Thursday, October 21, 2010

Don't Judge a Book by Its Label

Earlier this week, I discovered this photo posted on some of my favorite blogs. Apparently, there are many (male) bloggers out there who believe that a Barnes & Noble shelf labeled "teen paranormal romance" is a sure sign of the death of literature/the coming apocalypse/the idiocy of the book-buying public/their own superiority.

I commented on a number of the posts. Not only because The Eternal Ones is considered "teen paranormal romance," but because I've actually read many of the books on this shelf, and I know just how good some of them are. One of the bloggers took my comment to heart, did a little research, and decided we may not be idiots after all. (His blog is wonderful, by the way.)

There are a number of things that continue to bother me, however, and I'd like to get one of them off my chest. Most of the blogs that posted this photo are written by science fiction fans. (I, too, am a fan. That's why I regularly visit such blogs.) And many of the books on the "teen paranormal romance" shelf are essentially science fiction for young women (and enlightened young men). If these indignant bloggers bothered to read a few of the books they're mocking, they might be pleasantly surprised. But it takes less time to post a picture and point a finger than it does to offer an informed critique.

I'd also like to point out that it took the science fiction genre DECADES to receive the respect it deserves. It wasn't long ago that the mainstream literary world would have dismissed the entire sci-fi shelf (including the works of my beloved Philip K. Dick) as meritless trash.

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