Monday, December 19, 2016


Michael Chabon was in town marketing his new book, Moonglow. It has has been well reviewed. He is a talented guy--he won the Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay--but he is eccentric in his writing with a lot of specific, and diluting, types of styles. While he emphasizes a Jewish literature tradition, he has written sci-fi, an unsuccessful HBO series, comics, movies ("John Carter"), and mysteries. 
There is an interesting slant in his philosophy: He is interested in entertaining his reader. He wants to write seriously but wants the reader to be more than edified, he wants him to enjoy the experience.

This might be one of the key problems of modern literature.
He asked for questions to be submitted before the talk and I submitted this question, which he answered:
"A famous definition of genre fiction is that it is like pornography: Certain events are expected by the reader and and those expectations are met by the author.
A recent review of a mystery novel was dismissed in a NYT review as being, as all genre fiction, without "ambiguity."
Do you think these observations are accurate, do you think of them as legitimate criticisms of genre quality and how can we genre fans defend ourselves against the disdain of our enemies disguised as friends and family?"
His answer emphasized quality, reasonably, but he also said all styles, even the most serious, have their own rules and milestones.

No creation can escape its environmental fingerprints.

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