Rahul Kanakia Makes A Great Point About “Literary” Fiction’s Elite Slum

DumasWritingOne of my favorite speculative fiction writers, Rahul Kanakia, shared some interesting thoughts after attending the recent Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference, and since I’ve been wanting to get back into the habit of blogging about genre I felt I should share them.

Specifically, he notes that writers of what is called ‘genre fiction’ often…

… rail about the “genre ghetto” as if there’s some beautiful golden metropolis on the other side of those ghetto walls. But there’s not. Literary fiction is just another slum.

And why does he think that the “literary” (i.e., modern realist) genre is just another slum despite its self-elevated status among genres? Well, he spent some time among its inhabitants:

There was a palpable sense of desperation hanging over the place. This was not a fan convention. Everyone there was a writer. Everyone was on the make. Everyone was hustling. Everyone was networking. And there was a very real sense that almost no one was going to “make it.” I wouldn’t say that the rhetoric was downbeat, but you just felt in the peoples’ body language and in the tenor of their conversation and in the panel titles* just how desperate people were.

Maybe it’s not so bad here among the tribes after all.

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