Posted tagged ‘interstitial’

Review: Interfictions 2

April 22, 2010

For the uninitiated, Interstitial fiction is a literary movement that developed over the last few years in which authors attempt to break down genre boundaries and divisions.  These are stories in which all tropes and all formats are fair game, and the stories produced are generally excellent.  But the idea isn’t as novel as many of those involved with the movement make it out to be on occasion.  Currently there are also the slip stream and new weird writers doing the same thing, and previously there was the new wave, and as much as I hate to bring them into this some of the post-modernists (looking at you Pynchon).

Okay, mini-rant over, on to Interfictions 2, the second anthology of interstitial writing.  As a cohesive anthology it has a pretty major flaw.  This is a collection of stories that share the common trait of not fitting in with any established sort of writing, which of course includes their companion stories in this book, and to me that’s a huge problem.

Fortunately though, the parts of the collection are uniformly excellent.  I particularly loved Amelia Beamer’s Morton Goes to the Hospital, a sort of Alzheimer’s romance, and Will Ludwigsen’s Remembrance Is Something Like a House, in which a house goes in search of its former owners.  

With all the variety and skill displayed here I doubt that there’s any reader out there who won’t find something in this collection that will appeal to them.  I just found that it took me forever to complete this book as I was unable to sit down and read the collection for any extended periods as I constantly had to reset my brain between stories in order to be able to follow the stylistic shifts.

Are Genres Past their Prime?

May 19, 2008

This is something I’ve been pondering a lot lately.  Actually for most of my life based on my own reading habits, which tend to defy easy classification (China Mieville, Joe R. Lansdale, Chuck Palahniuk, etc…).  Mieville is a particularly good example, in that he pretty much represents the New Weird movement.  The New Weird is one of three fairly recent movements within the f&sf community that seek to combine the tropes of multiple genres for various effects (the others being Slipstream and Interstitial).   Mieville’s stories (particularly his Bas Lag novels) have an incredible willingness to incorporate any and all literary devices as long as they can effectively tell the story.

This sort of genre merging isn’t anything terribly new, Star Trek was pitched as being about “a wagon train to the stars”, but it is gaining a new sort of prominence with every new vampire/romance series to hit the shelves.  With that in mind, I’m really wondering if it’s still useful to break out genre books into special collections.  At my library we catalog s.f., mystery, romance, and westerns separately, and any time we receive something that crosses a boundary we either place it wherever the previous book by that author went, or just give up and toss it in general fiction.

Obviously I hate this approach, but I’ve been unable to come up with something that will both appease our patrons who seek out those collections and my own sense of accuracy.  So if anyone out there on the interwebs has any suggestions please let me know, because frankly I’m at a bit of a loss.