July 15th, 2004

breaking bad

brains in vats and mind expansion

I think it is important that genre readers and writers formulate more clearly what makes a 'good' genre book. Because otherwise we are left with conventional literary standards - countering them by appealing to something like book sales ('More people read Stephen King than Martin Amis so we win').

An alternative is to stick to parochial genre standards of excellence, that nobody else cares about ('this is a local sop for local people'). Don't get me wrong, I think these standards are important. For example in SF, there is a sophisticated readership who already have a clue about faster than light travel and what its physical, political, economic etc implications might be. A story, no matter how well written, that is just a variation on the Twins Paradox won't cut it by our standards. Quite right too. A writer in a genre needs to understand these local standards, and take them into account.
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breaking bad


I watched the second episode of The Long Firm last night. I thought it was better than the first - they had eased off a bit with the explanations. I thought Mark Strong's performance as Harry Starks was great, and I love the 1960s ambience. I bought Arnott's latest book 'truecrime' which brings some of those characters into the 1990s, starring in soap operas, selling E's and funding gangster films.

The other program I am watching at the moment is The Shield, which I think is a excellent.

Not sure why I like programs about brutal and unscrupulous characters. Perhaps, to quote Evil Rimmer, 'Because I'm not a very nice person.'