Hey, Internet: Vol. 8

The articles that end up in my Instapaper queue, and later in Hey, Internet, tend to be a pretty accurate portrayal of what it is I’m thinking about during the time in which those shiny links catch my magpie eye. In May, it looks like I was thinking a lot about libraries, the different ways in which we categorize and access information, and video game storytelling.

Hey, Internet seems to be devolving into a monthly, rather than weekly, collection of links.  Let’s just pretend that makes it especially well curated.

Genre Fiction Is Disruptive Technology

Every so often, I read an article that has me enthusiastically nodding my head at my computer screen and saying, “Yes, exactly, yes!”  This is one of those articles.  I want to kiss Lev Grossman on both cheeks.

SF, Big Ideas, Ideology: What Is to Be Done?

Charlie Stross talks about science fiction and the genre of big ideas.

“Doctor Who”, “Community”, and Cult TV Fans

What’s this? I am a cult TV fan! This is relevant to my areas of interest!

Librarian, Distressed

As someone who worked in a library for three years, this article resonated with me.

New Yorker Magazine; Fiction, Keywording

Mark Athitakis discusses the strange futility of trying to accurately keyword works of fiction.  Very interesting stuff.

Is It Time For A Text Game Revival?

I certainly hope so. I really, really like text as a gaming format, and I’d love to see more of what contemporary  writers and game designers can do with it. In the meantime, there’s always Cave Adventure.

Are Videogames Just Opiates in the Form of Stories?

This interview is really more about storytelling in general than it is about videogames, but that doesn’t make it any less thoughtful.

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One thought on “Hey, Internet: Vol. 8

  1. (Cross-posted from Facebook.)

    I generally agree with Grossman’s defense of genre fiction in that article, except that I think his defense actually reveals why “genre fiction” is a misleading and not very useful concept. It groups together two categories that don’t actually have much in common: on the one hand, formulaic fiction like generic detective stories and epic fantasies, and on the other, non-formulaic stories that have certain features in common with well-known formulas. People commonly categorize any story that takes place in the future as “science fiction” (and therefore “genre fiction”), for instance, even though there’s no reason a story set in the future should have to be formulaic. (After all, the rest of our lives are set in the future.)

    So it’s misleading to hold up the best works from a given genre as examples of what’s valuable about genre fiction (as Grossman does when he talks about “shitty genre fiction”), because the best works are probably not going to be formulaic, and the idea of genre fiction is supposed to have something to do with formula. (If it doesn’t — if it’s just about certain sorts of content, then who really cares? Why would such content-based categories be meaningful?)

    ‎(I might be more eager to agree with Grossman if it weren’t for the fact that I read a fantasy novel he wrote and thought it was terrible. If that was his model for good genre fiction, then he and I are very different.)

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