Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vampire Detective who investigates supernatural crimes in a Gothic city

There, I just pitched a novel. Why don't you give me a deal for 3 books, the first few of a series, and I'll write them. I'll actually do it, too. If it means getting published, I will write this. And I'll make it my own by having a strange sense of humour, and as dark and nasty as the publisher will let me.

Vampire detective, investigating supernatural crimes in a Gothic city while falling in love and having steamy sex with any and all supporting cast members of the opposite sex. Also, serial killers. Illuminati conspiracy. And a feisty youngish Southern lawyer.

Sounds fucking good, doesn't it?

"Paranormal romance", as the genre's being called, is booming. Fucking exploding! Readers of a certain taste just can't get enough. Vampires are everywhere now. Do a search on Amazon for anything to do with vampires, and it'll return one billion products. They sell more vampires than they do John Grishams.

Yeah, vampire novels are turning derivative and stale. Yeah, they're being churned out at a rate that probably doesn't match the demand. But is it a bad thing? Is the vampire detective/paranormal romance a genre for us to sneer at?

Hell, no.

But yes at the same time. Here's the logic. When somebody reads anything, I mean, anything, that's commendable. Everybody reads shit every once in awhile. Almost everything I read in high school was a big pile of crap, and I was a huge Palahniuk fan (embarrassing!) but reading all this crap was at least a positive, and it led to me to the next step: developing a discerning eye.

The more crap I read, the less patience I had for it. I still read trashy novels occasionally. In 2010 I read a couple pulpy novels, a few space operas. But after high school, when I reached university, not only did my tastes develop, but my critical eye did too. I no longer swallowed what the author gave me. I challenged the author, asked them to improve. If they didn't, then I moved on.

But the thing of it is, unless you, as a reader, are developing and evolving, then you deserve to be reading shit and I'll make fun of you for it. If all you ever read is vampire books, then I cut you no slack.

It doesn't matter what the genre is: vampire shit, space opera, Irish murder mysteries - if you confine yourself to one thing, you're never going to evolve. You need to get out there and try something zany.

I used to never read anything that wasn't set in an English-speaking environment, like Canada, the US, England and Australia, pretty much exclusively. The reason being is that I didn't want to work too hard at learning a new world, a new way of doing things. Anything set in Eastern Europe, or Africa or China just put a terrible taste in my mouth. Their worlds were just so foreign as to be alien.

What a fucking dick I was. That's racist.

Why do I read other than to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life, new civilizations? Why was I reading? I asked myself this over and over when I started getting bored with the same New York Times style American fiction. I read a million clones of Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk and whatnot. I picked up a book and was looking for disconnected vapid emotionally empty Preppy people with too much money. If there was anything middle class or lower class, I wasn't interested.

My tastes were so stuck to one thing. And I got bored.

Then I started reading anything and everything. Once I opened the floodgates, I saw that there were a billion books out there that I could read.

That's why I don't shit on the vampire thing anymore. Because it's a gateway drug to the right people. Some readers are going to consume a bit of derivative pablum and like it, and then consume more and get bored. That will send them off to something more and then even more. Other people will be content to read The Pillars of the Earth, Dan Brown, and Stephanie Meyer for the rest of their lives.

Well, this blog isn't for them, is it?

So fellow genre-fans, my brothers and sisters in geekdom, don't denigrate other readers for their love of the vampire genre. If they're reading, then that's got to be a good thing, right? Nobody should ever be mocked for reading.

Unless you just fucking love Twilight and nothing else. If so, shame on you.

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