Saturday, June 27, 2009

New Weird Class Warriors. Oh Really?

Though a long time advocate of M. John Harrison (though see my relatively recent post on Harrison on Lovecraft), I have found myself somewhat blindsided by a quote of Harrison's which, I believe quite rightly, this blogger has railed against

No doubt apologists will say that Harrison was being ironic or somesuch, but sadly, I feel his claim that 'it is undignified to read for the purposes of escape' is sadly all too indicative of broader attitudes emergent within the current 'New Weird' trend in speculative literature (of which, nonetheless, I still consider myself a fan). Especially so amongst a number of these genres' acedemic/philosophical exegetes, who would style themselves as revolutionaries without really - I mean really - having any experiential or conceptual understanding of what it means not to have come from anything other than a relatively privileged middle-class background.


  1. I try not to read anything of Harrison's outside of his fiction, which I love, because I just can't get on with it.

    I suppose in his defence you might say that most artists feel that their art transcends mere escapism.

  2. On reflection, I think I've been a little harsh in venting some spleen here (the basis of which I may go into in a later post).

    Generally I prefer Mieville's view that its more about the monters than the politics (even though, coming from Mieville, I find this a little disingenuous).

    Granted, though, that it is important for genre writers to establish and support the validity of their work in relation to what is conventionally considered literature (especially important when lauded non-genre writers often vehemently deny that they have written sci-fi even when they stray into that territory).

    Even so, I do find statements akin to those that Harrison has made insulting, alienating and hypocritical.