we do. It's instructive to imagine how they would react, with different technologies on different worlds. That's why I write science fiction -- even though the term 'science fiction' excites disdain in certain persons.
Kage Baker
Horror is not a genre, it is an emotion. It is a progressive form of fiction, one that evolves to meet the fears and anxieties of its times.
Douglas E. Winter
Donald Trump comes closer than anyone else to being the archetype of the species; crossing genres, he exemplifies all the ways an asshole can capture our attention. (164-65)
Geoffrey Nunberg (Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years)
Genre fiction, as Terry Pratchett has pointed out, is a stew. You take stuff out of the pot, you put stuff back. The stew bubbles on.
Neil Gaiman
A good book is a good book, I’ve always thought, whatever the genre.
Miranda James (File M for Murder (Cat in the Stacks Mystery #3))
No amount of therapy can replace the joy of revenge writing.
Mylo Carbia (The Raping of Ava DeSantis)
The only genres I saw value in, which still conferred meaning, were diaries and essays, the types of literature that did not deal with narrative, that were not about anything, but just consisted of a voice, the voice of your own personality, a life, a face, a gaze you could meet. What is a work of art if not the gaze of another person? Not directed above us, nor beneath us, but at the same height as our own gaze. Art cannot be experienced collectively, nothing can, art is something you are alone with. You meet its gaze alone.
Karl Ove Knausgård (A Man in Love)
Aphorisms are essentially an aristocratic genre of writing. The aphorist does not argue or explain, he asserts; and implicit in his assertion is a conviction that he is wiser and more intelligent than his readers.
W.H. Auden
When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.
Jim Butcher
All fiction is a process of imagining: whatever you write, in whatever genre or medium, your task is to make things up convincingly and interestingly and new.
Neil Gaiman
Everyone who writes in the sub-genre of Victorian mystery stands in [Sir Arthur Conan] Doyle's shadow.
Will Thomas
Life is a strange mixture of all of these genres, she mused, and it doesn’t have nearly as neat and happy an ending as you often get in books.
Liz Braswell (As Old As Time)
Skill alone cannot teach or produce a great short story, which condenses the obsession of the creature; it is a hallucinatory presence manifest from the first sentence to fascinate the reader, to make him lose contact with the dull reality that surrounds him, submerging him in another that is more intense and compelling.
Julio Cortázar (Around the Day in Eighty Worlds)
The romance genre is the only genre where readers are guaranteed novels that place the heroine at the heart of the story. These are books that celebrate women's heroic virtues and values: courage, honor, determination and a belief in the healing power of love.
Jayne Ann Krentz
Horror, let's face it, is basically pretty dumb. You're writing about events that are preposterous, and the trick is to dress them up in language so compelling that the reader doesn't care.
T.E.D. Klein (Seeing Red)
Nothing Alan Moore writes can be blah-blah-blahed," Park said solemnly. Eleanor shrugged and bit her lip. "I’m beginning to think you shouldn’t have started reading comics with a book that completely deconstructs the last fifty years of the genre," he said. "All I’m hearing is blah, blah, blah, genre.
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)
I am not a fan of the magical quick fix in any fiction, including fantasy, scifi and comic books. Unless Dr. Who is involved, and then only because we get to use the phrase 'Timey-wimey wibbliness' which, I'm sure you'll agree, there are not enough occasions to drop into ordinary adult conversation.
Chris Dee
Manga is a very entertaining cultural form, made of many totally different genres. Don’t restrict yourself with a single style of manga. I would be delighted to be your springboard, but try to read as much as you can in order to branch out!
Hiromu Arakawa
Geeks like to make things. Indeed, the drive to create is an intrinsic geeky quality (right up there with loving genre fiction and drinking too much Mountain Dew). And while many geeks may not think of themselves as creative in an artistic sense, most geeky pursuits--from rolling up a new D&D character to assembling the LEGO Star Wars Death Star kit (you know, the one with all the cool minifigures)--are acts of creation.
Ken Denmead
A lot of people still maintain genre prejudice. I still meet matrons who tell me kindly that their children enjoyed my books but of course they never read them, and people who make sure I know they don’t read that space-ship stuff. No, no, they read Literature—realism. Like The Help, or Fifty Shades of Grey.
Ursula K. Le Guin
[I]n adult literary fiction, stories are there on sufferance. Other things are felt to be more important: technique, style, literary knowingness. Adult readers who do deal in straightforward stories find themselves sidelined into a genre such as crime or science fiction, where no one expects literary craftsmanship. But stories are vital. Stories never fail us, because, as Isaac Bashevis Singer says, "events never grow stale." There's more wisdom in a story than in volumes of philosophy. [Contemporary writers, however,] take up their stories as with a pair of tongs. They're embarrassed by them. If they could write novels without stories in them, they would. Sometimes they do.
Philip Pullman
The problem with a lot of people who read only literary fiction is that they assume fantasy is just books about orcs and goblins and dragons and wizards and bullshit. And to be fair, a lot of fantasy is about that stuff. The problem with people in fantasy is they believe that literary fiction is just stories about a guy drinking tea and staring out the window at the rain while he thinks about his mother. And the truth is a lot of literary fiction is just that. Like, kind of pointless, angsty, emo, masturbatory bullshit. However, we should not be judged by our lowest common denominators. And also you should not fall prey to the fallacious thinking that literary fiction is literary and all other genres are genre. Literary fiction is a genre, and I will fight to the death anyone who denies this very self-evident truth. So, is there a lot of fantasy that is raw shit out there? Absolutely, absolutely, it’s popcorn reading at best. But you can’t deny that a lot of lit fic is also shit. 85% of everything in the world is shit. We judge by the best. And there is some truly excellent fantasy out there. For example, Midsummer Night’s Dream; Hamlet with the ghost; Macbeth, ghosts and witches; I’m also fond of the Odyessey; Most of the Pentateuch in the Old Testament, Gargantua and Pantagruel. Honestly, fantasy existed before lit fic, and if you deny those roots you’re pruning yourself so closely that you can’t help but wither and die.
Patrick Rothfuss
As-tu déjà été amoureux? C'est horrible non? Ca rend si vulnérable. Ca t'ouvre la poitrine et le coeur en grand et du coup, n'importe qui peut venir te bousiller de l'intérieur. On se forge des défenses, on se fabrique une belle armure pour que rien ne puisse jamais nous atteindre, et voilà qu'un imbécile, pas bien différent des autres s'immisce dans notre imbécile de vie... On lui offre un morceau de soi alors que l'autre n'a rien demandé. Il a juste fait un truc débile un jour, genre t'embrasser ou te sourire, mais, depuis, ta vie ne t'appartient plus. L'amour te prend en otage. Il s'insinue en toi. Il te dévore de l'intérieur et te laisse tout seul à chialer dans le noir, au point qu'un simple phrase comme "je crois qu'on devrait rester amis" te fait l'effet d'un éclat de verre qu'on t'aurait planté dans le coeur. Ca fait mal. Pas juste dans ton imagination. Pas juste dans ta tête. C'est une douleur à fendre l'âme, qui s'incruste en toi et te déchire du dedans. Je hais l'amour.
Neil Gaiman (The Kindly Ones (The Sandman, #9))
There can be no such thing as “philosophical horror”, at least as a premeditated genre. Why? Because philosophy implies enquiry, reflection and an open mind, whereas the genre of horror demands certain conclusions in advance.
Quentin S. Crisp
I think horror can and should be classy. I enjoy seeing it raised up not lowered down to the lowest common denominator. There's prejudice against the horror genre and I think sometimes that's the fault of the authors involved.
Carole Gill
I've been as bad an influence on American literature as anyone I can think of.
Dashiell Hammett
There are... otherwise quite decent people who are so dull of nature that they believe that they must attribute the swift flight of fancy to some illness of the psyche, and thus it happens that this or that writer is said to create not other than while imbibing intoxicating drink or that his fantasies are the result of overexcited nerves and resulting fever. But who can fail to know that, while a state of psychical excitement caused by the one or other stimulant may indeed generate some lucky and brilliant ideas, it can never produce a well-founded, substantial work of art that requires the utmost presence of mind.
E.T.A. Hoffmann (Die Serapions Brüder: Gesammelte Erzählungen Und Märchen In Vier Bänden (Insel Taschenbuch))
[...] outlining how certain fans of ’NSYNC like to imagine Justin Timber lake getting fisted by Lance Bass. Glenn Dixon surmised that much of the Contemporary Christian genre is driven by artists who literally want to fuck Jesus Christ.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
The big trinity of publishing: mystery, thrillers and romance. If you can combine all three, then it’s a winner’s trifecta and you’ll be rich beyond your dreams.
Dermot Davis (Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World)
Funny, they made this new genre called Speculative Fiction, I thought all fiction had always been speculative.
Teri Louise Kelly
In the nineteenth century, poetry was a bestselling genre rather than the cultish phenomenon it is now.
John McWhorter (Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care)
Sometimes people say that we're living in the future, and time's up for science fiction, but I think that never will be, because science fiction really isn't about the future. It's about change and present-day concerns
Stephen Baxter
We can study files for decades, but every so often we are tempted to throw up our hands and declare that history is merely another literary genre: the past is autobiographical fiction pretending to be a parliamentary report.
Julian Barnes (Flaubert's Parrot)
Sure, I knew the differences between a space opera and a hard-boiled detective story and a historical novel...but I never cared about such differences. It seemed to me, then as now, that there are good stories and bad stories, and that was the only distinction that truly mattered.
George R.R. Martin (Warriors 1)
I dusted my books off, placing each one—sorted alphabetically and by genre—on the shelves Dad installed. What some people might call “anal,” I’d call efficient. What good was it to have a book if you couldn’t find it when you wanted it?
Aileen Erin (Becoming Alpha (Alpha Girl, #1))
Why are murder mysteries so popular? There's a 3-part "formula" (if you want to call it that) for a genre novel: (1) Someone the reader likes and relates to (2) overcomes increasingly difficult obstacles (3) to reach an important goal. The more important the goal, the stronger the novel. And the most important goal that any of us have is survival. That's why murder mysteries are more gripping than a story titled "Who Stole My TV Set.
Lois Duncan
I have yet to find a genre of music I enjoy; it’s basically audible physics, waves and energized particles, and, like most sane people, I have no interest in physics. It therefore struck me as bizarre that I was humming a tune from Oliver! I mentally added the exclamation mark, which, for the first time ever, was appropriate.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
I don't pay much attention to the distinction between fantasy and science fiction–or between “genre” and “mainstream” for that matter. For me, all fiction is about prizing the logic of metaphors-which is the logic of narratives in general–over reality, which is irreducibly random and senseless. We spend our entire lives trying to tell stories about ourselves–they’re the essence of memory. It is how we make living in this unfeeling accidental universe tolerable. That we call such a tendency “the narrative fallacy” doesn’t mean it doesn’t also touch upon some aspect of the truth. Some stories simply literalize their metaphors a bit more explicitly.
Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories)
The nature of the epistolary genre was revealed to me: a form of writing devoted to another person. Novels, poems, and so on, were texts into which others were free to enter, or not. Letters, on the other hand, did not exist without the other person, and their very mission, their significance, was the epiphany of the recipient.
Amélie Nothomb (Life Form)
RJD was pretty much heavy metal personified, a tiny 5-foot-4-inch sorcerer with a mangy mane, demonic eyes and sly grin, all coupled to a simply huge, operatic voice, a diminutive powerhouse who prowled the stage like a feline elf and who was, it turns out, also finely intelligent and well spoken, an actual gentleman in a genre known all too well for its bombastic, monosyllabic doltbuckets. A rare thing indeed.
Mark Morford
From a tale one expects a bit of wildness, of exaggeration and dramatic effect. The tale has no inherent concern with decorum, balance or harmony. ... A tale may not display a great deal of structural, psychological, or narrative sophistication, though it might possess all three, but it seldom takes its eye off its primary goal, the creation of a particular emotional state in its reader. Depending on the tale, that state could be wonder, amazement, shock, terror, anger, anxiety, melancholia, or the momentary frisson of horror.
Peter Straub (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps)
Romance novels are tales of brave women taming dangerous men. They are stories that capture the excitement of that most mysterious of relationships, the one between a woman and a man. They are legends told to women by other women, and they are as powerful and as endlessly fascinating to women as the legends that lie at the heart of all the other genres.
Jayne Ann Krentz
(On disco) I don't consider that a genre as much as a level of hell.
J.M. Hushour
It was a weird thing for me, because I don't read vampire books. I don't watch vampire movies. I'm not into the horror genre. I'm a wuss, I'm a scaredy cat.
Stephenie Meyer
Journeys up the Metaphoric River are hugely enjoyable and highly recommended. Since every genre is nourished by its heady waters, a paddle steamer can take even the most walk-shy tourists to their chosen destination. As a bonus, there is traditionally at least one murder on board each trip--a "consideration" to the head steward will ensure that it is not you.
Jasper Fforde (One of Our Thursdays Is Missing (Thursday Next, #6))
It does no good to run. And it does no good to hide. But I know what it's like. Your brain shuts down, and you follow your instincts. Or, at least, you think you do. But you know what you're really doing? When you flee through the night, or crawl into your little bolt-hole? You know what's really guiding you? Controlling you? Pushing you on? Genre conventions.
Mike Carey (The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity)
The most interesting of the classic movie genres to me are the indigenous ones: the Western, which was born on the Frontier, the Gangster Film, which originated in the East Coast cities, and the Musical, which was spawned by Broadway. They remind me of jazz: they allowed for endless, increasingly complex, sometimes perverse variations. When these variations were played by the masters, they reflected the changing times; they gave you fascinating insights into American culture and the American psyche.
Martin Scorsese (A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies)
People who make snide comments to authors like "anyone can write a book" or "well, you did it, so obviously I can/it can't be that hard" or poke at a book because it's "romance" or "genre fiction" and act like that somehow makes it substandard because they don't read it... well, ok, go ahead. Write a bestseller. Don't forget to go through the correct edit process. We'll wait.
Michelle M. Pillow
It is not believed that a people capable of inventing the genre of "oral painting" could have spawned the viaduct killer, and in any case no ghetto resident is permitted access to any other area of the city. ("A Short Guide To The City")
Peter Straub (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940's Until Now)
Que pouvions-nous faire, donc? Vivre? C'est exactement dans ce genre de situation qu'écrasés par le sentiment de leur propre insignifiance les gens se décident à faire des enfants; ainsi se reproduit l'espèce, de moins en moins il est vrai.
Michel Houellebecq (The Possibility of an Island)
Like Sylvia Plath, Natalie Jeanne Champagne invites you so close to the pain and agony of her life of mental illness and addiction, which leaves you gasping from shock and laughing moments later: this is both the beauty and unique nature of her storytelling. With brilliance and courage, the author's brave and candid chronicle travels where no other memoir about mental illness and addiction has gone before. The Third Sunrise is an incredible triumph and Natalie Jeanne Champagne is without a doubt the most important new voice in this genre.
Andy Behrman (Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania)
The mommy-porn genre currently sweeping the book industry and the Babylonian excess of most television shows probably fall within the historical norm in our culture's sleaze index and are not omens of the imminent collapse of civilization, though if I were not so busy, I might start building an ark.
Dean Koontz (Deeply Odd (Odd Thomas, #6))
If there’s a zeppelin, it’s alternate history. If there’s a rocketship, it’s science fiction. If there are swords and/or horses, it’s fantasy. A book with swords and horses in it can be turned into science fiction by adding a rocketship to the mix. If a book has a rocketship in it, the only thing that can turn it back into fantasy is the Holy Grail.
Debra Doyle
It was Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the television series, 1997-2003, not the lackluster movie that preceded it) that blazed the trail for Twilight and the slew of other paranormal romance novels that followed, while also shaping the broader urban fantasy field from the late 1990s onward. Many of you reading this book will be too young to remember when Buffy debuted, so you'll have to trust us when we say that nothing quite like it had existed before. It was thrillingly new to see a young, gutsy, kick-ass female hero, for starters, and one who was no Amazonian Wonder Woman but recognizably ordinary, fussing about her nails, her shoes, and whether she'd make it to her high school prom. Buffy's story contained a heady mix of many genres (fantasy, horror, science-fiction, romance, detective fiction, high school drama), all of it leavened with tongue-in-cheek humor yet underpinned by the serious care with which the Buffy universe had been crafted. Back then, Whedon's dizzying genre hopping was a radical departure from the norm-whereas today, post-Buffy, no one blinks an eye as writers of urban fantasy leap across genre boundaries with abandon, penning tender romances featuring werewolves and demons, hard-boiled detective novels with fairies, and vampires-in-modern-life sagas that can crop up darn near anywhere: on the horror shelves, the SF shelves, the mystery shelves, the romance shelves.
Ellen Datlow (Teeth: Vampire Tales)
Good horror offers a sense of an upended, lawless world and that’s appealing to anyone who grew up feeling like an outsider.
Christopher Rice
...the materials of genre - specifically the paired genres of horror and the fantastic - in no way require the constrictions of formulaic treatment, and in fact naturally extend and evolve into the methods and concerns of its wider context, general literature.
Peter Straub (Poe's Children: The New Horror)
Fairy tales begin with conflict because we all begin our lives with conflict. We are all misfit for the world, and somehow we must fit in, fit in with other people, and thus we must invent or find the means through communication to satisfy as well as resolve conflicting desires and instincts.
Jack D. Zipes (The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre)
I was always fishing for something on the radio. Just like trains and bells, it was part of the soundtrack of my life. I moved the dial up and down and Roy Orbison's voice came blasting out of the small speakers. His new song, "Running Scared," exploded into the room. Orbison, though, transcended all the genres - folk, country, rock and roll or just about anything. His stuff mixed all the styles and some that hadn't even been invented yet. He could sound mean and nasty on one line and then sing in a falsetto voice like Frankie Valli in the next. With Roy, you didn't know if you were listening to mariachi or opera. He kept you on your toes. With him, it was all about fat and blood. He sounded like he was singing from an Olympian mountaintop and he meant business. One of his previous songs, "Ooby Dooby" was deceptively simple, but Roy had progressed. He was now singing his compositions in three or four octaves that made you want to drive your car over a cliff. He sang like a professional criminal. Typically, he'd start out in some low, barely audible range, stay there a while and then astonishingly slip into histrionics. His voice could jar a corpse, always leave you muttring to yourself something like, "Man, I don't believe it." His songs had songs within songs. They shifted from major to minor key without any logic. Orbison was deadly serious - no pollywog and no fledgling juvenile. There wasn't anything else on the radio like him.
Bob Dylan (Chronicles: Volume One)
Poetry restores language by breaking it, and I think that much contemporary writing restores fantasy, as a genre of writing in contrast to a genre of commodity or a section in a bookstore, by breaking it. Michael Moorcock revived fantasy by prying it loose from morality; writers like Jeff VanderMeer, Stepan Chapman, Lucius Shepard, Jeffrey Ford, Nathan Ballingrud are doing the same by prying fantasy away from pedestrian writing, with more vibrant and daring styles, more reflective thinking, and a more widely broadcast spectrum of themes.
Michael Cisco
The fantastic breaks the crust of appearance … something grabs us by the shoulders to throw us outside ourselves. I have always known that the big surprises await us where we have learned to be surprised by nothing, that is, where we are not shocked by ruptures in the order.
Julio Cortázar (Around the Day in Eighty Worlds)
Science fiction used to be a dangerous literature. Now, it is a very commercial genre, and whatever dangers might still lurk within seem to have been safely sanitized for the marketplace. The real crime is that the lobotomy has been self performed. [David Gerrold - Afterword]
Harlan Ellison (The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay)
I’d spend hours in HMVs, Virgin Megastores and second-hand record shops staffed by greasy-haired 40-year-olds dressed as 20-year-olds, listening to contemporary music of every genre – Britrock, heavy maiden, gang rap, brakebeat. And I came to a startling but unshakeable conclusion: no genuinely good music has been created since 1988.
Alan Partridge (I, Partridge: We Need to Talk About Alan)
People don't read anymore. And, when they do, they don't read books like this one, but instead read books that depress them, because those books are seen as important. Somehow, the Librarians have successfully managed to convince most people in the Hushlands that they shouldn't read anything that isn't boring. It comes down to Biblioden the Scrivener's great vision for the world — a vision in which people never do anything abnormal, never dream, and never experience anything strange. His minions teach people to stop reading fun books, and instead focus on fantasy novels. That's what I call them, because these books keep people trapped. Keep them inside the nice little fantasy that they consider to be the 'real' world. A fantasy that tells them they don't need to try something new. After all, trying new things can be difficult.
Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Alcatraz, #2))
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far. The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them. I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children’s books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I’ve seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn’t hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you. Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant. We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. [from, Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming]
Neil Gaiman
Your scorn for mediocrity blinds you to its vast primitive power. You stand in the glare of your own brilliance, unable to see into the dim corners of the room, to dilate your eyes and see the potential dangers of the mass, the wad of humanity. Even as I tell you this, dear student, you cannot quite believe that lesser men, in whatever numbers, can really defeat you. But we are in the age of the mediocre man. He is dull, colorless, boring — but inevitably victorious. The amoeba outlives the tiger because it divides and continues in its immortal monotony. The masses are the final tyrants. See how, in the arts, Kabuki wanes and withers while popular novels of violence and mindless action swamp the mind of the mass reader. And even in that timid genre, no author dares to produce a genuinely superior man as his hero, for in his rage of shame the mass man will send his yojimbo, the critic, to defend him. The roar of the plodders is inarticulate, but deafening. They have no brain, but they have a thousand arms to grasp and clutch at you, drag you down.
Trevanian (Shibumi)
I consider fantasy the heir of mythology, addressing a real human need to seek out answers to life’s many mysteries. It is a genre that can tell an entertaining and enthralling story on the surface, and yet deliver a potent message underneath, where everything becomes a symbol of something greater.
Dean F. Wilson
Cinema – all art really – has great power. Power to illuminate. Power to transform. For those of us who experience film as literature, classic movies comprised an introductory education in the genre. As kids, many of us went searching through library shelves for obscure source novels after seeing some old movie or other. It was the start of many an adventure.
Robert Dunbar (Vortex)
The genres, it is thought, have other designs on us. They want to entertain, as opposed to rubbing our noses in the daily grit produced by the daily grind. Unhappily for realistic novelists, the larger reading public likes being entertained.
Margaret Atwood (In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination)
You want the secret off my succes; my recipe? I have always brought the same care to making an adventure novel, a serialized novel, that others would bring to the making of a poem. My ambition was to raise the level of this much maligned genre.
Gaston Leroux
Arthuriana has become a genre in itself, more like TV soap opera where people think they know the characters. All that's fair enough, but it does remove the mythic power of the feminine and masculine principles. So I prefer it in its original form, even if you have to wade through Mallory's 'Le Morte d'Arthur' -- people smashing people for pages and pages! It still has the resonances of myth about it, which makes it work for me. I don't want to know if Mordred led an unhappy childhood or not.
Michael Moorcock
Why should it be any surprise that people find solace in the most intimate literary genre? Poetry slows us down, cherishes small details. A large disaster erases those details. We need poetry for nourishment and for noticing, for the way language and imagery reach comfortably into experience, holding and connecting it more successfully than any news channel we could name.
Naomi Shihab Nye (19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East)
Both men and women experience pressure to conform to social standards of attractiveness. Men to look strong and be tough, women to look pretty and soft. Men to be masculine, women to be feminine. Men get judged for being "too feminine", women get criticized for being "too masculine". Gender policing affects us all.
Miya Yamanouchi (Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women)
Quick note here: if this crush-slash-swooning stuff is hard for you to stomach; if you’ve never had a similar experience, then you should come to grips with the fact that you’ve got a TV dinner for a heart and might want to consider climbing inside a microwave and turning it on high for at least an hour, which if you do consider only goes to show what kind of idiot you truly are because microwaves are way too small for anyone, let alone you, to climb into.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
I don’t care if he hangs out with Skream/Benga or whoever,” he spat, “it’s just pure nonsense to ruin a hardcore genre with gay synths, chopped chipmunk vocals and cheesy poppy shit just so you can make a shitload of money and be an icon to a fanbase that consists of 13 year old wannabe dubheads and doesn’t know shit about music.
Skrillex
The Cool Stuff Theory of Literature is as follows: All literature consists of whatever the writer thinks is cool. The reader will like the book to the degree that he agrees with the writer about what's cool. And that works all the way from the external trappings to the level of metaphor, subtext, and the way one uses words. In other words, I happen not to think that full-plate armor and great big honking greatswords are cool. I don't like 'em. I like cloaks and rapiers. So I write stories with a lot of cloaks and rapiers in 'em, 'cause that's cool. Guys who like military hardware, who think advanced military hardware is cool, are not gonna jump all over my books, because they have other ideas about what's cool. The novel should be understood as a structure built to accommodate the greatest possible amount of cool stuff.
Steven Brust
I have noticed a curious bifurcation in outcome in the way romances are written by women et written by men - Love Story, The Bridges of Madison County, every James Bond tale ever penned, even the film named above - end with the woman either lost or dead. And the man free to love, or at least to have sex, again. Romances (in the modern genre sense) written by women end with the couple alive, together, and in a committed and at least potentially fertile relationship, ready to turn to the work of their world. In other words, men's romances are about love and death; women's romances are about love and life.
Lois McMaster Bujold
CAMERAOBSCURER: All superpowers are win. Don't be afraid, tiny chid! Neverneedinganumbrellagirl to the rescue! SERAFINA67: What if the tiny child has fallen down a well? CAMERAOBSCURER: Neverneedinganumbrellagirl will call in her side kick, Occasionallyneedsanumbrellabuthasreallylongarmsboy? And they say the superhero genre is dead. Fools!
Susie Day (serafina67 *urgently requires life*)
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623 two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world. Source: Wikipedia
William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
But if what interests you are stories of the fantastic, I must warn you that this kind of story demands more art and judgment than is ordinarily imagined.
Charles Nodier
A book can’t be a half-fantasy any more than a woman can be half pregnant
David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
You pray to God to save you. I'll stick with Smith & Wesson. We'll see who is alive in the morning.
Raegan Butcher (Night of the Chupacabra)
Science fiction is a literature of possibilities.
Liu Cixin (Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation)
Science fiction and fantasy are very closely related genres, and a lot of people say that the genres are so close that there's actually no meaningful distinction to be made between the two. But I think that there does exist an useful distinction to be made between magic and science. One way to look at it is in terms of whether a given phenomenon can be mass-produced.
Ted Chiang
Greg Broadmore's fertile and twisted imagination has conjoined multiple genres, memories, and a sharp sense of pulp, colonialist nostalgia/parody in this lavish, fully realized, imaginative tour-de-force. It's Jules Verne meets Fritz Lang meets Tintin. It's beyond Steampunk. It's clearly an insatiable passion for the talismans of a bygone civilization and it's slavish addiction to the early industrial age in all it's filigreed, ignorant glory. Greg has raised the bar.
Adam Savage
Cat Rambo: Where do you think the perennial debate between what is literary fiction and what is genre is sited? Norman Spinrad: I think it’s a load of crap. See my latest column in Asimov’s, particularly re The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I detest the whole concept of genre. A piece of fiction is either a good story well told or it isn’t. The supposed dichotomy between “literary fiction” and “popular fiction” is ridiculous. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Mailer, did not have serious literary intent? As writers of serious literary intent, they didn’t want to be “popular,” meaning sell a lot of books? They wanted to be unpopular and have terrible sales figures to prove they were “serious”? I say this is bullshit and I say the hell with it. “Genre,” if it means anything at all, is a restrictive commercial requirement. “Westerns” must be set in the Old West. “Mysteries” must have a detective solving a crime, usually murder. “Nurse Novels” must have a nurse. And so forth. In the strictly literary sense, neither science fiction nor fantasy are “genres.” They are anti-genres. They can be set anywhere and anywhen except in the mimetic here and now or a real historical period. They are the liberation of fiction from the constraints of “genre” in an absolute literary sense.
Norman Spinrad
Some stories consumed you, they made time stop, your worries float into the ether, and when it came to my reading habits I chose romance over any other genre. The appeal of the happy ever after, the winsome heroine being adored for who she was, and the devastatingly handsome hero with more to him than met the eye tugged at my heart.
Rebecca Raisin (The Bookshop on the Corner (The Bookshop, #1; The Gingerbread Cafe, #2.5))
I love the word 'fantasy'... but I love it for the almost infinite room it gives an author to play: an infinite playroom, of a sort, in which the only boundaries are those of the imagination. I do not love it for the idea of commercial fantasy. Commercial fantasy, for good or for ill, tends to drag itself through already existing furrows, furrows dug by J. R. R. Tolkien or Robert E. Howard, leaving a world of stories behind it, excluding so much. There was so much fine fiction, fiction allowing free reign to the imagination of the author, beyond the shelves of genre. That was what we wanted to read.
Neil Gaiman (Stories: All-New Tales)
Human beings across every culture I know about require such stories, stories with cool winds and wood smoke. They speak to something deep within us, the capacity to conceptualize, objectify and find patterns, thereby to create the flow of events and perceptions that find perfect expression in fiction. We are built this way, we create stories by reflex, unstoppably. But this elegant system really works best when the elements of the emerging story, whether is is being written or being read, are taken as literal fact. Almost always, to respond to the particulars of the fantastic as if they were metaphorical or allegorical is to drain them of vitality.
Peter Straub (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps)
Qui peut le plus peut le moins.
Gérard Genette (Théorie des genres)
I love my career. It is a career. A difficult one that takes many hours and total dedication to my craft. It is also what I was born to do--tell stories and entertain.
Michelle M. Pillow
I've watched every episode of Poirot and Midsomer Murders on TV. I never guess the ending and I can't wait for the moment when the detective gathers all the suspects in the room and, like a magician conjuring silk scarves out of the air, makes the whole thing make sense.
Anthony Horowitz (Magpie Murders (Susan Ryeland, #1))
Psychic change, as Todorov has recognized, subverted the genre in another way, by revoking the cultural taboos, the social censorship, that had prohibited the overt treatment of psychosexual themes, which then found covert expression in the supernatural tale. 'There is no need today to resort to the devil [or to posthumous reverie] in order to speak of excessive sexual desire, and none to resort to vampires in order to designate the attraction exerted by corpses: psychoanalysis, and the literature which is directly or indirectly inspired by it, deal with these matters in undisguised terms. The themes of fantastic literature have become, literally, the very themes of the psychological investigations of the last fifty years.
Howard Kerr (The Haunted Dusk)
Great travel writing consists of equal parts curiosity, vulnerability and vocabulary. It is not a terrain for know-it-alls or the indecisive. The best of the genre can simply be an elegant natural history essay, a nicely writ sports piece, or a well-turned profile of a bar band and its music. A well-grounded sense of place is the challenge for the writer. We observe, we calculate, we inquire, we look for a link between what we already know and what we're about to learn. The finest travel writing describes what's going on when nobody's looking.
Tom Miller
The endless piles of genre fiction are the key to happiness. They’re the key to picking out the things that actually make you happy in this world instead of the things that you’re told are good for you. Ninety percent of everything you read is going to be crap one way or the other, so make sure it’s the crap that makes you smile, and don’t apologize for it. pajiba.com guest post
Steven Lloyd Wilson
But if it so happens ... a work ... under pain of otherwise becoming shameful or false, requires fantasy ... [and that] certain limbs or elements of a figure are altered by borrowing from other species, for example transforming into a dolphin the hinder end of a griffon or a stag ... these alterations will be excellent and the substitution, however unreal it may seem, deserves to be declared a fine invention in the genre of the monstrous. When a painter introduces into this kind of work of art chimerae and other imaginary beings in order to divert and entertain the senses and also to captivate the eyes of mortals who long to see unclassified and impossible things, he shows himself more respectful of reason than if he produced the usual figures of men or of animals.
Michelangelo Buonarroti
Realism is for lazy-minded, semi-educated people whose atrophied imagination allows them to appreciate only the most limited and convention subject matter. Re-Fi is a repetitive genre written by unimaginative hacks who rely on mere mimesis. If they had any self-respect they'd be writing memoir, but they're too lazy to fact-check. Of course I never read Re-Fi. But the kids keep bringing home these garish realistic novels and talking about them, so I know that it's an incredibly narrow genre, completely centered on one species, full of worn-out cliches and predictable situations--the quest for the father, mother-bashing, obsessive male lust, dysfunctional suburban families, etc., etc. All it's good for is being made into mass-market movies. Given its old-fashioned means and limited subject matter, realism is quite incapable of describing the complexity of contemporary experience.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000–2016, with A Journal of a Writer's Week)
there was a sort of embarrassment about storytelling that struck home powerfully about one hundred years ago, at the beginning of modernism. We see a similar reaction in painting and in music. It's a preoccupation suddenly with the surface rather than the depth. So you get, for example, Picasso and Braque making all kinds of experiments with the actual surface of the painting. That becomes the interesting thing, much more interesting than the thing depicted, which is just an old newspaper, a glass of wine, something like that. In music, the Second Viennese School becomes very interested in what happens when the surface, the diatonic structure of the keys breaks down, and we look at the notes themselves in a sort of tone row, instead of concentrating on things like tunes, which are sort of further in, if you like. That happened, of course, in literature, too, with such great works as James Joyce's Ulysses, which is all about, really, how it's told. Not so much about what happens, which is a pretty banal event in a banal man's life. It's about how it's told. The surface suddenly became passionately interesting to artists in every field about a hundred years ago. In the field of literature, story retreated. The books we talked about just now, Middlemarch, Bleak House, Vanity Fair -- their authors were the great storytellers as well as the great artists. After modernism, things changed. Indeed, modernism sometimes seems to me like an equivalent of the Fall. Remember, the first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit was to discover that they had no clothes on. They were embarrassed. Embarrassment was the first consequence of the Fall. And embarrassment was the first literary consequence of this modernist discovery of the surface. "Am I telling a story? Oh my God, this is terrible. I must stop telling a story and focus on the minute gradations of consciousness as they filter through somebody's..." So there was a great split that took place. Story retreated, as it were, into genre fiction-into crime fiction, into science fiction, into romantic fiction-whereas the high-art literary people went another way. Children's books held onto the story, because children are rarely interested in surfaces in that sort of way. They're interested in what-happened and what-happened next. I found it a great discipline, when I was writing The Golden Compass and other books, to think that there were some children in the audience. I put it like that because I don't say I write for children. I find it hard to understand how some writers can say with great confidence, "Oh, I write for fourth grade children" or "I write for boys of 12 or 13." How do they know? I don't know. I would rather consider myself in the rather romantic position of the old storyteller in the marketplace: you sit down on your little bit of carpet with your hat upturned in front of you, and you start to tell a story. Your interest really is not in excluding people and saying to some of them, "No, you can't come, because it's just for so-and-so." My interest as a storyteller is to have as big an audience as possible. That will include children, I hope, and it will include adults, I hope. If dogs and horses want to stop and listen, they're welcome as well.
Philip Pullman
How can so many (white, male) writers narratively justify restricting the agency of their female characters on the grounds of sexism = authenticity while simultaneously writing male characters with conveniently modern values? The habit of authors writing Sexism Without Sexists in genre novels is seemingly pathological. Women are stuffed in the fridge under cover of "authenticity" by secondary characters and villains because too many authors flinch from the "authenticity" of sexist male protagonists. Which means the yardstick for "authenticity" in such novels almost always ends up being "how much do the women suffer", instead of - as might also be the case - "how sexist are the heroes". And this bugs me; because if authors can stretch their imaginations far enough to envisage the presence of modern-minded men in the fake Middle Ages, then why can't they stretch them that little bit further to put in modern-minded women, or modern-minded social values? It strikes me as being extremely convenient that the one universally permitted exception to this species of "authenticity" is one that makes the male heroes look noble while still mandating that the women be downtrodden and in need of rescuing. -Comment at Staffer's Book Review 4/18/2012 to "Michael J. Sullivan on Character Agency
Foz Meadows
Geeks are not the world’s rowdiest people. We’re quiet and introspective, and usually more comfortable communing with our keyboards or a good book than each other. Our idea of how to paint the Emerald City red involves light liquor, heavy munchies, and marathon sessions of video games of the ‘giant robots shooting each other and everything else in sight’ variety. We debate competing lines of software or gaming consoles with passion, and dissect every movie, television show, and novel in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. With as many of us as there are in this town, people inevitably find ways to cater to us when we get in the mood to spend our hard-earned dollars. Downtown Seattle boasts grandiose geek magnets, like the Experience Music Project and the Experience Science Fiction museum, but it has much humbler and far more obscure attractions too, like the place we all went to for our ship party that evening: a hole-in-the-wall bar called the Electric Penguin on Capitol Hill.
Angela Korra'ti (Faerie Blood (The Free Court of Seattle #1))
For some young artists, it can take a bit of time to discover which tools (which medium, or genre, or career pathway) will truly suit them best. For me, although many different art forms attract me, the tools that I find most natural and comfortable are language and oil paint; I've also learned that as someone with a limited number of spoons it's best to keep my toolbox clean and simple. My husband, by contrast, thrives with a toolbox absolutely crowded to bursting, working with language, voice, musical instruments, puppets, masks animated on a theater stage, computer and video imagery, and half a dozen other things besides, no one of these tools more important than the others, and all somehow working together. For other artists, the tools at hand might be needles and thread; or a jeweller's torch; or a rack of cooking spices; or the time to shape a young child's day.... To me, it's all art, inside the studio and out. At least it is if we approach our lives that way.
Terri Windling
Angela Carter...refused to join in rejecting or denouncing fairy tales, but instead embraced the whole stigmatized genre, its stock characters and well-known plots, and with wonderful verve and invention, perverse grace and wicked fun, soaked them in a new fiery liquor that brought them leaping back to life. From her childhood, through her English degree at the University of Bristol where she specialised in Medieval Literature, and her experiences as a young woman on the folk-music circuit in the West Country, Angela Carter was steeped in English and Celtic faerie, in romances of chivalry and the grail, Chaucerian storytelling and Spenserian allegory, and she was to become fairy tale’s rescuer, the form’s own knight errant, who seized hold of it in its moribund state and plunged it into the fontaine de jouvence itself. (from "Chamber of Secrets: The Sorcery of Angela Carter")
Marina Warner
The instruction here is not for every kind of writer - not for the writer of nurse books or thrillers or porno or the cheaper sort of sci-fi - though it is true that what holds for the most serious kind of fiction will generally hold for junk fiction as well. (Not everyone is capable of writing junk fiction: It requires an authentic junk mind. Most creative-writing teachers have had the experience of occasionally helping to produce, by accident, a pornographer. The most elegant techniques in the world, filtered through a junk mind, become elegant junk techniques.)
John Gardner (The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers)
Daniel Defoe was an English writer, journalist and spy, who gained enduring fame for his novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe is notable for being one of the earliest practitioners of the novel and helped popularize the genre in Britain. In some texts he is even referred to as one of the founders, if not the founder, of the English novel. A prolific and versatile writer, he wrote over five hundred books, pamphlets, and journals on various topics (including politics, crime, religion, marriage, psychology and the supernatural). He was also a pioneer of economic journalism. Source: Wikipedia
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe #1))
Love hurts. Think back over romance novels you’ve loved or the genre-defining books that drive our industry. The most unforgettable stories and characters spring from crushing opposition. What we remember about romance novels is the darkness that drives them. Three hundred pages of folks being happy together makes for a hefty sleeping pill, but three hundred pages of a couple finding a way to be happy in the face of impossible odds makes our hearts soar. In darkness, we are all alone. So don’t just make love, make anguish for your characters. As you structure a story, don’t satisfy your hero’s desires, thwart them. Make sure your solutions create new problems. Nurture your characters doubts and despair. Make them earn the happy ending they want, even better…make them deserve it. Delay and disappointment charge situations and validate character growth. Misery accompanies love. It’s no accident that many of the stories we think of as timeless romances in Western Literature are fiercely tragic: Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Cupid and Psyche… the pain in them drags us back again and again, hoping that this time we’ll find a way out of the dark. Only if you let your characters get lost will we get lost in them. And that, more than anything else, is what romance can and should do for its protagonists and its readers: lead us through the labyrinth, skirt the monstrous despair roaming its halls, and find our way into daylight.
Damon Suede
...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get. See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On. The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour. And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente
Q: Do you have any advice for upcoming writers who want to pen weird stories? A: READ, damn it. Fill your brain to the bursting point with the good stuff, starting with writers that you truly enjoy, and then work your way backward and outward, reading those writers who inspired the writers you love best. That was my path as far as Weird/Horror Fiction, starting with Lovecraft, and then working my way backward/outward on the Weird Fiction spiderweb. And don’t limit your reading. Read it all, especially non-fiction and various news outlets. You’d be surprised by how many of my story ideas were born while listening to NPR, perusing a blog, or paging through Vanity Fair. Once you have your fuel squared away, just write what you love, in whatever style and genre. You’ll never have fun being someone you’re not, so be yourself. When a singer opens their mouth, what comes out is what comes out. Also, don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to walk away. Writing isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally fine. One doesn’t need to be a writer to enjoy being a reader and overall fan of genre or wider fiction.
T.E. Grau
Nevertheless, the potential and actual importance of fantastic literature lies in such psychic links: what appears to be the result of an overweening imagination, boldly and arbitrarily defying the laws of time, space and ordered causality, is closely connected with, and structured by, the categories of the subconscious, the inner impulses of man's nature. At first glance the scope of fantastic literature, free as it is from the restrictions of natural law, appears to be unlimited. A closer look, however, will show that a few dominant themes and motifs constantly recur: deals with the Devil; returns from the grave for revenge or atonement; invisible creatures; vampires; werewolves; golems; animated puppets or automatons; witchcraft and sorcery; human organs operating as separate entities, and so on. Fantastic literature is a kind of fiction that always leads us back to ourselves, however exotic the presentation; and the objects and events, however bizarre they seem, are simply externalizations of inner psychic states. This may often be mere mummery, but on occasion it seems to touch the heart in its inmost depths and become great literature.
Franz Rottensteiner (The Fantasy Book: An Illustrated History From Dracula To Tolkien)
What's coming out of the stereo is like a genre unto itself, a charming, fucked-up fairy tale that immediately breaks my heart in all the best ways. I stretch out on the floor with my ear parked next to the speaker, in a trance. I place the album cover over my face to block out any interruption as "I'll Be Your Mirror" seduces me. I immediately add the song to my mental list of top ten songs ever. And as I'm bobbing my head with dreamy abandon, I hear a voice. "Nice choice, DJ," it says. I slowly slide the album cover down past my eyes and look up. My eyes spy his shoes first--paint-splattered brogues. My heart stops when I look at his face. Pale skin, messy black hair, emerald eyes...Senor Smolder! He's eighteen, maybe nineteen. And no, my imagination didn't lie, he is just as devastating now as he was the first time I saw him. Only even more, because he just complimented my taste in music.
Shauna Cross (Derby Girl)
For me, where genre ends and literature begins doesn’t matter. What matters is whether a given novel hits me with high impact. If it does, it probably is fulfilling the purpose of fiction. It has drawn me into a story world, held me captive, taken me on a journey with characters like none I’ve ever met, revealed truths I’ve somehow always known and insights that rock my brain. It’s filled me with awe, which is to say it’s made me see the familiar in a wholly new way and made the unfamiliar a foundational part of me. It both entertains and matters. It both captures our age and becomes timelessly great. It does all that with the sturdy tools of story and the flair of narrative art.
Donald Maass (Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling)
Not enough books focus on how a culture responds to radically new ideas or discovery. Especially in the biography genre, they tend to focus on all the sordid details in the life of the person who made the discovery. I find this path to be voyeuristic but not enlightening. Instead, I ask, After evolution was discovered, how did religion and society respond? After cities were electrified, how did daily life change? After the airplane could fly from one country to another, how did commerce or warfare change? After we walked on the Moon, how differently did we view Earth? My larger understanding of people, places and things derives primarily from stories surrounding questions such as those.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Supernatural fiction contains its own generic borderland: a neutral territory, which Tzvetan Todorov calls 'the fantastic,' between 'the marvelous' and 'the uncanny.' According to Todorov, 'The fantastic is that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature, confronting an apparently supernatural event.' Once the event is satisfactorily explained (and sometimes it is never explained), we have left the fantastic for an adjacent genre - either 'the uncanny,' where the apparently supernatural is revealed as illusory, or 'the marvelous,' where the laws of ordinary reality must be revised to incorporate the supernatural. As long as uncertainty reigns, however, we are in the ambiguous realm of the fantastic.
Howard Kerr (The Haunted Dusk)
The trouble is, we have up-close access to women who excel in each individual sphere. With social media and its carefully selected messaging, we see career women killing it, craft moms slaying it, chef moms nailing it, Christian leaders working it. We register their beautiful yards, homemade green chile enchiladas, themed birthday parties, eight-week Bible study series, chore charts, ab routines, “10 Tips for a Happy Marriage,” career best practices, volunteer work, and Family Fun Night ideas. We make note of their achievements, cataloging their successes and observing their talents. Then we combine the best of everything we see, every woman we admire in every genre, and conclude: I should be all of that. It is certifiably insane.
Jen Hatmaker (For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards)
When I was a kid, I just read and read. We were lucky enough to have gone to England and had a whole bunch of Penguin Puffins books, like The Land of Green Ginger by Noel Langley, which is hilarious. I would love to be able to write a book like that, but I don't know that I have a humorous bone in my body when it comes to writing. Once on a Time by A.A. Milne. I read a lot of old, old fantasy stuff. The Carbonelbooks by Barbara Sleigh. Then when I got a little older I loved Zilpha Keatley Snyder. I was a big fan of romance and when I got a little bit older I would read a Harlequin romance or a Georgette Heyer novel and then David Copperfield, and then another genre book and then Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy. I was that kind of reader. One book that I loved was I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I loved voice and that book had it in spades. And then of course I grew into loving Jane Eyre.
Franny Billingsley
The funny thing about games and fictions is that they have a weird way of bleeding into reality. Whatever else it is, the world that humans experience is animated with narratives, rituals, and roles that organize psychological experience, social relations, and our imaginative grasp of the material cosmos. The world, then, is in many ways a webwork of fictions, or, better yet, of stories. The contemporary urge to “gamify” our social and technological interactions is, in this sense, simply an extension of the existing games of subculture, of folklore, even of belief. This is the secret truth of the history of religions: not that religions are “nothing more” than fictions, crafted out of sociobiological need or wielded by evil priests to control ignorant populations, but that human reality possesses an inherently fictional or fantastic dimension whose “game engine” can — and will — be organized along variously visionary, banal, and sinister lines. Part of our obsession with counterfactual genres like sci-fi or fantasy is not that they offer escape from reality — most of these genres are glum or dystopian a lot of the time anyway — but because, in reflecting the “as if” character of the world, they are actually realer than they appear.
Erik Davis (TechGnosis: Myth, Magic Mysticism in the Age of Information)
I had chosen to play the detective—and if there is one thing that unites all the detectives I've ever read about, it's their inherent loneliness. The suspects know each other. They may well be family or friends. But the detective is always the outsider. He asks the necessary questions but he doesn't actually form a relationship with anyone. He doesn't trust them, and they in turn are afraid of him. It's a relationship based entirely on deception and it's one that, ultimately, goes nowhere. Once the killer has been identified, the detective leaves and is never seen again. In fact, everyone is glad to see the back of him.
Anthony Horowitz (Magpie Murders (Susan Ryeland, #1))
Your basic-type jailhouse tatt is homemade with sewing needles from the jailhouse canteen and some blue ink from the cartridge of a fountain pen promoted from the breast pocket of an unaltert public defender, is why the jailhouse genre is always the same night-sky blue. The needle is dipped in the ink and jabbed as deep into the tattooee as it can be jabbed without making him recoil and fucking up your aim. Just a plain ultraminimal blue square like Gately's got on his right wrist takes half a day and hundreds of individual jabs. How come the lines are never quite straight and the color's never quite all the way solid is it's impossible to get all the individualized punctures down to the same uniform deepness in the, like, twitching flesh. This is why jailhouse tatts always look like they were done by sadistic children on rainy afternoons.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Given the obstacles to merging these fragile and diverse forms of storytelling into a single tale, it is, paradoxically, by venturing in the opposite direction -- by listening for the silences between accounts; by discovering what each genre of recordkeeping cannot tell us -- that we can capture most fully the human struggle to understand our elusive past. What this past asks of us in return is a willingness to recount all our stories -- our darkest tales as well as our most inspiring ones -- and to ponder those stories that violence has silenced forever. For until we recognize our shared capacity for inhumanity, how can we ever hope to tell stories of our mutual humanity?
Karl Jacoby (Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History)
I would agree that encyclopedia’s could teach me facts, but only a great story could transport me into the mind of another person. These stories taught me about empathy, about good and evil, about love and sorrow. My tastes covered many different genres, but the books I loved most proposed the idea that ordinary people (not to mention hobbits) are born with the capability to do extraordinary, even heroic things. The realization came as a sort of code to all the lessons my parents had taught me about looking beyond wealth and appearances, and appreciating the worth of everyone I met. It’s a lesson that sticks with me to this day. No real leader can see the people around them as static creatures. If you cannot see the potential I the people around you, it’s impossible to rouse them to great things. That may be one of the reasons why, even now, I always make time for a novel or two every month, amongst the mountains of serious works and briefing notes. Facts may fuel a leader’s intellect. But literature fuels the soul.
Justin Trudeau (Common Ground)
I’ve read science fiction and fantasy all my life – though when you’re a child, they just call that “books.” The first book I ever read on my own was The Neverending Story. I studied classics at university, and in ancient literature, monsters, witches, magic, curses, and impossible machines aren’t genre, they’re just Tuesday afternoon. I had no idea that I was writing fantasy at first, because I was so saturated in Greek literature that it never occurred to me that my talking animals and sentient mazes were anything but realism. Our instinct toward folklore and magical stories, parables and imagining the future, are as much a part of the human experiences as divorce, grief, falling in love, politics, or raising children. I’ve always read fantastic literature, because it’s always seemed truest to me. It makes the metaphorical literal and is all the more powerful for that immediacy and directness. I love genre fiction for the infinite expanse of stories it can tell – and it’s been my constant companion since I was a very small child.
Catherynne M. Valente
Having to amuse myself during those earlier years, I read voraciously and widely. Mythic matter and folklore made up much of that reading—retellings of the old stories (Mallory, White, Briggs), anecdotal collections and historical investigations of the stories' backgrounds—and then I stumbled upon the Tolkien books which took me back to Lord Dunsany, William Morris, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison, Mervyn Peake and the like. I was in heaven when Lin Carter began the Unicorn imprint for Ballantine and scoured the other publishers for similar good finds, delighting when I discovered someone like Thomas Burnett Swann, who still remains a favourite. This was before there was such a thing as a fantasy genre, when you'd be lucky to have one fantasy book published in a month, little say the hundreds per year we have now. I also found myself reading Robert E. Howard (the Cormac and Bran mac Morn books were my favourites), Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and finally started reading science fiction after coming across Andre Norton's Huon of the Horn. That book wasn't sf, but when I went to read more by her, I discovered everything else was. So I tried a few and that led me to Clifford Simak, Roger Zelazny and any number of other fine sf writers. These days my reading tastes remain eclectic, as you might know if you've been following my monthly book review column in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I'm as likely to read Basil Johnston as Stephen King, Jeanette Winterson as Harlan Ellison, Barbara Kingsolver as Patricia McKillip, Andrew Vachss as Parke Godwin—in short, my criteria is that the book must be good; what publisher's slot it fits into makes absolutely no difference to me.
Charles de Lint
It has generally been assumed that fairy tales were first created for children and are largely the domain of children. But nothing could be further from the truth. From the very beginning, thousands of years ago, when tales were told to create communal bonds in face of the inexplicable forces of nature, to the present, when fairy tales are written and told to provide hope in a world seemingly on the brink of catastrophe, mature men and women have been the creators and cultivators of the fairy tale tradition. When introduced to fairy tales, children welcome them mainly because they nurture their great desire for change and independence. On the whole, the literary fairy tale has become an established genre within a process of Western civilization that cuts across all ages. Even though numerous critics and shamans have mystified and misinterpreted the fairy tale because of their spiritual quest for universal archetypes or their need to save the world through therapy, both the oral and the literary forms of the fairy tale are grounded in history: they emanate from specific struggles to humanize bestial and barbaric forces, which have terrorized our minds and communities in concrete ways, threatening to destroy free will and human compassion. The fairy tale sets out to conquer this concrete terror through metaphors.
Jack D. Zipes (Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture)
YA stories feature a young adult protagonist or protagonists and usually focus on that character’s journey toward maturity (the tradition of the Bildungsroman.). Learning about love / relationships is an important part of that stage in our lives, so it’s not surprising so many writers are building strong romantic elements into their YA stories. I don’t remember quite such an emphasis on romance in the books my children read as young adults, so I do think the approach has changed. Within my genre of fantasy, there’s been an upsurge of paranormal romance, partly generated by the Twilight books, but also reflecting the popularity of this sub-genre with adult readers. There are far more female fantasy writers (and female fantasy readers) than there were, say, twenty years ago, and perhaps female writers are more confident about including a good love story in a fantasy novel. (2012 Interview by Helen Lowe: The Supernatural Underground: An Interview with Juliet Marillier Discussing "Shadowfell".)
Juliet Marillier
Museum architectural search committees have invariably included the Kimbell in their international scouting tours of exemplary art galleries (a practice pioneered by Velma Kimbell, the founder’s widow, in 1964). Those groups no doubt respond to the Kimbell with suitable reverence, but given the buildings they later commissioned, many post-Bilbao museum patrons obviously wanted something quite different. The disparity between Kahn’s museums and recent examples of that genre parallels the discrepancy he saw between postwar Modernism and ancient Classicism: “Our stuff looks tinny compared to it.” At a time when commercial values are systematically corrupting the museum - one of civilized society’s most elevating experiences - the example of Kahn, among the most courageous and successful architectural reformers of all time, seems more relevant and cautionary than ever.
Martin Filler (Makers of Modern Architecture: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry)
Tragedy's language stresses that whatever is within us is obscure, many faceted, impossible to see. Performance gave this question of what is within a physical force. The spectators were far away from the performers, on that hill above the theatre. At the centre of their vision was a small hut, into which they could not see. The physical action presented to their attention was violent but mostly unseen. They inferred it, as they inferred inner movement, from words spoken by figures whose entrances and exits into and out of the visible space patterned the play. They saw its results when that facade opened to reveal a dead body. This genre, with its dialectics of seen and unseen, inside and outside, exit and entrance, was a simultaneously internal and external, intellectual and somatic expression of contemporary questions about the inward sources of harm, knowledge, power, and darkness.
Ruth Padel (In and Out of the Mind: Greek Images of the Tragic Self)
At this point, a few words on this term 'horror' are perhaps called for. Some amateurs of this kind of literature engage in endless hairsplitting disputes, centered around this word and its close companion 'terror', as to which' stories may so be categorized and which may not, and whether or not descriptions such as weird or fantasy or macabre are preferable. The designation 'horror', with its connotations of revulsion, satisfies me no more than it does the purists but I believe that it is the only term which embraces all the stories in this collection and which succinctly suggests to the majority of readers what is in store for them. Horror then, in this instance, covers tales of the Supernatural and of physical terror, of ghosts and necromancy and of inhuman violence and all the dark corners and crevices of human belief and behavior that lie in between. ("An Age In Horror" - introduction)
Michel Parry (Reign of Terror)
Space opera, as every reader doubtless knows, is a pejorative term often applied to a story that has an element of adventure. Over the decades, brilliant and talented new writers appear, receiving great acclaim, and each and every one of them can be expected to write at least one article stating flatly that the day of space opera is over and done, thank goodness, and that henceforth these crude tales of interplanetary nonsense will be replaced by whatever type of story that writer happens to favor — closet dramas, psychological dramas, sex dramas, etc., but by God important dramas, containing nothing but Big Thinks. Ten years late, the writer in question may or may not still be around, but the space opera can be found right where it always was, sturdily driving its dark trade in heroes.
Leigh Brackett (The Best of Planet Stories 1)
In my utopia, human solidarity would be seen not as a fact to be recognised by clearing away "prejudice" or burrowing down to previously hidden depths but, rather, as a goal to be achieved. It is to be achieved not by inquiry but by imagination, the imaginative ability to see strange people as fellow sufferers. Solidarity is not discovered by reflection but created. It is created by increasing our sensitivity to the particular details of the pain and humiliation of other, unfamiliar sorts of people. Such increased sensitivity makes it more difficult to marginalise people different from ourselves by thinking, "They do not feel as 'we' would," or "There must always be suffering, so why not let 'them' suffer?" This process of coming to see other human beings as "one of us" rather than as "them" is a matter of detailed description of what unfamiliar people are like and of redescription of what we ourselves are like. This is a task not for theory but for genres such as ethnography, the journalist's report, the comic book, the docudrama, and, especially, the novel. Fiction like that of Dickens, Olive Schreiner, or Richard Wright give us the details about kinds of suffering being endured by people to whom we had previously not attended. Fiction like that of Choderlos de Laclos, Henry James, or Nabokov gives us the details about what sorts of cruelty we ourselves are capable of, and thereby lets us redescribe ourselves. That is why the novel, the movie, and the TV program have, gradually but steadily, replaced the sermon and the treatise as the principal vehicles of moral change and progress.
Richard M. Rorty (Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity)
Border crossing' is a recurrent theme in all aspects of my work -- editing, writing, and painting. I'm interested in the various ways artists not only cross borders but also subvert them. In mythology, the old Trickster figure Coyote is a champion border crosser, mischievously dashing from the land of the living to the land of the dead, from the wilderness world of magic to the human world. He tears things down so they can be made anew. He's a rascal, but also a culture hero, dancing on borders, ignoring the rules, as many of our most innovative artists do. I'm particularly drawn to art that crosses the borders critics have erected between 'high art' and 'popular culture,' between 'mainstream' and 'genre,' or between one genre and another -- I love that moment of passage between the two; that place on the border where two worlds meet and energize each other, where Coyote enters and shakes things up. But I still have a great love for traditional fantasy, for Imaginary World, center-of-the-genre stories. I'm still excited by series books and trilogies if they're well written and use mythic tropes in interesting ways.
Terri Windling
She understood the genre constraints, the decencies we were supposed to be observing. The morally cosy vision allows the embrace of monstrosity only as a reaction to suffering or as an act of rage against the Almighty. Vampire interviewee Louis is in despair at his brother’s death when he accepts Lestat’s offer. Frankenstein’s creature is driven to violence by the violence done to him. Even Lucifer’s rebellion emerges from the agony of injured pride. The message is clear: By all means become an abomination—but only while unhinged by grief or wrath. By rights, Talulla knew, she should have been orphaned or raped or paedophilically abused or terminally ill or suicidally depressed or furious at God for her mother’s death or at any rate in some way deranged if she was to be excused for not having killed herself, once it became apparent that she’d have to murder and devour people in order to stay alive. The mere desire to stay alive, in whatever form you’re lumbered with—werewolf, vampire, Father of Lies—really couldn’t be considered a morally sufficient rationale. And yet here she was, staying alive. You love life because life’s all there is.
Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1))
The Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing tells the story of the gangster leaders who carried out anti-communist purges in Indonesia in 1965 to usher in the regime of Suharto. The film’s hook, which makes it compelling and accessible, is that the filmmakers get Anwar —one of the death-squad leaders, who murdered around a thousand communists using a wire rope—and his acolytes to reenact the killings and events around them on film in a variety of genres of their choosing. In the film’s most memorable sequence, Anwar—who is old now and actually really likable, a bit like Nelson Mandela, all soft and wrinkly with nice, fuzzy gray hair—for the purposes of a scene plays the role of a victim in one of the murders that he in real life carried out. A little way into it, he gets a bit tearful and distressed and, when discussing it with the filmmaker on camera in the next scene, reveals that he found the scene upsetting. The offcamera director asks the poignant question, “What do you think your victims must’ve felt like?” and Anwar initially almost fails to see the connection. Eventually, when the bloody obvious correlation hits him, he thinks it unlikely that his victims were as upset as he was, because he was “really” upset. The director, pressing the film’s point home, says, “Yeah but it must’ve been worse for them, because we were just pretending; for them it was real.” Evidently at this point the reality of the cruelty he has inflicted hits Anwar, because when they return to the concrete garden where the executions had taken place years before, he, on camera, begins to violently gag. This makes incredible viewing, as this literally visceral ejection of his self and sickness at his previous actions is a vivid catharsis. He gagged at what he’d done. After watching the film, I thought—as did probably everyone who saw it—how can people carry out violent murders by the thousand without it ever occurring to them that it is causing suffering? Surely someone with piano wire round their neck, being asphyxiated, must give off some recognizable signs? Like going “ouch” or “stop” or having blood come out of their throats while twitching and spluttering into perpetual slumber? What it must be is that in order to carry out that kind of brutal murder, you have to disengage with the empathetic aspect of your nature and cultivate an idea of the victim as different, inferior, and subhuman. The only way to understand how such inhumane behavior could be unthinkingly conducted is to look for comparable examples from our own lives. Our attitude to homelessness is apposite here. It isn’t difficult to envisage a species like us, only slightly more evolved, being universally appalled by our acceptance of homelessness. “What? You had sufficient housing, it cost less money to house them, and you just ignored the problem?” They’d be as astonished by our indifference as we are by the disconnected cruelty of Anwar.
Russell Brand
There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children's book. The reason for that is that in adult literary fiction, stories are there on sufferance. Other things are felt to be more important: technique, style, literary knowingness. Adult writers who deal in straightforward stories find themselves sidelined into a genre such as crime or science fiction, where no one expects literary craftsmanship. But stories are vital. Stories never fail us because, as Isaac Bashevis Singer says, "events never grow stale." There's more wisdom in a story than in volumes of philosophy. And by a story I mean not only Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk but also the great novels of the nineteenth century, Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Bleak House and many others: novels where the story is at the center of the writer's attention, where the plot actually matters. The present-day would-be George Eliots take up their stories as if with a pair of tongs. They're embarrassed by them. If they could write novels without stories in them, they would. Sometimes they do. But what characterizes the best of children's authors is that they're not embarrassed to tell stories. They know how important stories are, and they know, too, that if you start telling a story you've got to carry on till you get to the end. And you can't provide two ends, either, and invite the reader to choose between them. Or as in a highly praised recent adult novel I'm about to stop reading, three different beginnings. In a book for children you can't put the plot on hold while you cut artistic capers for the amusement of your sophisticated readers, because, thank God, your readers are not sophisticated. They've got more important things in mind than your dazzling skill with wordplay. They want to know what happens next.
Philip Pullman
And against whom is this censorship directed? By way of answer, think back to the big subcultural debates of 2011 – debates about how gritty fantasy isn’t really fantasy; how epic fantasy written from the female gaze isn’t really fantasy; how women should stop complaining about sexism in comics because clearly, they just hate comics; how trying to incorporate non-Eurocentric settings into fantasy is just political correctness gone wrong and a betrayal of the genre’s origins; how anyone who finds the portrayal of women and relationships in YA novels problematic really just wants to hate on the choices of female authors and readers; how aspiring authors and bloggers shouldn’t post negative reviews online, because it could hurt their careers; how there’s no homophobia in publishing houses, so the lack of gay YA protagonists can only be because the manuscripts that feature them are bad; how there’s nothing problematic about lots of pretty dead girls on YA covers; how there’s nothing wrong with SF getting called ‘dystopia’ when it’s marketed to teenage girls, because girls don’t read SF. Most these issues relate to fear of change in the genre, and to deeper social problems like sexism and racism; but they are also about criticism, and the freedom of readers, bloggers and authors alike to critique SFF and YA novels without a backlash that declares them heretical for doing so. It’s not enough any more to tiptoe around the issues that matter, refusing to name the works we think are problematic for fear of being ostracized. We need to get over this crushing obsession with niceness – that all fans must act nicely, that all authors must be nice to each other, that everyone must be nice about everything even when it goes against our principles – because it’s not helping us grow, or be taken seriously, or do anything other than throw a series of floral bedspreads over each new room-hogging elephant. We, all of us, need to get critical. Blog post: Criticism in SFF and YA
Foz Meadows
As a result of the work done by all these stratifying force in language, there are no "neutral" words and forms - words and forms that can belong to "no one"; language has been completely taken over, shot through with intentions and accents. For any individual consciousness living in it, language is not an abstract system of normative forms, but rather a concrete heteroglot conception of the world. All words have the "taste" of a profession, a genre, a tendency, a party, a particular work, a particular person, a generation, an age group, the day and hour. Each word tastes of the context and contexts in which it has lived it socially charged life; all words and forms are populated by intentions. Contextual overtones (generic, tendentious, individualistic) are inevitable in the word. As a living, socio-ideological concrete thing, as heteroglot opinion, language, for the individual consciousness, lies on the borderline between oneself and the other. The word in language is half someone else's. It becomes "one's own" only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language (it is not, after all, out of a dictionary that the speaker gets his words!), but rather it exists in other people's mouths, in other people's contexts, serving other people's intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one's own. And not all words for just anyone submit equally easy to this appropriation, to this seizure and transformation into private property: many words stubbornly resist, others remain alien, sound foreign in the mouth of the one who appropriated them and who now speaks them; they cannot be assimilated into his context and fall out of it; it is as if they put themselves in quotation marks against the will of the speaker. Language is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker's intentions; it is populated - overpopulated - with the intentions of others. Expropriating it, forcing it to submit to one's own intentions and accents, is a difficult and complicated process.
Mikhail Bakhtin
O: You’re quite a writer. You’ve a gift for language, you’re a deft hand at plotting, and your books seem to have an enormous amount of attention to detail put into them. You’re so good you could write anything. Why write fantasy? Pratchett: I had a decent lunch, and I’m feeling quite amiable. That’s why you’re still alive. I think you’d have to explain to me why you’ve asked that question. O: It’s a rather ghettoized genre. P: This is true. I cannot speak for the US, where I merely sort of sell okay. But in the UK I think every book— I think I’ve done twenty in the series— since the fourth book, every one has been one the top ten national bestsellers, either as hardcover or paperback, and quite often as both. Twelve or thirteen have been number one. I’ve done six juveniles, all of those have nevertheless crossed over to the adult bestseller list. On one occasion I had the adult best seller, the paperback best-seller in a different title, and a third book on the juvenile bestseller list. Now tell me again that this is a ghettoized genre. O: It’s certainly regarded as less than serious fiction. P: (Sighs) Without a shadow of a doubt, the first fiction ever recounted was fantasy. Guys sitting around the campfire— Was it you who wrote the review? I thought I recognized it— Guys sitting around the campfire telling each other stories about the gods who made lightning, and stuff like that. They did not tell one another literary stories. They did not complain about difficulties of male menopause while being a junior lecturer on some midwestern college campus. Fantasy is without a shadow of a doubt the ur-literature, the spring from which all other literature has flown. Up to a few hundred years ago no one would have disagreed with this, because most stories were, in some sense, fantasy. Back in the middle ages, people wouldn’t have thought twice about bringing in Death as a character who would have a role to play in the story. Echoes of this can be seen in Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, which hark back to a much earlier type of storytelling. The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest works of literature, and by the standard we would apply now— a big muscular guys with swords and certain godlike connections— That’s fantasy. The national literature of Finland, the Kalevala. Beowulf in England. I cannot pronounce Bahaghvad-Gita but the Indian one, you know what I mean. The national literature, the one that underpins everything else, is by the standards that we apply now, a work of fantasy. Now I don’t know what you’d consider the national literature of America, but if the words Moby Dick are inching their way towards this conversation, whatever else it was, it was also a work of fantasy. Fantasy is kind of a plasma in which other things can be carried. I don’t think this is a ghetto. This is, fantasy is, almost a sea in which other genres swim. Now it may be that there has developed in the last couple of hundred years a subset of fantasy which merely uses a different icongraphy, and that is, if you like, the serious literature, the Booker Prize contender. Fantasy can be serious literature. Fantasy has often been serious literature. You have to fairly dense to think that Gulliver’s Travels is only a story about a guy having a real fun time among big people and little people and horses and stuff like that. What the book was about was something else. Fantasy can carry quite a serious burden, and so can humor. So what you’re saying is, strip away the trolls and the dwarves and things and put everyone into modern dress, get them to agonize a bit, mention Virginia Woolf a few times, and there! Hey! I’ve got a serious novel. But you don’t actually have to do that. (Pauses) That was a bloody good answer, though I say it myself.
Terry Pratchett