Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Confession

Jon Mollison at Seagull Rising writes:
Grab me by the neck, push me into the stall, and threaten me with a humiliation shampoo and toilet water rinse, and I’ll admit to being a member of the Pulp Revolution.  But I may not be a very good member, because I’m not all that interested in which branch of the literary renaissance you want to stick me on.  Granted, I have more in common with the guys really digging into the heart and soul of the pulp attitude, and that crew shows up in my social media circles more than any other.  But I fear too much spent time defining and pigeonholing writers and works will prove to be counter-productive.

You’re reading words written by a guy who participates in the Puppy of the Month Book Club – that alone should tell you that I’m not so much interested in reading the ‘right’ group of writers as I am in reading the ‘high quality’ group of writers.  It doesn’t matter which of the publishing revolutions the book stems from.  It could be pulp revolution, superversive, Sad Puppy, Rabid Puppy, or none of the above.  If it’s a fun read full of adventure, exploration, action, and mystery (or any combination of the above), then it’s for me.
Generally, this is my attitude, too.  Don't get me wrong, I revel in the comparative reading of genre and movement because I enjoy indulging in amateur lit-crit.  And, one day, I intend to eliminate the word "failed" from the "failed writer" description I occasionally use.   Hopefully, I can approach the level of work that Jon Mollison and Schuyler Hernstrom are currently writing at.  But at the end of the day, I'm a reader of science fiction, fantasy, and other weird tales.  And I'm pissed off.  

Publishing and even fandom has been holding out on the good stuff.  Whether it is one clique of WorldCon writers recommending each other and only each other in a marketing circle jerk or the repeated cries from academics that fifteen-year old stories are too tough for new readers, publishing is only interested in the short game of the now.  Only on blogs and message boards, the more remote the better, do you find fans whispering to each other about long out-of-print books that they used to enjoy.  I didn't find Little Fuzzy, Bridge of Birds, or Dumarest on the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble, after all.  And I am grateful for the ebook boom because I can now find stories like these, written by authors who love storytelling as opposed to authors who use storytelling to love themselves.

Whether those suggestions come from Baen Barflies, Blue Sci-Fi, Human Wave, Superversive, and now the Pulp Revolution doesn't matter.  I want to read good stories.  But what each of these groups have done is widen my exposure to neglected authors and stories, past and present.  Pulp Revolution interests me the most as it is the one group intent on delving into the murkiest origins of weird tales, the maligned entertainment driven days of the short story.  But a good story is where you find it.  And I can no longer easily find them published by the mainstream SFWA-WorldCon-Clarion crowd.

1 comment:

  1. Man, Bridge of Birds! I read that years ago and remember loving it. Excited to see someone mentioning it.