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Author truepenny has an interesting and insightful essay on the nature of genre over at
http://truepenny.livejournal.com/462238.html. And I mention it here as much because I wanted to post some useful reply about how valid I found this comparison, and realized that I couldn't coherently summarize what I meant, and yet the verbose version sounded even less reasonable.

So I figured I'd mull it over here.

As a cataloger, and especially as someone right this moment doing listings of upcoming books, having another tool to let readers know what they might expect of a title would be Really Useful. And having another way of softening the blow as I sort books into "SF", "Fantasy", "Horror" etc., would also be nice.

But, as is so well pointed out in the essay, Protean and Procrustean are ranged values, not binary. As so are even more difficult to translate into categories than the already difficult to nail down genre labels.

So, although I find the concept intriguing, I don't see any way to incorporate it into my book listings. Sigh.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 20th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC)
It may be some subtle neurological failing on my part, but I've never been able to get a good grip on genre. Not in fiction, certainly not in music...I Just Don't Get It.
Some people, I understand, can see bright lines between (for instance) "Magical Realism" and "Fantastic Fiction." I can't. The lines are so blurry as to be unfindable. There are of course prototypical examples that are clearly in the center of any given label, but most stuff is pretty much completely unclassifiable to me.
Aug. 20th, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC)
IIRC, someone has pointed out in a comment elsewhere in your journal that your own personal taste might be something others would come to depend on to cull out books of interest from fire hose of new releases.

Is this the sort of "softening the blow" you might be able to do?

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


after all
Alice Bentley

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