Musings on genre

September 6, 2012 at 7:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Earlier, whenever I’d hear a techno song or a hiphop song, my initial thoughts used to be along the lines: “But these all sound exactly the same.” Many otherwise sensible people have the same reaction to metal music. I’ve come to think this is the same as saying: “I’m not familiar with this type of music.” (So I’m trying to stop saying it.)

Now, if we can agree to that, does the same apply for genre literature, as well? Quite often you hear people complaining the fantasy novels are all the same. You know, good guys, bad guys, dragons, knights, swords, elves, wizards etc etc. On one hand, it’s true, many of them use the same elements. On the other hand, if you don’t have any of them, it just doesn’t feel like fantasy anymore. One can use these elements in a cliched manner or in a new, original way, so it’s not the elements themselves that proclaim a work cliched or not. So, when someone not that much into fantasy complains that all fantasy books are the same, what they mean is “I’m not familiar with this type of literature.”

The same goes for detective novels, sci-fi, romance novels, and pretty much any genre out there. So we should stop complaining how “These books are all the same.”


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