I’m beginning to think that people aren’t taking me seriously, and I’ll admit it kind of bugs me sometimes.  Not terribly.  I’m getting paid to make up stories, and there are about a billion people who would switch places with me in a heartbeat.  But still, terms like fluff and brain candy, well, sometimes they kind of piss me off.

It’s not that I’m surprised by them.  Why would I be?  Almost everything I like and love is considered childish or slight.  I love giant monsters and robots and superheroes.  I love them in an unapologetic way.  And that love means that I love writing about giant monsters and robots and superheroes.  And, of course, that means I’m writing dumb stuff.  It might give you a chuckle, might entertain, but it won’t impress you with its intelligence.  The way I write and what I write about, well, I’ll never be Cormac McCarthy.  I’ll never win the Pulitzer.  I’ll never win a Nebula.

And I’m cool with that.

I don’t want to be acknowledged as a deep thinker.  I don’t need for people to tell me I’m brilliant.  I’m just happy if people buy my books and are glad they did.  Really, I am.

But I’ll admit that I get a little cheesed off when my stories are written off as empty little pieces of whimsy when I think they are more than that.  I think I have something interesting to say, and I think that I look at things in an interesting way.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I’m just some guy who writes about vampires and aliens.

The most galling thing though is that by even writing about this, I feel like a pretentious prick.  Why should I care?  Isn’t it desperate and needy to write something like this as if asking for my fans to tell me how much they like my stuff in the comments section to embiggen my self-esteem?

It’s not as if I’m suggesting that my novels will be For The Ages.  If they’re still in print even 20 years from now, I’ll consider them a rousing success.  But it seems to me that there doesn’t have to be either overwritten literature or childish fluff as the only two categories.

All of these thoughts of mine have been written before, and I really don’t have anything new to add to it.  It was just something on my mind.  Make of them what you will.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. elizabeth
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    Terry Pratchett writes silly books that can have dozens of layers of meaning. Why does anything meaningful automatically mean serious and all to often boring?

  2. Jesse
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Well I’ve bought, read and thoroughly enjoyed two of your books so far. (Monster and The Automatic Detective) So there.

  3. Christina
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    You keep writing and I’ll keep buying. I think you are fantastic!

  4. Amber
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Okay, I admit I borrowed the first five books from my dad, but I totally bought the last two, reviewed them for my writing group newsletter, and pimp them in everyday conversation with random people.

  5. Amber_B
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Also, I don’t claim to get everything in every book I read, but I am willing to follow a story. As a reader, I have to trust I won’t be led astray, but sometimes I am, and sometimes for the better. It’s all part of the experience and I get out of it what I want to get out of it.

  6. Rippley
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, my bad. You said people consider you part of the YA genre. I was merely pointing out why I thought folks might place you in that group.

  7. Mario Di Giacomo
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Phil & Kaja Foglio’s webcomic Girl Genius is gloriously. wonderfully silly and fun.

    It’s already WON the Hugo, and is nominated again this year.

    I say “go for it” 🙂

  8. Posted April 12, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Pffft. I pity the simpletons out there who don’t realize you are the existential Loki of our time.

  9. tribalwitch
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    My dad read your books a long while ago and he told me about them. I read pretty much anything and i am disappointed by most. It takes something amazing in a writer to make me want to read more and more of their books. Your books where not what i thought they would be. They where much much better. Harry potter bored me to death. The wording was long and for the most pointless. Your books are fun and amazing in a way that can only be found by fully loving and enjoying what the book says. Wizards should not be teenage boys and vampires should not shimmer in the sun. lol. Your books are just what they should be. A bloody wonder.

  10. Dana
    Posted April 14, 2010 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    uh-oh. Well… sorry to disappoint you. I told a friend recently that I needed to read something light and fluffy because I had just come down from reading a few books that were gut-wrenching… brilliant, mind you, but really put me through the wringer. In any case, my friend suggested that I should read Gil’s All Fright Diner for something light and funny and didn’t require heavy thought. Now, I don’t think this was actually meant as an insult. I am sorry if such tag words bother you. Here’s what I do know: “doesn’t require heavy thought” does not translate into unintelligent. And “light & fluffy” does not have to equate to “fluf.” Although to be fair, I don’t think that words like “fluff & brain candy” are all that bad. But to each his own. Whatever words my friend used to get me to read you and that I have sinced used to hail your work, I think that the important thing is that people are reading you because of it. So, while I may apologize for any irritation that you may have over certain choice adjectives that may have been used, I am happy that I was introduced to your work and look forward to reading more of it. (And I hope to read more of the same intelligent, humorous, fun, — as I am not a writer and can’t claim that gift— works of fiction like that which I have recently read of yours.)

    Thanks again! —DEW

  11. Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who doesn’t think you’re “serious” has never tried to write a novel. That’s hard work, trial and error, and serious dedication right there. Thumb your nose at those folks and move on!

  12. Sean
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    One of the greatest challenges someone can have, is to boil down a complicated multifaceted idea, and make it simple enough that a child could read and understand. Writers should aspire to making their books easy to read, because it shows your skills as a writer. Reviewers and critics don’t realize how hard this can be, and therefore write off anything fun and easy to understand as something that anyone could have done, when in fact it is the complete opposite.

  13. Posted May 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Now me, I think that “brain candy” is an awesome word and should be an award in itself. “Welcome to the 2010 Brain Candy Awards.”.

    I am a guy that reads lots of technical and scientific journals and articles due to my work and interests.

    For mental Stimulation, I read Poe and Dante and Shelley, etc…(I love the classics) move into the modern age with popular yet good, dark and deep stuff like Koontz and Straub and even King.

    Having said that, It’s is like a vacation to open SF/Fantasy book that takes you to a total distraction. I find it a ‘recharging’ experience to read your stories.

    I once likened you to a ‘smart ass’ Piers Anthony (another favorite of mine, especially his ‘Tarot’ series).

    Brain candy indeed, and if it were not, I would not find it worth my time to read it.

    (I want to put in a plug for a sequel or following up on the characters from the “In the company of ogres” story. It is now one of my all time favorites in the genre.)

    T Sandoval

  14. Sean Hoade
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Whaaat? I will fight whoever calls “The Automatic Detective” either “fluff” or “brain candy.” It is one of the finest SF noir stories I’ve ever read, and that includes “Gun, With Occasional Music.” Just brilliant stuff.

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