Book Report: The Time-Traveler’s Wife
8 September 2006, 5:40 PM
I know, I know. Believe me, Your Humble Blogger is aware that you have all had these conversations about genre before. Besides, y’all went through this back when The Time-Traveler’s Wife was on the best-seller lists, and wasn’t on the Hugo list. As it happens, that was a year that I didn’t read many of the Hugo-nominated novels, although I did read Paladin of Souls. And I enjoyed it, and all. I’d have a hard time saying which I thought was better. I might have voted for Ms. Niffenegger’s book, just because it was a bit different, and, you know, Ms. Bujold has a few awards. But, of course, because Random House didn’t market the book in-genre, Hugo voters didn’t read it (I assume), and certainly didn’t vote for it.
So, it’s been five years or so that this trend of mainstream-ish literary writers have written things that are not marketed as specfic but, you know, are specfic by almost any content-based, influence-based or effect-based schema. The only one that seems to have come over big within the genre is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. Will Self, for instance, doesn’t seem to have any Hugo Noms (or Nebula Noms, for that matter).
This, of course, is connected my continued crankiness that Never Let Me Go wasn’t nominated for the Hugo, particularly now that the award has been given to a book that I have read (tho’ not yet blogged) and although I enjoyed the book, and I see why it won, it wasn’t a patch on the Ishiguro, as far as I’m concerned. More than that, though, it’s a sense that either genre readers aren’t reading books like TTW, which is frustrating to me because it really is a good book, and is good speculative fiction besides, or they are sulkily refusing to hand them awards out of spite to the publishers.
Or, I suppose, genre readers simply don’t like them. Which is possible, I suppose. The first few chapters of Oryx and Crake, I’ll admit, stunk, and I’m certainly not griping about how it was ignored by the genre awards. And I suppose Ishiguro is a bit of an acquired taste. But TTW was the sort of book people like, as I can tell by it being a best-seller. So why didn’t people like it?
chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,