Sunday, June 01, 2008

I’m Taking My Books And Going Home

I have snapped. I have flipped. I am swan-diving into the abyss. Whyzat, Matt?

Because you guys are bringing me down.

This isn’t just about the blog comments, e-mails and forum posts of the last week. This is about the blog posts and comments, emails and forum posts, editorials and everything else from the last few years. The genre-bashing has reached felonious levels. I have read (and yes, partaken in) so much sub-genre and author clobbering that I’m starting to feel nauseous. And I can taste the blood and bile burning up my esophagus.

The field is in decline, we say, and what’s more, it’s the fault of the writers. The jargon’s too thick, the gateways aren’t there, no one is writing real Hard SF anymore, Mundane is a stupid idea, Fantasy is taking over, where’s the sensawunda, no one has any new ideas.

The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve, yes, we all know that. I’m not sure what age you haters have reached. Whatever age it is, I’d say it’s the Raw Sewage Age of science fiction. Apparently, it has all turned to shit.

Consider the towel thrown in.

Guys and Gals, I love you all and I know that not a one of our hates weighs that much. You still enjoy the field. But the accumulated crush of the pig-piled lot of our snipes has finally squashed me.

I no longer care if the Big Three mags are in decline. I no longer care if there is a dearth of gateway books for young science fiction readers or our mainstream friends. I don’t care that no one is reading and video is overtaking us and Harry Potter has doomed us all. I don’t give a shit about Hard or Soft or F vs. SF, analysis, book sales or the state of the field.

I’m taking my books and I’m going inside. I’m going to go to my room, sit on my bed, spread out the tales before me and enjoy my stuff. I’m going to savor the evocative prose of the masters and delight in their mad ideas. I still have untold Bradbury to explore. I still have Clarke that I haven’t read. I still have untouched Simmons and Lovecraft and Brin and Haldeman. Today I delved once more into the thick, art deco glories of Saint Gibson’s fantastic, psychological, anything but science fictional, “The Gernsback Continuum” and I gleefully anticipate his next novel, again likely to be rooted in the near past. There are a few Howards and Herberts I haven’t gotten to. There are rich, untapped veins of Ellison, Lem, Wilhelm and Delany! And there are countless other names I haven’t even picked up yet. Watts, Reynolds, Banks -- I salivate as I type this.

Yes, I’ve been disappointed. I’ve read crap. But I’ve also read so much good stuff and I’m looking forward to reading so much more that I’m still excited! I can’t wait to pick up the next book or mag or computer screen and dive into some past or future award winner or overlooked treasure.

You folks read fast, much faster than I, that’s a fact. You’ve already devoured everything that is good. Your crops are gone and your fields lay barren. I can’t imagine having tackled all that’s worth tackling, but you’ve done it and they don’t write ‘em like they used to. Your future is dystopian bleak.

I’m done arguing or recommending. Your time in the field has passed and I mourn your loss of summer days when ink met paper and stars were born of galactic furnaces. The full-on pressure of our years of e-bitching together has popped me. If only I had spent that time reading more stories.

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Cronan said...

I think the Internet was designed for and by griefers. The people who are enjoying the work that's out there are at home, snuggled up with a book. The rest are commenting on forum sites.

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