Cult authors, sci-fi and snobs

Who gets to choose what’s worthy of being considered serious art when it comes to writing? And why is literature so much worse at recognising really great works that just happen to fall into a genre category? Film doesn’t have this problem; there are tons of sci-fi films that are widely recognised as works of art, real slices of celluloid genius. It doesn’t seem to work the same for books; you don’t get a sci-fi author winning, or even nominated for, the Booker, at least not often. You might get a book from a more mainstream literary author, like Margaret … Continue reading Cult authors, sci-fi and snobs

Are funny books less worthy?

It’s been a sad time for funny books, with Terry Pratchett’s recent passing. He was a big part of my reading life; my Dad had a load of Discworld novels that I borrowed after he’d finished. Sometimes before as well, if he wasn’t quick enough after a trip to Waterstone’s. I read Wyrd Sisters first and remember laughing out loud within three pages; after that I was hooked. From Pratchett I moved on to Robert Rankin and obviously the hilarious Douglas Adams. The books were easy to read and comforting. Funny books are the sort of thing you take on … Continue reading Are funny books less worthy?

The unclenched fist: the awesome literary genius of Alasdair Gray

“…[she] thrust an unclenched fist at me across the table. I stared at it, puzzled, until I saw she was offering to shake my hand.” That is the sentence (and a bit) that hit me in the face with what a bloody genius Alasdair Gray is. It seems like an innocuous sentence at first glance and I’ll admit it isn’t heavy with literary pyrotechnics other writers use to knock the wind out of you when you read it. It’s a quiet sentence, but it’s what it does that makes it so successful. I knew Gray was an amazing writer already. … Continue reading The unclenched fist: the awesome literary genius of Alasdair Gray