Muwahaha! Thea is away and I am taking over for the week (ok, sort of).
OK. Right, where to begin?
Brouhahas on the Internets!
It’s been a while since we last saw a good, interesting brouhaha on the internets. Thea’s side of the pond has been quiet for a while but on my side of the pond? A lot of action!
It started with Nial of The Speculative Scotsman, who wrote a post entitled Inferior Fantasy where he questions the overall quality of the Fantasy writing as opposed to say, literary fiction. The post caused quite the shitstorm both on his blog (look at the comments!) and on Twitter. It sparked other great posts in response as well. Like this one from Martin Lewis (editor of Vector Reviews) over at his blog Everything is Nice, entitled Inferiority Complex in which he agrees with Nial and he says:
It just means that perhaps there is a conversation to be had about pushing the genre forward.
Another great follow-up post was one by writer Robert Jackson Bennett at the Orbit’s blog where he writes On Content, Execution and the Future of Genre where he quotes Terry Pratchett and Jeff Vandermeer. It is a very interesting post and well worth a read.
I followed everything with an avid curiosity. I think that Nial might not have worded his post that well and probably could have done with more examples but the gist of it? The POINT of his post? I didn’t see it all as putting Fantasy as a genre down but rather, examining it with a critical eye and asking a question that needs to be asked (and that goes for all genres, really): is the genre the best that it can be? This is an important question regardless of how you answer it.
On my side, I think that one of the best, thoughtful comments on Nial’s blog was that of Mike Johnstone where he says:
Niall’s discussion has a great deal of merit.
“It has merit because there are objective, concrete measures of “quality” for literary art and then for prose narratives in the form of novels. As Niall mentions, these measures are in part “technical,” or matters of craft: grammar, paragraphing; dialogue; plotting; description, exposition; point of view; consistency of characterisation and in the setting; genre conventions/tropes, and so forth. These measures are also in part “artistic” (let’s say): style, voice; metaphor, allegory, simile; rhythm and sound patterns; layered meanings, and so forth. Together, these technical and artistic measures make up a novel’s “comment on humanity,” whether that novel involves sorcerers and dragons, spaceships with FTL capability, or real places and times such as New York City or the antebellum era in the southern US.
Very Cool Things
Book Blogger Appreciation Week is approaching (September 13-17)! The week spotlights and celebrates the work of active book bloggers through guest posts, awards, giveaways, and community activities. Go to their website to learn more about the history of the event (happening since 2008) , about the events that will be taking place and how to be a part of it. Basically it is all about celebrating what it is that we do here. And yes, Awards are a part, a very small part of BBAW, and we are very proud to have been shortlisted for one of them:
And kids, words can not describe how proud and surprised we were when we got an AWESOME mention over that USA Network’s Character Approved Blog, in their VERY COOL article: Book Bloggers: The New Literary Advisers. Go check it out!
Did you know that we now have a Youtube channel? Yes, we do! We created it to host the video interview we did with Fantasy author Brent Weeks and decided to carry on with the idea of having videos with authors, a new feature we have called SMUGGLED! , with the authors talking about their books, and answering questions sent by us. We only just started but we have loads of ideas and your suggestions are most welcome as well.
Meanwhile, go check the interview with Brent Weeks where he talks about his new book The Black Prism, his characters, social media and….book smuggling. And the second video is now up as well: an interview with Kelly Creagh, author of new YA novel Nevermore, where she interacts with a very special guest, talks about her book and Edgar Allan Poe and….book smuggling!
They are both great fun.
This Week On The Book Smugglers:
On Monday, I review How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel by Charles Yu
Then, on Tuesday, author Susan Holloway Scott guest blogs with us talking about her new historical novel: The Countess and the King
On Wednesday, I am back with a Ponderings post on four recent books I could not finish and why. Surprisingly the batch includes the acclaimed The Dervish House by Ian McDonald:
On Thursday I review An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire , book three in one of my favourite UF series and then Thea is back! With her review of The Osiris Ritual by George Mann:
And finally on Friday, following up on my review of An Artificial Night, author Seanan McGuire will be around to answer your questions on an interactive Q&A – plus a giveaway.
And that’s it from us today!
as always, we remain:
~Your Friendly Neighborhood Book Smugglers