teflaime (mtfay) wrote,

What's with all the "Fiction must reflect the horrors of reality" snobbery lately?

Charle Stross just posted a polemic on why he hates <a href'"http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/10/the-hard-edge-of-empire.html#comment-64882">steampunk</a>, most of which seems toreflect the thought that because it is set in the 19th century, it should reflect all the horrors of that time. Tobias Bucknell says basically the <a href="http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/10/the-hard-edge-of-empire.html#comment-64882">same thing</a> with an added hate on fantasy thrown in. China Meiville gets the hate on for <a href="http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=7813">Tolkien</a>, again, ostensibly, for not being dismal enough in it's portrayal of the landscape. Hell, JJ Sutherland cronies up with <a href="http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=7813"> this</a> on an NPR blog.

So, what's with all this "Fiction sucks if it's not historically accurate and condemning everything I don't like about the past" nonsense? I mean, sure, most steampunk might glorify some aspects of Victorianism a touch too much. But so what? Did Stross bitch about Neal Stephenson proclaiming the Victorian ethic superior in the Baroque Cycle? Why do people spend so much time hating on fiction that they don't like, instead of moving on to what they do like? Hell, did Charlie Stross even read Boneshaker (which he points out for scientifically inaccurate zombies, for christ's sake)? It's not exactly saying life in 19th Century American was a laugh riot. But that's not what fiction is about. Or at least not what I read fiction for. I want compelling characters, in compelling situations, that hold my attention. If I want history, I'll read a history text. I'm certainly not caring about historical accuracy in a book with ZOMBIES!! Get real.

I guess I'm saying that if Stross and Bucknell and Meiville are so broken up about historical hegemony and imperialism, maybe they should move out fo fiction and go work in Africa with the peace corps. But quit bitching about books that people obviously like just because they aren't what they like.


Tags: annoying people being annoying

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