Right now I’m reading Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon and am really enjoying it. The New York Times Book Review calls it “Ferociously readable,” and I agree. It’s often compared to Chris Moriarty’s Spin State, which I also enjoyed and read just prior to Morgan’s book.

As a budding novelist myself, I like to learn a bit about the authors I read to see if I can find any insight into their process or just to see if they have a decent web site (they both do). I found this interview of Morgan in Infinity Plus magazine and something he said struck me:

“Anything accessible tends to get short shrift because it eliminates the need for critical interpretation, and therefore the chance for critics to assert a superiority of sophistication over the rest of the world.”

While he’s applying this to a specific novelist who was differentiating between Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction, I think this notion has a wider application to genre fiction in general. Feminists have long denigrated the Romance genre as anti-woman. Usually, those making the accusations haven’t read any kind of Romance novel since 1975, but at its heart I think it has more to do with the fact that Romance fiction is written for the everyday woman, for the masses of women in the world, not just for a select few in academia. I mean, if something has entertainment value for the masses and a message, well it must be trash, right?

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