On Genre Fiction, and it’s Utter Lack of Subtlety
After exhausting the works of authours like China Mieville, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, I’ve been poking around the fantasy/sci-fi section and trying to find something new and enjoyable to read. I haven’t actively read the genre since I was about 15, and going back to it now after having read some really solid writing is, well, painful. There are plenty of crappy published writers out there, but once they can hide their inability to build character or atmosphere behind dragons, magic and poorly (or overly) constructed worlds, it just gets worst. Then add onto that the desperate attempt to take advantage of a trendy sub-genre, and it all goes to hell.
Currently I’m trying to get into Stephen Hunt’s “The Court Of The Air” which seemed like a decent little steampunk novel. But I’m quickly discovering that, like many other “Steampunk” novels (or art, really), it feels the need to scream STEAMPUNK at the top of it’s lungs. I don’t need a new piece of steampunk technology described to me in every scene. If I go a page without seeing the words brass, steam or punchcard, I won’t feel like you’re letting the Steampunk genre down. On top of that, so many of the concepts and ideas (especially the way he includes magic, political mutilation and lobster people) are seeming so artlessly ripped off from Perdido Street Station it’s actually making me cringe a little.
So if anyone knows any good sci-fi/fantasy that’s actually well written and contains something resembling subtlety, please let me know.