Sunday, May 06, 2007

Rambles on Genre

Sunday’s the day The Great American Book Giveaway puts up new books for the week! It’s easy. No spam, no work, no fuss. Just pick the book you’d like to win, enter your email address (and that’s it), and you’re done! (Did I mention NO spam?)

Today, I was thrilled to see Tobias S. Buckell’s new book, Ragamuffin. I love his blog. I can’t exactly pinpoint why I love his blog, or why he’s on my read-even-during-busy-days list, but he is. I couldn’t even tell you exactly what his blog is about.

I think that’s its charm.

I used to devour science fiction. I have absolutely no idea why I stopped reading the genre. Have you ever done that with a beloved genre? Was it a conscious decision, or something you noticed after the fact?

At the moment, I love thrillers most. I get testosterone-overload, though. Some days, it’s like, give me a break already!

I love men. I love testosterone. It’s just ... I slip into a character’s skin when I read, and I prefer being a woman. I’ll slip into a male’s skin now and then, it’s fine ... walk around in their shoes. It’s fun. Interesting. Changes one’s walk, to have that thing poking out there.

But gets on my nerves.

Is that weird? Some days I wonder ... what is wrong with me?!

Maybe it’s just I’m not in a place in my life to feel like falling in love with someone new (out goes a whole slew of romances and wonderful romance hybrids), and I don’t have kids (out goes women’s fiction), and I have to be in the right mood to read about women who are lucky enough to have kids, because it makes me sad. I’m not playing the dating game (out goes chick lit).

But I still want to read about women. Women standing alone, kicking ass, and being women. What’s wrong with that? Does a female character need a family, a man, to make her an interesting character? Or need to be in pursuit of one or the other?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trashing those genres. I love those genres.

Speaking of women standing (mostly, kinda) alone, I’m just finishing up Hard Truth (Anna Pigeon Mysteries) by Nevada Barr. I love it!

9 bonus scribbles:

Susan Helene Gottfried 5/06/2007 05:55:00 PM  

Too funny! I finished Track of the Cat the other night! (I'll mail it to you if you want it, but I expect you already read it.)

Bernita 5/07/2007 07:48:00 AM  

Anna Pigeon is a GOOD read.
Kicks ass realistically.

Liz Wolfe 5/07/2007 11:29:00 AM  

I totally agree with women standing alone, kicking ass and being women!
I've read some of Nevada Barr and really liked it.
Have you read David Baldocci's series with Michele Maxwell and Sean King?
I think one of the reason I write what I do is because I can't find enough of it out there to read...LOL.

Avery DeBow 5/07/2007 12:25:00 PM  

Novels with female protagonists have a tendency to let me down, too. It always seemed to me that even the most action-touted book had a large portion of it devoted to love or lust subplots. Too many times a solid story seemed to be sidetracked by the author's (or maybe the publisher's) need to fill the woman's life with sexual drama. For me, those subplots ended up taking over the main plot, drowning the action and muting the entire story. I wondered why a writer couldn't craft a story about a woman without all of those standard conflicts being dragged into play. A large part of why I wrote Resonance was due to that very concern.

Maybe when I'm published Resonance can help fulfill your ass-kicking chick desire. I'm not saying there's zero love interest, because there is a small subplot of that. But, I can assure you that it is crucial to non-sexual events in the story, and -- more importantly -- for Res, kicking ass remains the primary plot focus.

Maybe new authors can begin to shift the genre away from the supposed need for a romantic hook in order to sell a novel with a strong female lead. At least that's what I'm hoping.

StarvingWriteNow 5/07/2007 03:46:00 PM  

I think maybe the reason most women heroes have these 'issues' is because love, caring, consideration, etc... are hard-wired into who we are.

I read a self-help relationship book once that described the differences between men and women's brains. Men's brains are divided into "rooms" (work, sports, sex, etc...) and if they're in one room, they're IN THAT ROOM. The dividers are pretty definite and they don't leave their room until they're done and ready to. Women's brains are divided in a lot of the same way, BUT the boundaries are flexible, open to a little bleeding over here and there, and--most importantly--all the rooms are encased by LOVE.

Love and all its aspects guides the decision making process. I'm not saying for everyone the same way or for everything--obviously stuff like "What do I make for dinner?" isn't going to be really high up on the love chart but any personal, life-altering, life or death type decisions like you find in novels are going to be, to some degree, influenced by some aspect of love.

Bernita 5/08/2007 02:47:00 AM  

"What do I make for dinner?" isn't going to be really high up on the love chart"

Maybe it's one of the most basic and primitive expressions but "making dinner" is definitely a gift of love.

Megan 5/09/2007 01:05:00 AM  

I have some link love for you. A Personal Look at Women and Science Fiction and a short story that may interest you. It is not exactly what you are talking about, but you popped into my mind while I was reading, so I thought I would pass it on.

spyscribbler 5/09/2007 01:07:00 PM  

Susan and Bernita, I thoroughly enjoyed Hard Truth. It's my first Nevada Barr, and I love it!