Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

The genre that dare not speak its name

I have a book here, which I purchased from what is allegedly the largest bookshop in the Southern Hemisphere (which I doubt). It was in the Australian Literature section - no jokes from the back please - I bought it along with 'The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco' from the author of 'He died with a falafel in his hand' (John Birmingham).

The blurb is as follows:
'Frank and Philby meet at uni. Frank is the king of cool, and dysfunctionally libidinous. Philby is nervous, nerdy, and dysfunctionally insecure. Somehow, they form a team and go about chasing girls, passing their degrees and surviving many a green drink experience.

The hilarious misadventures of Frank and Philby are just part of what lies between the covers of Headgames. There's also a difficult unicorn, a shampoo fetish and cyber romance, a shopping mall that goes on forever, a fishing trip with Keanu Reeves and much much more.'

Now, call me unobservant, and naive, and in retrospect it is obvious that it is a collection of short stories. However, methinks that the 'are just part of what lies between the covers of' is a deliberate obfuscation of the fact that it is a collection of short stories.

Which is not surprising, because I am sure I am not the only person who spurns non-SF short story collections as I would a bag of rabid weasels. Unless they're by Douglas Coupland or Garrison Keillor of course, and even Keillor palls after the first couple of books.

Because, let's be honest, non-genre short stories are rarely any good. These collections seem to consist mainly of
a) mood pieces in which nothing much happens
b) tedious whimsy of a particular kind, all of which seems to hit exactly the same note. Mark Leyner springs particularly to mind in this context.

So, having seen this 'concealing the fact that it's a collection of short stories' trick in action, I shall know to be more suspicious in future.

  • Sweet municipal dreams

    I owe posts on a couple of things, but I break my long silence to commend the new Saint Etienne album, Home Counties, to you. It appears to be on…

  • The Hanging Tree - 2 questions

    Two questions... one is a plot one and one is a 'emotional authenticity' one Plot one: Did I miss something or is there no real explanation as to…

  • The Hanging Tree

    When more of you have read it I will be asking a couple of questions.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.