23 June 2009

A Question for (Any) Readers

Think back to the days when video games and computer games (if
you care to make the distinction) were making their presence felt.
A new medium for storytelling, these games did not take their
stories seriously, nor would the literary establishment have taken
them seriously if they had tried. Many (including myself) would
argue that with video games this is still the case. No Harold
Bloom or Oprah's Book Club is going to treat S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear
Sky with anything close to the degree of critical respect The Road or even The Matrix got. It
was the same with film, and the same with novels before that. Each new medium must prove
itself capable of carrying the tripe before it is permitted to carry the jewels of culture. What
is interesting about this state of affairs from the point of view of an SF afficionado is that SF
(along with other non-mainstream genres such as Fantasy and Alternate History) seems to me to
be more prevalent among the early titles of these genres (with perhaps the exception of the
novel). Or maybe not. What do you think?

I will publish the results of this poll as soon as I get a substantial (20? 100? I can dream!) number
of replies, so tell your friends and family to get over here and answer the question for me. The
potential "so what?" of this poll: if the perception exists that SF and other unconventional
(un-literary) genres lead the way in introducing a new genre, the following useful questions

1. Why does this phenomenon exist?
2. What effect does this phenomenon have on the cultural perception of the emerging
3. Does this phenomenon contribute to the continuing refusal of the literary canon to include
unconventional genre literature (or at least admit that it already contains unconventional
genre literature)?

And doubtless many others. If any occur to you, please list them in the comments below, along
with the usual.


Geoffrey Wykes said...

Wow, Adam. Go for the jugular, eh? I think that this question is WAY too complex for a simple poll; my initial response was to look for an 'other' box.

That said, SF in this case is very much a marginal situation. That is, it is often on new types of media precisely because it is the edge of acceptable pop culture. SF movies are often action movies, and thus more likely to be purchased by the early adopters, etc. The same with video games. Natch, success here can lead the way for a more diverse scope, such as Westworld's use of computer graphics leading to Tron leading to, well, today.

Adam Wykes said...

So the new question for me is - why do early adopters favor action-filled plots? I mean I can easily see why early adopters would favor sci-fi as a genre... action is a little less obvious.

Ray Swanson said...

the hunt for red october!