1. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bad genres

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Islander, Sep 13, 2010.

    Are some genres worse than others? Are there genres you look down upon?
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love reading good po-,,, eh, erotic scenes, and if someone manage to screw that up, and more often then not epically screw it up or turn it silly, I really despicable them.

    So I despise the whole harlequin genre. Although I admire its honesty.
     
  3. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    I won't judge other people on their choices in what to read.

    ...That's a lie. I judge on that all the time. Call me a literary snob if you will. Some books are art. Some books are the literary equivilant of Kanye West and Lady Gaga. They may make millions of dollars but have little of value to contribute other than some vaguely entertaining stories.

    I stay the hell away from the bestseller list. James Patterson seems to have a new book out like, every month. I can't possibly see how he can still put out quality work at that speed.

    About half of the 'epic' fantasy novels out there are LotR clones. Not all of them, but a lot of them.

    ...Now that I've made myself sound like a pretentious bastard...
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest I love stories from many genres.

    I know it is not a genre but nothing generally puts me off a book so quickly as the fact it has won a major literary prize - I have only read a few Booker Prize winners and runners up and to be honest regretted it every time. So far Cloud Atlas has been my exception I enjoyed it.

    I find some books are trying too hard, I like reading a book where the story seems effortless. I like to feel the authors joy as they write rather than their blood sweat and tears.

    As a result would rather read a Mills and Boons or a Silouette or a Hardy Boy.
     
  5. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure, I'll give any genre a go because books within a genre aren't all going to be the same. I guess the most obvious is Mills and Boon, if you consider that a genre. Perhaps I have no right in saying this because I haven't actually read a full Mills and Boon book, only an extract, but I think you have to write to some brief and they are all practically the same story. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I wouldn't read Mills and Boon personally. I wrote a story in the style of Mills and Boon which I found incredibly easy and everyone loved it, so I don't know.. maybe I'm put off because they are easy to write.
     
  6. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, I don't judge people from a single habit. Not even a reading habit.

    I got fantastic smart friends who are doctors, researchers, leader for big companies, etc. Saving life, inventing stuff to improve the health system, leading thousands of people taking care of billions of dollars/euro.

    Everyone do something to relax, because other wise they go crazy. It might getting home to sleep on the couch the sound of a bad tv show, it might be go running or it might be reading an easy and simple book to speed down.

    These are fantastic intellectual people. What habit they have to relax is none of my business.

    They get the intellectual stimulation they need each they and more from their work and often a bunch of demanding other hobbies too. They don't have to use reading in that aspect.

    If they prefer to read merely to relax, that is great. That is one of the fantastic things reading can do for you. Mental relaxation is as important as mental activation.
     
  7. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like lots of literature and try not to look down on any of it. I mean, I read trash fantasy and sci-fi (Warhammer...'nuf said) but I also like Cormac McCarthy and Hemingway. Yeah, I suppose there are some genres I don't like (romance, erotica, etc) but I don't look down on it. It's just not for me.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I guess I'm a. . .reformed. . .lit snob, and even though I've learnt (thanks to a few exceptional authors) not to judge genre just for being genre, I'd still choose lit fiction over genre any day of the week. But it really depends on what you look for in a book. I think it would be fair to say that the majority of the posters on this site put story and plot ahead of other aspects of writing, and as a result there's a not at all surprising bias towards genre fiction (where imaginative story-telling reigns supreme). I'm a pretty devoted Stylist, so for me, virtually the only thing that matters is the author's writing style. If its transparent or uninspired or unoriginal then I'm totally not interested.

    So y'know, different strokes.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Bad genres?

    No. I think not.

    Bad books that are supposed to represent given genres?

    Oh, yes. By the bushel!

    It's like music, I think. I don't like American Country Music. I love Dolly Parton. I don't like most styles of Latin Music. I LOVE Ruben Blades. Why? Because both are exceptional in their genre and highlight what the genre can be when the full expression of art is at its pinnacle. It's simply good music at that point, which happens to come from a given genre. It's the goodness of the music at that moment which shines through, not the genre whence it came.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Want to say I agree entirely with this. Even with the Mills and Boons some can write it brilliantly and produce a spellbinding story with well drawn characters, some just write something that paints by numbers and is nice enough and others are dire.
     
  11. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I think I'll have to say I like general fiction/literary fiction or whatever it is called, because that's the only genre I have read so far, but of course, that would be before I joined this site. I didn't know so many genres existed. I did know Harry Porter, but never read it because I happened to see the movie and disliked it.

    My reading mission, if you will, right now is to read Booker Prize winners (planning also to read Pulitzer winners) which I have started. If I don't like such a book after reading it, I read tons of reviews and analysis of the book, finding out what about it impressed the booker judges, and in the process learning so much about writing.

    I could never imagine myself doing that for a genre fiction, but trying to critique genre fiction here have made me read such fiction from a different perspective, and I have to say I have new found respect for genre writers, specially fantasy writers.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's refreshing to see the lack of pretentiousness in this forum.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think trashing genres is a good idea. Individuals do have their own preferences, which is fine, but there is no call for spitting on someone else's favorite.
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nah, it's not about spitting on other's favourites, it's about making oneself appear smarter. ;)
     
  15. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    I won't damn an entire genre - but will, if pressed ;) - yet I am dimly aware of a 'self help' sub-genre in which Christianity is invoked to justify and facilitate the accumulation of wealth. There's something so wrong-headed about that, that a book of that sort, however well written, could never be anything but bad.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think there's any such thing as a bad genre. But some genres have attracted a disproportionately high number of bad writers. Scratch that - it may be that some genres have (at least in the past) repelled good writers. I don't know much about other genres, but science fiction in the USA had a reputation for being trash, partly because from the 1920s through, say, the 1970s (when I mostly stopped reading it), a large amount of it was published in magazines that had to fill X number of pages per month. Quite a lot of it had little to offer other than Spaceships! Rayguns! Bug-eyed monsters! Wow-wee! It isn't surprising that talented young writers at the time avoided working in science fiction; it was perceived as trash because a lot of it, frankly, was trash.

    In recent decades, fortunately, science fiction has acquired more respectability. I hope it's attracting better writers, too, but I started subscribing to Analog magazine for the first time since the mid 1970s, and a lot of the stories are still crap.
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I hate to say it, but it is true. Science Fiction is the ugly duckling of the genres. It has had its moments of sublime brilliance at the hands of such masters as Clarke (bless you, dear sir) and Butler (I pray you both got an upgrade at the pearly gates), but for the most part, much of it has become rather masturbatory.

    I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel, though.

    There are two fellah's hailing from the fair isles who are breathing a new life into the genre, albeit under the disguise of another genre heading. Weird Fiction. M John Harrison and the irrepressibly delightful (not to mention easy on the eye ;)) China Mieville are doing their level best to get the Science Fiction Express back on its tracks.
     
  18. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I haven't read Analog, but I can tell you that there are a lot of immensely talented authors emerging in sci-fi. If you're looking for good short fiction in the genre, you might be better off looking at podcasts.
     
  19. Horizon Noise
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    The genre of which Sophie Kinsella is a part. That sort of stuff makes me want to punch myself in the face.

    I'm happy to express my opinion on subjects like this, just as I'm happy to accept that what I sometimes read will be trashed by others. That's healthy discussion. It would be accepted and encouraged round a dinner table so why not on a forum?

    Very true. But to play devil's advocate, just sometimes something good comes of it. I'm thinking here of Stephen Donaldson, whose original Convenant Chronicles blows LOTR into the weeds. IMESHO of course.
     
  20. BUDDY GORGEOUS
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    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

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    I don't hate a genre (though bodice rippers have always been my kryptonite... that and Dan Brown) but when i pick up a bad book (wether it's Sci-fi, horror, thriller, mystery etc) it doesn't help. Different strokes for different folks as the saying goes but there are books out there that didn't paint their chosen genre in a particularly good light for me.

    I read a Stephen King book a few months ago and as much as i love his book 'IT' i was struck by how terrible he is at writing erotic scenes. I mean REALLY bad. So bad im dubious as to him being the biological father to his kids. Shove a porn film on and ask him to name body parts im sure the poor guy would get confused.

    I read Dan Brown's 'Da vinci code' when it was first released to see what all the fuss was about. Well, that's precious time i'll never ever get back. I could have used that precious time to stare at paint drying. Or recorded the speed of passing clouds. I did find some use for it though when i ran out of toilet paper.

    Oh yes, i remember reading Tom Clancy 'Without Remorse' once and slapped myself bloody for pretty much wasting my time with that too. Im pretty sure if i had read Da Vinci and Remorse one after another i would have decided to throw myself under a train or downed my mothers pills. Maaan! i'm feeling the tentacles of despair wrap around my soul thinking about it. There were soo many things that grated and p***ed me off about it i didnt pick up annother book in its genre for some time but i realised i went about it the wrong way. It's the author. NOT the genre to blame. I know i've come across a bit snobby and nasty to popular authors i've named but i'll do my best to apologise to their lovely fans who write here.

    Okay. Deep breath. Here goes. *cough cough*.
    I.... i..... *cough* i apo... apolo... apoloooooogi.... awe crap i cant do it!

    :p haha.
     
  21. hiddennovelist
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    It makes me a little sad to see Lady Gaga being put on the same level as Kanye West. :p

    Can I just say that this is possibly the best description of any genre I've ever read? Obviously I can, because I just did...

    I don't hate on any genre. Personally, I don't think every book I read needs to be some huge, awe-inspiring work of inspiration. Those types of books are dinner...but I like to read dessert, too. Does that make sense? Just because a book doesn't make you think or teach you something new doesn't mean it can't be fun to read.
     
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  22. Annûniel
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    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there are bad genres, but there are genres I do not like. While some might be well written, I don't think I'd be caught dead with a harlequin romance novel...

    But that's just me and my tastes. :)
     
  23. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL I quite like Lady Gaga, I mean wouldn't buy an album but might turn up a song on the radio.

    Bad Romance has inspired one of my major stories. Not sure why being a singer of a catchy tune or two is a bad thing - like with books if you are going to exclude based on genre etc you will miss some good books.
     
  24. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's ironic, since many consider the mid-20th century to be the golden age of science fiction. Ironic that it didn't become accepted until it's best period had already passed, I mean.
     
  25. Xylie
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    Xylie New Member

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    As many have said, I really don't think there's any one bad genre in the world of literature--just maybe some bad books that are supposed to represent a particular genre (dearest apolgies to Wreybies--I don't usually do this but your words were just so true).

    Now, yes, there are some genres that just aren't for me such as science fiction, fantasy, erotica, and romance. Maybe I'm too young to fully appreciate romance novels and maybe I'm the oddball of the bunch with not being interested in reading stories meant to tease the tuna taco, but it just seems like at least 75% of books from those two genres are nothing more than fancy kindling.

    As for science fiction and fantasy--my personal tastes seem to make these two impossible to read.
     

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