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Old 02-06-2012, 11:40 AM   #31
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Some books are just a framework and an excuse to feature "pages and pages" of people doing it. They sell well, too.
Exactly. I wasn't trying to disparage books with explicit love scenes, because I do read them too, and am often entertained by them much like a movie love scene in context -but I think its a neat change to have some "tamer" romances. I recall the scene from "Friends" where Phoebe takes a shot at writing a romance novel and the "heaving beasts" and "throbbing pens"
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:42 AM   #32
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Seriously though, what are they really about, preachers with guns blowing away sinners, avenging angels with chainsaws, that sort of thing? The only christain fiction I've ever read is Torment by Jeremy Bishop and the Narnia books.
Seriously, check them out.
The summaries, if nothing else. Not hard to do. Plenty of freebies to sample.

I've only read a couple myself, out of curiosity, so I can't vouch for what may or not make up the bulk of the $500 million-a-year christian book business. What I've run into in the weekly Amazon freebies runs more along the lines of the old WB series, SEVENTH HEAVEN. Which, not coincidentally, was the most popular show on that network for ages, only exceeded by SMALLVILLE.

The majority of the books don't seem to be *about* religion, just about people who happen to be religious. So in that respect NARNIA doesn't fit.

In the summaries, I've seen historical dramas of the Roman Empire, Medieval allegories, pioneer adventures lots and lots of romance. The rom-coms are stuff you could safely give a nine or ten year old girl. Nary a hint of the sledgehammer proseletyzing in the LEFT BEHIND series and certainly no demonizing of unbelievers. If anything, I think a lot of it is more a subset of the ROMANTIC books business targetted at believers, than a religiously-focused business. Just family-friendly *entertainment*, rather than religious propaganda, which is what you'd expect of any business that hits a half-billion in annual sales.

Some may deride the genre, but the genre is big and growing at a steady 8% yearly clip. And it poses some interesting questions about who buys them and why:

http://danielsilliman.blogspot.com/2...roblem-of.html
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:47 AM   #33
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A very poor article. What dominates paper book sales? The same thing! The much derided "genre fiction", that's what. The author talks about people buying all of Dickens for three pounds, and then simply assumes that people are buying it, but not reading it. After all, if they read it, it would undermine the article's premise. Of course, you can get all of Dickens for free, but the author doesn't seem to recognize that you can get public domain books for free. If the author was aware of this, then she would instead have said something to effect of "Sure, they download them for free, but they don't read them." That's more plausible than saying "Sure, they spend three pounds for them, but they don't read them." That would be a more reasonable claim, but still lacking in evidence.

This article shows a real contempt for the reader, looking down on them for reading the "wrong" books. Those "future classics" just might not be classics. It's possible that they are a neglected treasure, but it is also possible that they just aren't that good. It is ironic that the author mentions Dickens, as Dickens was sneered for being popular with the unwashed masses.

I do think that you can go too far out of your way to avoid clichés. A lot of what gets derided as cliché is just how people speak, or is just the type of stories that people have told and enjoyed throughout history. You can attempt to break clichés, but you have to recognize that you might just break your story instead. In trying too much for original characters, you can create characters that readers simply won't recognize.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:57 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by spindlegirl View Post
I wasn't trying to disparage books with explicit love scenes, because I do read them too, and am often entertained by them much like a movie love scene in context -but I think its a neat change to have some "tamer" romances. I recall the scene from "Friends" where Phoebe takes a shot at writing a romance novel and the "heaving beasts" and "throbbing pens"
No problem.
One of the more amusing things I've found in the genres is how sensitive some folks get about the cliches that surround their preferred niches.

For example, one of the better pre-Twilight Urban Fantasy Series, is Tanya Huff' Vickie Nelson novels. (Good mysteries that happen to involve the supernatural, built around the classic movie monsters; vampires, werewolves, mummies, etc) The resident vampire in those novels is 300-plus years old and makes a "living" as a writer of historical romances, whimsically described as bodice-rippers. She ever included a couple samples of the vamp's work.

When the series was adapted to TV as BLOOD TIES (pretty faithfully, too) it ran on LIFETIME, so they switched the vamp's career to...comic book artist. Apparently they figured it would be safer to make fun of a different genre and didn't expect comic book fans to watch LIFETIME. Or maybe they expected them to have a better sense of humor.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:06 PM   #35
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I do think that you can go too far out of your way to avoid clichés. A lot of what gets derided as cliché is just how people speak, or is just the type of stories that people have told and enjoyed throughout history. You can attempt to break clichés, but you have to recognize that you might just break your story instead. In trying too much for original characters, you can create characters that readers simply won't recognize.
The literary types always look down at fiction writers.
And the more popular they are, the more they frown upon them; you can't be any real good if the masses understand you.

One of the traditional put-downs of Edgar Rice Burroughs is that he wrote in the vernacular of the times.
Really? He wrote popular adventure fiction set in his times and had characters talk like the common people of the times? How dare he!
Never mind that he invented half the narrative conventions of modern action and adventure stories, both print and in video.

Odds are folks will still be enjoying his stories and characters long after the works of the "literary" crowd are forgotten.

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Old 02-06-2012, 12:27 PM   #36
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No problem.
One of the more amusing things I've found in the genres is how sensitive some folks get about the cliches that surround their preferred niches.
Yep, exactly. Cliches, even ones that one is tired of, can be a good thing. A person knows what they're expecting, and it's good for the person who wants a certain formula in a story. Like comfort food. I don't want a steady diet of french fries (ok, I do, but that's beside the point ), But when i indulge in them I expect them to taste like french fries
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:31 PM   #37
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Dickens was popular in his own time, used common language and is considered "literary", H.P.Lovecraft used some rather difficult, anachronic blasé language, was not popular in his own time and is not by any means considered literary. Borges, I think, beautifully walks along both "genres"...

I think reading solely about dragons, zombies or space marines is puerile behaviour. It's acceptable in a consumerist society where being teen-like is desirable because it means more money being wasted on life-filling junk.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:36 PM   #38
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Are ebooks to blame for Snooki's book, too?

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Old 02-06-2012, 12:49 PM   #39
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Anyone who wants to write a "future classic" needs to have their head examined. That's the kind of boring tripe that gets recycled endlessly though middle and high school English classes. I'd rather write someone's guilty pleasure or cult classic.
But why scorn someone who is interested in reading or writing that genre?

Isn't there room for everyone at the table? Or maybe the better question is, shouldn't there be?

I have found that those that judge harshly invite similar judgement, and I find that counter productive for all sides.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:50 PM   #40
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Dickens was popular in his own time, used common language and is considered "literary", H.P.Lovecraft used some rather difficult, anachronic blasé language, was not popular in his own time and is not by any means considered literary. Borges, I think, beautifully walks along both "genres"...

I think reading solely about dragons, zombies or space marines is puerile behaviour. It's acceptable in a consumerist society where being teen-like is desirable because it means more money being wasted on life-filling junk.
Dickens was considered lowbrow in his time, it is only in retrospect that he is considered "literary". The highbrow stuff of his day is forgotten. People study Lovecraft in universities all over, no matter how much you sneer at him.

Science fiction explores ideas at least as well as the so-called "literary" books. Snobbery is what is puerile.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:52 PM   #41
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I think reading solely about dragons, zombies or space marines is puerile behaviour.
Perhaps, but what constitutes fantasy, horror and scifi is much more than these things.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:52 PM   #42
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(some contents removed). Snobbery is what is puerile.
Absolutely true.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:06 PM   #43
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I recall the scene from "Friends" where Phoebe takes a shot at writing a romance novel and the "heaving beasts" and "throbbing pens"
Rachel, actually.

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Are ebooks to blame for Snooki's book, too?
No, we can safely blame that one on <insert evil deity/demon here>. Or on a vengeful <insert deity here>. Or on the lack of a <insert deity here>, vengeful or otherwise, depending on your religious views.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #44
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:29 PM   #45
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Dickens was popular in his own time, used common language and is considered "literary", H.P.Lovecraft used some rather difficult, anachronic blasé language, was not popular in his own time and is not by any means considered literary. Borges, I think, beautifully walks along both "genres"...

I think reading solely about dragons, zombies or space marines is puerile behaviour. It's acceptable in a consumerist society where being teen-like is desirable because it means more money being wasted on life-filling junk.
And I think talking about things you know nothing about is absolutely elitist, extremely snobby and stupid... the genres of SF&F include far more than that and all you do is highlight your own ignorance if you think that is the sum of the genres... rather like Margaret Atwood and her comments... try "Earth Abides," "A Canticle for Leibowitz," "Bring the Jubilee" and many more- not a single dragon, zombie or space marine in sight... and that's just the start...
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