Genre should support literature. Literature should not support genre.

Chuck Wendig gives us a very smart piece about the limitations of genre and why we writers need to break out of these little boxes.

Genre is comfort, after all. You know what you’re writing. You know what you’re reading.

Comfort in codification. But fiction often works best when there exists some measure of discomfort.

Oh my goodness! Chuck Wendig is one of My People!

I basically, pretty much agree with Wendig. If you’ve been following my Sunday Storytimes, you may have noticed that I’m a genre-bending author. I pretty much just write whatever story comes to mind, and will eventually figure out how to categorize it. Charlinder’s Walk is literary fiction, post-apocalyptic setting, coming-of-age story. There are fantasy elements; in the spirit of Wendig’s call for “more granularity,” I will specify: skeptical fantasy. I assure you, the contradiction will resolve itself when you see the fantasy elements. User Assembly is Required is women’s fiction; I’m not quite sure where the line is between “women’s fiction” and “chick lit,” but I think the reader would experience it more on the “women’s fiction” side of the line. Fait Accompli is dystopian, but NOT post-apocalyptic, and one of the issues I have with our genre classification is that too many people use “dystopian” to include ALL post-apocalyptic fiction, and this is a mistake. Book 4 is urban fantasy for an adult audience.

I think that genre is useful to the extent that it helps readers know what to expect when they pick out a book. To the extent that authors are expected to write to the genre, rather than just tell the story that presents itself, genre is an inhibitor of creativity and we must rise above it.

I would like to say more about genre categories, and let there be no doubt, I have no shortage of opinions on this, but actually, I have WIPs that demand my attention. Time must be made for writing the books.

“Make more babies! But don’t let them read Harry Potter!”

What in the shit is this?

A library in Columbia, SC has been showing the Harry Potter movies this month. This has drawn some protests, I’d like to say from the usual suspects, but these folks are actually…special.

Asking supporters to call and email Lexington County Council members demanding they put an end to the Witch-a-thon and decrease the library’s funding, Columbia Christians for Life indicated that any council member who disagrees should be voted out of office. The group backed up their demands and proved God’s apparent dislike for the Potter series by including several Bible verses from Deuteronomy and other Old Testament books:

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire (which, in the Harry Potter series, could be accomplished by a simple shield charm), or that useth divination (one of Harry’s least favorite classes at Hogwarts), or an observer of times (sounds like Hermione’s time-turner), or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer (such as Gilderoy Lockhart), or a consulter with familiar spirits (hopefully fire whiskey), or a wizard, or a necromancer.”

Something tells me the general voting populace is not going to share their priorities.

What I wonder is how Columbia Christians for Life, which you can tell by the name is an anti-abortion group, got so interested in protesting Harry Potter movies. As Ashley Miller shows us, their website is covered in spittle-flecked pronouncements about how abortion is sending America to Hell in a handbasket. (I’m not even exaggerating.) Harry Potter doesn’t say anything about abortion. If anything, you’d think the forced-birth set would appreciate the fact that Harry’s favorite family are the Weasleys, who seem to be in the camp of “babies are awesome so let’s have lots of them.”

I guess it makes sense if they view fertility less as building families and more as making lots of little Warriors for Christ, which, based on their website, appears to be their angle. They want you to make more babies, but don’t show them anything as left-leaning as Harry Potter, which has a nuanced view of authority figures and shows women doing interesting things with their lives. Nothing but Left Behind books for Columbia Christians for Life kiddies.

I’ll know I’ve made it when library systems start banning my books. If Columbia Christians for Boring Lives think Harry Potter is offensive, I’ll introduce them to Charlinder. Wait until you hear his thoughts on the Immaculate Conception. We won’t even get started on Gentiola.

In which I am snowed in:

Unfortunately, being trapped in the house does not help me come up with an interesting blog post.

Here in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region, we’re getting back-to-back blizzards and cannot go anywhere more interesting than the front yard, and there only with a shovel and rock salt.

If you’re in similar circumstances, then I can only hope your house has reliable electricity. We lost ours for most of Saturday; it sucked. I don’t want to think about what it’s like to be one of those people who’ve been in the dark for days now. Anyway, the point is, if you’re snowed in, but the basic needs of heat, light and food are covered, then now would be a good time to read a book.

This is not a good time to order any print books online, either; we haven’t had mail delivery at my house since Friday. BUT, if you have an ebook reader, then now is a good time to fill that sucker up and hunker down on the couch under a bunch of blankets.

If you don’t have an ebook reader, I don’t recommend going outside even if you do have a good bookstore within what you like to think is walking distance. There’s always the next blizzard, though.

Either way, I wish to recommend a book to read as long as you’re snowed in: Why Is Sex Fun?, by Jared Diamond. Same guy who wrote Guns, Germs and Steel. Here he brings a scientist’s inquisitiveness to the question of human sexuality, as compared to other animals. He explores the possibilities of how differently we could have evolved, and why we ended up the way we did.

If you don’t have an ebook reader, though, then for Pete’s sake, just read something you’ve had waiting on the shelves for a while. I don’t want to hear about anyone slipping on the ice and breaking their neck on the way to Borders.