Day 148-- on book trends that need to stop
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
1. the serialized, ultra-pulp adult western-- The Trailsman, Spur, Slocum, Buckskin, Longarm. The plots are basically the same ("Hero swaggers into town, meets bad men, has sex with one or more smart-talkin' women, rides off into sunset after gunfight. Author, make sure to include at least three graphic sex scenes and 18 graphic, unrealistic killings. And use the words 'manhood' and 'sneer'"). The heroes have names like Skye Fargo and the ghostwriters names like Jake Logan. This is escapism at a dangerous zenith. I'm immediately wary of people that tell me that they think these are "good reads." Or, "good readin'."
2. the crypto-Catholic conspiracy novel-- "Look! The Roman Catholic/Byzantine Catholic/Russian and/or Serbian Orthodox church is behind a ________ year old conspiracy to cover up ___________ (fill in with something heretical or quasi-heretical)! But since no one paid attention to the Masons/Knights Templar/U.N./New Age-y group, we'll be the first to break it to the public!" And they just keep coming.
3. hip paranormal mystery/horror/romance bonanzas!-- Judging from the flooded market, trendy, sexy, promiscuous vampires/werewolves/witches/vampirewolves/talking corpses are a smoking hot commodity.
4. tough guy technothrillers-- I'll admit, some of the big names in the genre are at least fair (I've really enjoyed a few Clancy and Crichton novels). The shelves in my bookstore sag, however, with straight-to-mass market paperback he-man tales of American power engaging in elaborate firefights with Cold War leftovers. After spending pages talking about the intricate spy gear/weapons/boot shine kits.
5. Chick Lit-- STOP! (Helen Fielding and Lauren Weisberger, you can keep writing though.)
6. sad, important contemporary literary novels about sad, creative and interesting people doing sad, stupid things that end up making them realize how sad and sad they are-- Stop, please, because the people buying these books don't know any better.
7. childrens' books that want to be Harry Potter or Narnia books but can't because the writers aren't J.K. Rowling or C.S. Lewis (and he's dead anyway)-- A young boy/girl/group of culturally diverse children find(s) out that they can do magic/talk to ponies/travel in time/somehow bend laws of physics, and things are so interesting that the author decided that a series of 7 or 8 books would be a good idea. Inclusion of "Saga," "Tale" or "Chronicles" into the title equals big bucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8. time travel romance-- Because romance here and now obviously isn't good enough.
9. Pride & Prejudice sequels/prequels-- I thought Jane Austen's take was good enough! This is essentially widely published fanfic by women that ape Austen's style to a T. That's bad.
posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 1/31/2007 11:34:00 PM,
- At 11:03 AM, James said...
I recieved as a sort of gag gift one of the Serialized, Ultra-pulp adult Westerns. It was called 'The Devil's Sting' and was written by Jackson Cain - which I like to think is not a pen name. Yeah, it used the word manhood a lot. Sometimes it referred to a nebulous concept, but most of the time it was referencing something much more specific and physical.
- At 2:59 PM, Qere Ketiv said...
The Manhood Sneers would be a great name for a rock band.
Q: What would happen if Jason combined all of these genres/ideas/whatevers into one mega novel?
A: $$$$$$$$$$ and a loss of one soul.
- At 7:31 PM, Erica said...
Add in romance novels featuring at least one genuine kilt wearing Highlander and all of the Chicken Soup books and I think you've got your bases covered.
- At 10:39 AM, Stacey said...
Agreed. I second all the above. If you're declaring guerilla and/or intellectual warfare on such things, let me know, I'm in.