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Genre vs Literature

I can agree with the sentiment that there are two kinds of fiction stories:

There are a lot of beloved-by-me stories in that first category, like Snow Crash on the heels of the Sprawl Trilogy, or From A Buick 8 in the tradition of Chambers or Bierce, but I can still see why people sometimes wanna make this division as some sort of litmus test or indicator when they look for Great Literature—not a perfect test by any means because there are both false positives and false negatives, but still somewhat useful as one kind of data point.

Where they lose me, though, and what I can’t get behind, is when they take the presence of anything supernatural, fantastic, otherworldly, technological, speculative—in short, anything fantastic—as a reason to dismiss a book as “genre”.

Then they lose their collective proverbials and awe at the sight of Marquez and his “magical realism”.

I feel like that’s sort of a onion-in-the-varnish, surface-level take on “genre” vs Literature. Yes, yes, I do understand wanting to put the fifth Tarzan book or the twentieth licensed Star Wars book on a shelf separate from your Cora Sandel or your Hermann Hesse, but if the definition of “genre” is “not in Kansas anymore”, you’re missing out on a lot of absolute mindbending classics like Kallocain or Aniara.

In Defense of the Shared Universe

I’ve often compared The X-Men to La Comédie humaine as another multi-volume masterpiece. During the latter half of the 20th century, and more so now, we’ve seen the return of “shared universe” storytelling. Shared universes are nothing new: the Thousand and One Nights, the Greek heroes and pantheon, the land of castles and princesses of fairy tales. This kind of shared universe storytelling fell out of vogue in the age of copyright, auteurism, individualism that signified the 1800s but now here we are and we can dream together again♥