Authors Answer 10 – Least Favourite Genres

Before I start writing this week’s post I’d like to pay tribute to David Bowie, who was without doubt one of the greatest musicians of the past decades, influencing thousands of people all over the world. I wasn’t a fan – on the whole I was indifferent-verging-on-positive about his stuff, but it cannot be denied that he was a genius, innovator and a visionary.

When I heard it I was mainly thinking of an old school friend of mine. I’ve lost touch with him for a few years now, but I remember he was devastated when Freddie Mercury died so many years ago, and he’ll be devastated now, because Bowie was his other hero.

Davy, this is for you.

So on to this week’s post, and predictably, after last week, this week it’s all about genres I dislike. I can’t remember whether I’ve ever devoted a post to this before; I’m certain I’ve mentioned some of my pet hates in passing, but if I did do a full post I do not recall when.

The obvious one which I know I have mentioned is literary fiction. I’m not entirely sure how to define it, but it’s the stuff that’s classed as Literature with a capital L, as opposed to the ‘escapist fluff’ I usually read. (Today I saw someone say in a Facebook post that Fantasy authors are not considered the ‘best’ of writers, and comments like that still make me fume.) All the Literature I remember reading is all depressing shit about the futility of life and people coping with big internal battles and whatnot. Am I generalising? You bet, but I just really can’t get enthusiastic about all the worthy novels nominated for the Booker prize or whatever the biggie is. There’s an audience for that stuff, and I’m sure the books very well written, but they’re not for me.

The second genre I do not read is horror, which is less due to any dislike on my part and more due to my inherent nature as a coward. A long, long time ago I read Stephen King’s The Mist, and it terrified me for weeks, months, years afterwards. I mean, as a child I hid behind the sofa when the video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller was on TV, so that gives you an idea of just how much of a wuss I am. My husband made me watch Aliens, and afterwards I believe my hand was imprinted on his leg for several weeks.

That stuff about horror becomes quite amusing when you realise that the books I edit for my friend Hillary are high fantasy with a sprinkling of horror mixed through. It’s never been bad enough to really frighten the shit out of me, but there’s one passage in particular in her first book, The Light of Kerrindryr, that always gives me the heebie-jeebies. It’s when Lark, one of the heroines, is being interrogated by Darilan, one of the Empire’s abominations. He has a knife/sword thing which is pretty much a human trained and sacrificed to become the blade. A sword with a tortured soul, which is creepy enough in itself, and then Darilan puts the blade to Lark’s cheek:

No room, no chair, no abomination. In the veined emptiness, a hulking figure held her in a monstrous embrace, its heavy fingers gloved in her struggling arteries and its blind, half-formed face so close that she tasted the blood on its breath, felt the slick silken length of its tongue lave across her trembling lips. It had a mouth like a horizon, edge to edge along the meaty nub of its head, and when the jaws parted, teeth gleamed back into the darkness of its throat like endless rows of broken glass. A bubbling chuckle rose from the depths, a glottal lover’s whisper, and her innards contracted in stark terror.

Seriously, that still freaks me the shit out. Incredibly evocative, and creepy as fuck.

Original post on Jay Dee Archer’s blog can be found here.


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