In which I read a New Yorker blog post about genre fiction so you don’t have to

Well, if you really want to read it, here you go.  But let me just give you my quick summary: Anything the author thinks is really good isn’t genre fiction; so, obviously, if it’s genre fiction, it can’t be all that good.  Like so:

“All the Pretty Horses” is no more a western than “1984” is science fiction. Nor can we in good conscience call John Le Carré’s “The Honorable Schoolboy” or Richard Price’s “Lush Life” genre novels.

I love the imperial “we” in that second sentence.  And the “in good conscience”: I could call The Honorable Schoolboy a spy novel, because it involves, like, spies and all, but no, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  My mother brought me up to be better than that.

I thought this debate had been resolved back in the 1960s, with Vonnegut and Burgess and Tolkien and, yes, Le Carré. But apparently some people still want to fuss about it.  Sheesh.  What a waste of time.

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