Monday, October 31, 2011

that's what life is all about

Happy Halloween! I'll be celebrating America's best holiday by working (sigh) but my advanced workshop professor did send me this Daily Beast article about "respected" literary authors crossing over into "genre" work, specifically horror. It's a good, if short, article, but I'm chuckling at how the literary world is scrambling to reassure people that this is okay. The article quotes editor John Freeman, who reminds us all that "to quarantine horror in a genre is to ignore how much of the culture revolves around things we’re afraid of." And don't worry, "the ubiquity of horror, and the crossover of literary writers into the genre, is nothing to despair over."

Is all that really necessary? Are literary/indie readers that freaked out because writers with critical acclaim might take a break from writing about the dissolution of white middle class relationships? I'd like to give the masses a bit more credit than that. Besides, genre sells these days and none of the writers discussed in this article are stupid - they want to write things that sell (and get optioned for movies, etc.), and I think their readers understand that.

Not that I'm happy about the prospect of yet another wave of goddamned zombie books, but at least guys like Colson Whitehead have enough pride in what they do to not blatantly write pulp for a paycheck - if he's writing a zombie book, chances are it's going to be a really good book with zombies in it and not one of those stupid Jane Austen parodies.

So yeah, don't worry - Joan Didion and Philip Lopate won't be writing lamp monster novels any time soon. Relax and eat some dang candy. Geez.