Friday, November 20, 2009

Hutchins on Reading Beyond Your Chosen Genre

Over at, J.C. Hutchins (author of 7th Son: Descent) offers an apologetic for why SF writers ought to read beyond their chosen genre. Excerpts:

Man, does my heart beat for sci-fi. It's a pity the genre rarely gets its deserved due in the mainstream. I can cite a dozen SF novels released this year that beat the pants off The Lost Symbol and other New York Times bestsellers in both content and craft ... and yet, so many sci-fi and fantasy writers, myself included, scrap like pit bulls for coverage beyond the loyal -- if comparatively much smaller -- SFF-friendly blogosphere. ...

I treasure that passion and loyalty, and you should too: ours is an awesome community. Yet I wonder if we -- as readers and writers -- can learn something from these bestsellers and the genres in which they roll. And I think the best way to learn something is to experience it.

Read beyond the SFF genres? Insanity, I know. But play with me for a bit. I think our community can greatly benefit from exposure to these foreign elements.
Read the whole thing. Hutchins offers three rationales for why he curls up with thrillers and mainstream fiction: Wide exposure precludes cynicism towards a genre's conventions, reminds us that narratives ought to accessible and helps us hone our writing by introducing us to other viewpoint. For myself, I find that last reason the most compelling. Creativity is a promiscuous thing, its fecundity increasing in accordance with exposure. We don't hide ourselves in some high and lonely place, waiting for inspiration to fall like fire from heaven. Instead we find it in immersion, in the mess and mire of interaction with every sort of story.

(Picture: CC 2007 by


Unknown said...

That's as may be, but I categorically refuse to find inspiration in Dan Brown.

Loren Eaton said...

Sir, I heartily second your refusal.