Comments: 14
Familiar Diversions 1 year ago
I have to admit that this quote makes me wince. Was Le Guin another one of those authors who think that genre fiction is trash?
Tannat 1 year ago
I don't think so. I think she just met up with the same dismissive attitudes as Terry Pratchett with regard to his writing (everything he wrote was dismissed as fantasy). She also wrote lots of non-genre stuff, like her novel Lavinia.
BrokenTune 1 year ago
In agreement with Tannat, she was not dissing genre fiction. She was opposed to a lot of labels, tho, not just with respect to her writing. If you read the interview (I hyper-linked to the source), she actually goes on to explain that the "hard" sci-fi circles seemed to exclude her because she wasn't sci-fi enough and that non-genre readers disregarded her books because there was a genre bias towards sci-fi.

On being labelled as "literary" she said:
"It’s helped to make my stuff more accessible to people who don’t, as they say, read science fiction. But the prejudice against genre has been so strong until recently. It’s all changing now, which is wonderful. For most of my career, getting that label—sci-fi—slapped on you was, critically, a kiss of death. It meant you got reviewed in a little box with some cute title about Martians—or tentacles."

She really was not into labels or pigeonholes or stereotyping authors.
Murder by Death 1 year ago
So she *was* having a bit of cheeky fun with the "My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions." bit? If so, I like her style. :)
Tannat 1 year ago
Yeah, she was definitely having some cheeky fun. :)
Familiar Diversions 1 year ago
Ahh, yes, it's less hackle-raising in context.
Tannat 1 year ago
Haha, I like that imagery.
I'd really have liked to see Le Guin take down Virginia Woolf in her incarnation of that essay quote shared by MbD. Perfect response.

"It's not good or bad because you can label it something ("literary fiction", "science fiction" or whatever), it's good or bad because of its intrinsic qualities. And don't try to stick a label on a book because of your cookie cutter perceptions what types of books should be labelled in a given way. Books can be many things all at the same time."
BrokenTune 1 year ago
And all the while Le Guin was a Woolf fan, which is just another example to show that disagreement or criticism and an appreciation for the author are not mutually exclusive.
Murder by Death 1 year ago
I need to read that Woolf essay; I took her to be discussing readers reading with pre-formed expectations or requirements, while I take this (very excellent and on point) quote to be about the categorisation of books into tidy genre-labeled holes. Which is necessary* to a point, but problematic.

*My local didn't separate out any fiction for years - it was all just together on the same giant wall, and it pissed me off so badly I never went in. I like to browse and discover, but I want to browse new releases (non-fiction then fiction, mystery, then fantasy, [diversion to non-fiction science/history] and then general fiction. I am beholden to few 'systems' but that one is sacrosanct. ;)
Tannat 1 year ago
Weren't the shelves, you know, categorized? Although I don't always agree with the "slots" that libraries put books in, especially when they put weird titles in "general fiction".
Murder by Death 1 year ago
Nope. Just 'fiction'. Non-fiction was categorised, but the rest was just one one long shelf. They've since changed it, but for a few years just seeing the storefront made me crazy. Now if they'd just expand their fantasy section beyond 3 shelves at the bottom...
Tannat 1 year ago
That's weird.
Only in silence the word,
"Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk's flight
On the empty sky.

Rest in peace, mother."

One of the greatest, along with Alice Sheldon.