There are days when I wonder why I bother to write a blog, because so few postings get comments, compared to some of the blogs I follow. But that's crap -- I write because I want to write. It's a journal that just happens to be online. That few people comment isn't that big a deal because I know that only a small fraction of readers tend to comment anyway.
Even worse, though, I cannot figure out how one can survive when you regularly get hundreds or even over a thousand comments on a particular post. One of the reasons I don't spend a lot of time at the Nielsen Hayden's Making Light is because I just can't afford the time to wade through all the comments -- because some of them are interesting.
Now, there is a point to all this.
That Old Literary Versus Genre "Debate"
It's been going on for a long time, and the current one I've run into a couple of times in the last few days, but have resisted going deep into it. But... one writer I follow on LiveJournal is nihilistic_kid Nick Mamatas. I've mentioned Nick before and he's an acquired taste, but I appreciate the way he uses language as precisely as he can, though not everyone appreciates that.
So this is all part of a much larger discussion literary versus genre, but I found this gem from Nick starting here and working south:
2. I'd contend that SF/F requires enormous amounts of work on the part of the reader. The ability to sit through lengthy infodumps on means of propulsion, the neologisms, the immense casts of characters and endless 800-page volumes that take place over the course of generations, the many references to earlier literature, outright didacticism on everything from statecraft to sexual politics, and the topic of science in general require significant synoptic facilities and patience from readers. Many many readers simply slam shut a book when the first page contains many crazy terms and weird names--for these readers complex or unusual sentences about the everyday is LESS work than trying to read SF/F. This may be one reason why many adult SF/F readers come to the hobby as children while relatively few people start reading SF/F as adults--one needs years of experience to read the contemporary material in the field.
Okay, Forget The Topical Debate (grin)
To me this is a nice statement both on why some people really get into SF/F and why some can't. I look at my own novel I am currently editing and realize that I do ask my future readers to work some. Whether it is sellable, whether anyone else will think it's any good -- or at least entertaining -- I am too close to my own writing to say.
But it's a statement I can resonate with.