New genres

Why can’t the major publishers just whip up a new genre?

If it is “creative non-fiction”, if it has a few lies around a nugget of truth, why can’t they just slap a new label on it?

The underground literary scene seems to have no problem breaking out of mainstream genres. Take for instance BIZARRO fiction. (I stumbled on this thanks to an Amazon.com list.)

It is just a bunch of authors and filmmakers who decided that THIS is what they do.

Why can’t the people with money and influence do this?

Cause major publishers sell their work through major bookstores who decide where books go on the shelves. You don't just start calling something "Snark Fiction" and send it out to Borders, Barnes and Nobel and Amazon. Not if you want it to sell.

The reason the underground folks can do it is cause they sell through less behemoth stores who are more nimble in their shelving practices, or directly to you online.

However, the Bigs may be slow but they eventually respond and when enough people say "hey, where's your Bizarro section", they'll get one. And what the hell is Bizarro fiction anyway? I clicked over to Amazon and found myself in the Superman section. Send me the link if you can find it again.


Anonymous said...

Bizarro is a kinda alternate Superman. I think.

Steve said...

Re: bizarro, I found this description,and this Amazon list. It seems to be a catch-all type of genre rather than something closely defined (I don't say that as a criticism).

Maxwell said...

Rudy Rucker has been up calling a lot of his work "transreal" aka fictionalized autobiography. It's pretty obvious where reality ends in his work, as the aliens usually arrive in the first chapter.

archer said...

As I recall from a comic-book- saturated childhood, Bizarro is Superman's defective double. He was formed in an explosion involving Red Kryptonite. He then populated Bizarro World, presumably with Bizarra. They observe earth through powerful telescopes and then do the opposite of whatever is done here, e.g., the fire department sets fires, etc.

Grady said...

It's a concept not far removed from Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism. He was a lot less pretentious about it though.

Rachel said...

I interviewed Chris Genoa, author of the novel Foop! and one of the Bizarro authors and he explains it there and also links to this message board

That Girl Who Blogs Stuff said...

So what are you telling me Miss Snark? There will never be a senior editor who throws their stack of folders across the meeting room table and screams “F$#* the bullshit, it's time to throw down. Creative nonfiction! Creative nonfiction!”

(In my world this would then be promptly followed by the editor in question leaping from their chair and scurrying through the office on all fours to bare their teeth to copy machines and bay at florescent lights.)

Are you telling me THAT is never going to happen? Maybe a publisher then? A marketer? Somebody?