What to read next -- Poll Results!

First of all, thanks to all the people who voted this past week - this was Fantasy-Matters' first poll of all time, and it turned out great.  The winner of the what to read next poll was Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice.  I'll be heading out to a local bookstore later today to pick it up, and from what I've heard, I won't be disappointed.

Thanks again!

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Genre Doesn't Exist -- Or Does It?

Last Friday, Jen Miller posted her thoughts about The Time Traveler's Wife and how it relates to the fantasy genre.  Here, Ken Schneyer responds to that post with his own thoughts about the validity of genre.

Four hundred years ago, Shakespeare showed us the fluidity of genre boundaries by writing plays that deliberately messed with Aristotle's definitions of tragedy and comedy. Compare Othello to Much Ado About Nothing, or take different scenes from Measure for Measure out of context, and you'll see what I mean.

The Time Traveler's WifeNonetheless, people persist in believing in genres, and in assigning different characteristics to them as if they were natural and even immutable. Sometimes it's something as silly as blanket attributions of quality (e.g., the ones we've seen over and over again, "It can't be science fiction; it's too good", or "Nobody ever wrote a romance as serious literature except Jane Austen", etc.). Sometimes it's an attempt to define different subgenres (e.g., Are time travel stories science fiction because they involve the logical consequences of a particular theory, or are they fantasy because they're impossible?). Sometimes it's a fight over which shelf the book will occupy in the bookstore (hence Margaret Atwood's insistence that her novels aren't SF, and people's perplexity as to whether The Time Traveler's Wife belongs with romance, literature or SF).

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Our Fantastic Week Ahead: June 20

We're really excited about what's coming up this week, since we have quite a few new voices to add to the conversation here at Fantasy Matters.  Ken Schneyer, Madeline Barnicle, Nancy Hightower, Elizabeth Simons, and Ed Upton will all be contributing their thoughts and ideas this week, and we'd like to give them a hearty welcome!

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Fantastically Fun Fridays: June 17, 2011

Happy Friday everyone!  If you haven't voted in Adam's poll about what he should read next, you should take a minute to do that before your weekend starts--I would encourage you to vote for Scalzi's book, but that would be such a tacky attempt to rig the poll that I better not do it....We will be announcing the winner on Monday, so get your votes in before then!

Also, special thanks go to Kat Howard, Aaron Miller, and forum contributor srussell for their great suggestions for this week's fun links:

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Hey, That's Not Fantasy: Thoughts on The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's WifeA few weeks ago, I was browsing the Scifi/Fantasy section of my local library, looking for things to read, and I came across a copy of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.  I had wanted to read it when it first came out in 2003, but never had the patience to wait in line for it at the library, so I forgot about it.  This time, though, I checked it out--and spent the next few days engrossed in a very thought-provoking novel.

When I got to the end, though, my lingering thought was: "I'm not sure it counts as fantasy."

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