Sunday, March 20, 2011

"I liked it, so it must not be genre..."

Reviewers have this cheap reviewing trick: if they like something, it's "elevated" above the rest of the genre.

Today's review of a BEYONDERS, by Brandon Mull, there is the statement that most fantasies are "....populated ... with wizards and brutish men skilled in the arts of hunting and swordplay."

Oh, come on. Fantasies haven't been filled with "brutish men" since -- well, maybe Robert E. Howard, about 70 years ago.

Same thing happens everytime a reviewer reads a graphic novel and likes it: well, golly gee, it's a comic book and it's better than I expected, so it must be "elevated" above everything else.

Of course, the one that drives me up a wall is a movie review that tells me that some movie or another is "elevated" above the comic book origins. Well, no. Not usually. In fact, most superhero movies are telling stories from 20 years ago or more, and the art form has more or less moved beyond such simple tropes. If anything, the movies are slightly retarded spoon fed, meet the expectation of the muggles, versions.

So whenever a reviewer "likes" a genre, it must be because it's somehow is above and beyond the type? Only if you haven't read much of it.

More often than not, what they're reviewing are just examples of the better written stories in those genres, but rarely do they actually rise above. Because, Sturgeon's Law aside, most art forms have good, bad, and indifferent.

What it reveals to me, more often, is the ignorance of the reviewer. And I don't know about you, but ignorance of the form isn't what I'm looking for in someone who is recommending things to read...

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