Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Romance Omission

I haven't had a rant in a while, so it appears to be time for a small temper tantrum.  You've been warned.

This morning, I tripped across this article in the Guardian, talking about how genre is getting more respect and is the distinction between genre & literary fiction a "flimsy irrelevance".  Brilliant!  Right?  To stop negating the quality of a book simply because it falls into a certain genre class is something I can get behind wholeheartedly. 

Except for one thing.  The entire article is VERY, VERY CAREFUL never to mention the romance genre or a single romance author. 

"[Y]ou'll still find China Miéville and Lauren Beukes in fantasy, Ken MacLeod and Iain M Banks in sci-fi, Sophie Hannah and Ruth Rendell in crime, Brian Evenson and Kathe Koja in horror. We critics can praise them to the high heavens, but it doesn't change where they end up in a bookshop."

Yes, the critics can praise those genres to the high heavens, but they can't be seen legitimizing romance.  God forbid!  It might negate their whole argument if they were to include us.

Perhaps I'm overreacting.  Perhaps the author of this piece has nothing against romance and our entire genre being ignored when quality is discussed was just a thoughtless oversight.  Still, I got a bit tetchy at the omission.

Nalini Singh.  Eloisa James.  Kristan Higgins.  Linnea Sinclair.  All of them brilliant.  When talking about genre quality, there are romances that should be part of the conversation.  Just sayin.

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