Genre Follow-Up

Technorati reveals a bunch of responses to my weekend post on genre fiction, and I wanted to at least note a few of them here.

Over at Brad DeLong’s, he highlights my comments about story pacing, which sparked some interesting comments. A number of people object that books and movies are too long these days, compared to the past. While there’s no denying that many books have swelled, I think that’s sort of orthogonal to the sort of pace I was talking about– you may or may not think that the action advances the plot quickly enough, but there’s more happening at any given moment in most modern books and movies than there was in the past. Peter Jackson’s The Return of the King goes on for three hours, but there’s no good place in the movie to get up and go to the bathroom– there’s stuff happening all the time.

Elsewhere, Todd Suomela says that the apparent loss of near-future SF is all about the Fifties, when things seemed cleaner and clearer than they do today. There’s probably something to that, though my vague impression is that the SF of the Thirties wasn’t all that radically different in outlook than that of the Fifties, despite being a much darker period in world history. I’m not much of a historian of the field, though, so I could be way off base.

And, of course, there’s free=wheeling discussion at Making Light, both following the YouTube explosion, and in John M. Ford’s response.

It also picked up a link from The Valve, which I mention mostly as an excuse to link their analysis of two deeply odd episodes of Samurai Champloo. There’s even an attempt to tie in the “and then a meteor killed them all” ending of the wasabi zombie episode, which is pretty impressive.


  1. #1 Todd Suomela
    August 10, 2006

    Thanks for stopping by Chad. Your point about the thirties is worth taking. I’m not as much of an expert in the history of SF as I’d like to be, so you could very well be right. There’s always a danger of thinking that your own time is exceptional and the past was so much simpler. At the same time a lot has changed, like your recent post on the total eclipse of the future suggested. Dealing in such generalities is always difficult, but sometimes fun nonetheless.

    If I ever make it to Readercon I’ll look you up and we can discuss such weighty matters over a friendly drink.

    Thanks again for reading and writing. Keep up the good work.

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