Joelyn's Book Bites

Joelyn’s Book Bites: #1:45

Book Bitse

Genre Fiction – Its Importance in the lives of many readers

Genre Fiction, as it says in its name, is fiction that revolves mainly around major genres like Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Crime, Mystery etc… and is understood by most masses.

And from what I (as a reader) see, we may have a problem.

Looking at the Writers who were talking at the Singapore Writers Festival last year and the many other sessions that followed in places like Books Actually and all that, it does seem like Fiction or the Literary Arts in general, is flourishing. But in my opinion, they all have one thing in common: It’s all about Personal Identity and Culture ingrained into writing that only a select few would read.

I’m not saying that literary fiction is bad. I’m merely pointing out that literary fiction is written in such a sophisticated manner that not all can grasp the meaning behind it. That being said, there is sophistication in Genre Fiction as well.

Now I know that there will always be literary snobs saying that many works of genre fiction should stay genre fiction because it will never reach the beauty of Shakespeare or Homer or what not. My point here is that if you want fiction to develop in the masses, the masses will have to be aware, then they’ll have to understand. How so? Genre Fiction.

Not because it is something so simple that even the illiterate can understand immediately. But Genre Fiction expresses openly rather than adopt the whole ‘Still Waters Run Deep’ concept, which means most people who read genre fiction can identify with the message that the author is writing about without scratching their heads or falling asleep halfway.

So with greater understanding of the fiction world through genre fiction, it will induce more reading and perhaps, sieving of better quality fiction as people get along. And if more people pick up a book to read for leisure, would the literary industry not flourish?

What matters is that they understand and most importantly, relate.

When I was doing my ‘O’ Level Literature Studies, my teachers spared no efforts telling me, “It’s not just about analysing the text. We want to see how you relate,” So to put things bluntly, people will only read when they either find the writing interesting, exciting or better still, totally relatable to their lives.

If most people could relate genre fiction, be it the plot or the characters to their lives, would it not bring meaning?

If Literature was anything written that brings out meaning rooted deep in our minds, would it not mean relating?

Someone once wondered aloud at an Author sharing session I was at before, “Is not all fiction speculative?”

My counter question to any literary person out there would probably be, “Then is not all fiction literature?”

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4 thoughts on “Joelyn’s Book Bites: #1:45

  1. Shakespeare was genre fiction . So was Homer. If one wanted literary fiction one would be reading Christopher Marlowe.

    Shakespeare is literary now because the snobs declare it to be. Oddly, the snobs now are glorifying what the snobs then sneered at.

    1. Yes it WAS. But that’s the point, are the academics going to wait until the authors of genre fiction die before it is declared “good fiction”, good enough to join the ranks of “literary fiction”? ~ Jo

  2. The academics are going to choose what the current great unwashed do not want to read. If you’re going to have a degree, you have to have SOMETHING to distinguish you from the average man.

    I cannot imagine any other reason that the NUS module on science fiction and fantasy’s reading list of representative fiction has Sherri S. Tepper’s Gate to Women’s Country and no Asimov.

  3. I think a lot of literary snobs forget that reading is actually a form of enjoyment. If I want to curl up on a rainy Sunday afternoon with a good book, I’m going to go for something like Stephen King, not Thomas Pynchon. You brought up a lot of good points, because I do relate better to genre fiction and find it a lot more enjoyable. I mean, I only have so many years on this earth, and I don’t want to waste my time reading something ‘cheem’ when I could be enjoying myself with a horror or fantasy tome.

    Definitely food for thought. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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