AISFP 34 – Kat Richardson

Episode 34 features Kat Richardson, author of Poltergeist and Greywalker. Tobias Buckell joins us to discuss genre boundaries, and we clear up the Hugo nomination process and why Asimov’s does so well.

Show Notes:
Yep, we are now part of FarPoint Media. Welcome all who discover us through this fabulous network.
Robert Jordan has passed. It’s a sad day for our genre and for literature at large. Our prayers are with his family and friends.
– Publishing News: A topic from a listener buy gabapentin online uk occupies today’s segment, and Tobias Buckell weighs in with his own thoughts. Are genre lines going extinct?
– Interview with Kat Richardson
– Feedback from Damian regarding Asimov and their many Hugos. John writes to say he just discovered the show and is enjoying it. Thanks to those who support this show through donations. If you think our work here has value, please consider donating via the PayPal button.

We’ll be back soon. See you at Conjecture!

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  1. mollymolo says:

    I was just listening to this latest podcast and enjoyed it as always. I did, though, find the discussion of genre fiction a bit bemusing. The final conclusions you two were making in the discussion was to express your discomfort or displeasure with those who pigeonhole SF, who assume that SF and Literature (with a capital L) are mutually exclusive, or who don’t acknowledge the SFnal elements in all sorts books not always labeled as such. Yet, you start off the discussion by making similar genre-slagging arguments against the romance genre. And to compound things, in the middle of the discussion you do point out, but leave unexamined, the vast realm of books with both SF and romance content (the paranormal romance genre, Diana Gabaldon, etc.) Perhaps, like SF, romance shouldn’t all be written off as a waste of shelf space? Just a thought!

    — Molly (whose romance reading habits are limited to the SF and Jane Austen related varieties, but who for some reason felt the need to stand up for the genre today.

  2. Shaun Farrell says:

    Excellent point, Molly. I can’t deny what you are saying.

    Having worked at Barnes and Noble, I’ve spoken with many romance readers, and while they are not ashamed of their love for the genre, they are more willing than readers of other genres to admit that most of the work is crap (in my experience).

    That being said, most writing in any genre is crap! So, I’m willing to grant that there could be good books worth reading in the field. But I doubt it. 🙂

    Thanks for keeping us honest, and thanks for listening!

  3. SF-Observer says:

    I think I’d have to agree fairly strongly with MollyMolo regarding your comments on Romance.

    Let me start out by saying that I don’t read Romance — really at all. But I know a lot of people who do, and I’m good friends with several Romance writers. Yes, there is (and historically has been) a lot of crap in the genre. And yes, romance readers are more willing to admit this than most other genres. But that doesn’t mean that the genre is of lower quality than SF or any other genre — just that romance readers are willing to admit the inadequacies of certain very well known romance lines such as the series romance and many Harlequin lines. But there’s lots that aren’t series romance as well, many of which are very high quality. I know a number of SF writers who are quite open in admiring the writing in some of these — Mike Shepherd (Moscoe) and Lois McMaster Bujold, for example. But the simple fact that romance readers are willing to admit this doesn’t mean that the genre is inferior — it only means that romance readers are willing to admit that their genre is — at its heart — entertainment. SF, however — as much as I love the genre — has a complex that makes us want to ignore or dismiss the immense quantities of crap that has been written in the genre over the years. We tend to dismiss it as “not really SF” or something like that. And we have a strong tendency (probably based in our Literature v. SF inferiority/superiority complex) to consider SF as having a higher purpose than entertainment. (Sure it can be more, but so can any book, regardless of genre — but trying to make it that way from the start usually makes the book, well, bad…). So basically, there’s nothing different between romance as a genre than SF as a genre except personal preference.

    And I guess that’s what bothered me the most about your dismissal of romance as a genre — you don’t care for it, sure. No problem. Everyone’s different. But by treating it the way you did, you were doing exactly the same thing that people who dismiss SF do, just aiming it at a different genre.

    (And by the way, the Fabio-type bodice ripper covers are only one portion of the type of covers seen on romance novels. Since authors rarely have any control over the cover art, dismissing a book (or worse, a genre) because of the cover art is like dismissing a fantasy novel (or the genre) because the cover has a stupid looking dragon on it, or an SF novel because you see a goofy looking spaceship on the cover. It’s a matter of personal preference, that’s all.)

    –Brent Kellmer

  4. Shaun Farrell says:

    Alright! I love this stuff. Thanks for the great comment, Brent. I can’t disagree with anything you say.

    I would say that about 90% of any genre falls into that crap category. If not crap than popcorn. Some famous SF writers, names escaping me at the moment, said it was even higher and that 98 percent of SF is crap. I wouldn’t go that far, but 90% is high.

    I think romance has a higher percentage, in that 98-99 range, or work that is purely popcorn material. I love popcorn, but not the flavors they serve.

    While I’m willing to admit some hypocricy in my dismissal of the genre, nothing said so far has changed my opinion. In contrast, while I don’t enjoy Manga, historical fiction, biographies, travel writing, or westerns, I can see the value in the genre and the services they contribute to the literacy of the world. Can I say that romance contributes to the literacy of the world? Maybe 1 in 1,000, but on a whole, no. And I find it somewhat appalling that romance sales so outnumber SFandF.

    Why is that, do you think?

  5. Shaun Farrell says:

    I should add that I don’t mind at all if a genuine love story is part of bigger story line. So, I guess I’m okay with romantic elements in my fiction.

  6. id hate to pile on you, shawn, but romance genre is a way to grow our own readership numbers…something close 50% of all paperback novels sold in the us are of this genre. I think their exists a chance within that number to pull a number of readers whose typical exposure wouldnt allow them to wander our sections in the bookstores or libraries.

    I myself, am not really a reader(hello, straight male sterotype!)…but i can appreciate the amazing talents of some fantasy writers(dianna gabaldon and Lois McMaster Bujold mostly) that understand the strengths of the genre without killing my interest.

    I would also like to defend shawn to other listeners. Remember, he is talking from the heart and might say something off-cuff everyonce in ahwile…dont take it personally, I might say ‘romance sucks’ to my friends…because its my opinion of what i like to read…i dont want shawn(and other podcaster) to double guess everything they might say…if i want a clean, boring talking style i would watch the vapid network tv where if a girl on the view says she wants gay marriage or another says she is against it….SCANDAL!

    thats ridiculous. People in pdocasting are off-color and thats awesome. Dont be so critical as in such small media…you’ll strangle the edge it has.

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