Why is Genre Fiction Looked Down On?
Anyone who loves genre fiction understand that it is generally looked down on by other people. The books are not considered “literature” in general even though almost all the most popular writers write fantasy, science fiction and horror. The same is true of movies, in which the most popular movies are almost always genre movies, but they rarely if ever win awards which are not specifically made for them and media like video games and comic books which are primarily genera are just looked down on in general.
My first reaction is to fight back. To point out just how bad a lot of their stuff is, but that doesn’t help anyone, so instead I try to understand why it is that people want to look down on genre fiction and if there is anything that can be done.
One of the most frustrating of the points is that so often when things are considered classics or masterpieces are simply treated as if they are not part of that genre. Putting them in bestsellers or classics is one thing, but books such as Slaughterhouse Five and Fahrenheit 451 are often treated as if they are not science fiction at all simply because they are good. The same is sometimes true of Lord of the Rings, though that is a bit less common simply because so much fantasy is similar to dismiss it.
The other major problem is simply that a lot of people look down on anything that is popular. Steven King can’t be a good writer because too many people like his stuff is a real attitude among people. Not one that I understand since the goal of writing fiction, in my opinion, is to have something people actually want to read and more people reading it means it’s successful. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have excellent stories for a small audience of course, only that big audience don’t make something bad.
In the end I generally do not care all that much what other people like and don’t like, but it’s hard to not care when it has actual effects, such as movies not getting made and worse when there are programs to encourage reading people ignoring genre even though, in my opinion, fun genre books are one of the easiest ways to get people reading books, because just like with anything you want to start on things that are easy and if you desire moving onto more difficult things, rather than reading things which are “important”.
If you want to read more about the way people think of genre fiction check out these articles http://www.digitalspy.com/broadcasting/news/a315213/bbc-criticized-over-sneering-book-night.html
They are about the same point, but it is by no means a single time, it is just more overt than in general, but not always.