Kristine Kathryn Raush's essay, "Barbarian Confessions" (September 2006), was a breath of fresh air in the stale, mannered and claustrophobic halls of the SF world. In Britain, and probably in America, surrounded by critics disappearing up their own fundaments, self-proclaimed SF academics who think they rule the roost and deeply serious writers who are "political" and believe their opinions beyond fiction actually matter, we're still choking in rotting flotsam and jetsam cast up by a New Wave that retreated about forty years ago.
Like Kristine, I too abandon more new books than I read, rather confining my "work" reading to those written expressly for the purpose of conveying information. And I'm tired of the literati and the damage they do, the careers they wreck by convincing writers who have produced hated entertainment to now produce something serious, the self-important reviewers who put themselves above the books they review, the long turgid essays about the meaning of it all and the importance of obscure books of authorial masturbation, the older writers who think story and entertainment are beneath them, produce some worthy tome, then spend their declining careers whining to their publishers and agents about lack of sales, and the general sneering attitude towards anything that dares to be an easy enjoyable read.
Bring on the barbarians, I say. Let them kick over the crumbling statues, tear down the rotting curtains and smash all the windows to let in some air and light. Let them put to the sword and throw into a pit all the grubby weasel-worshippers of bankrupt ideas about literature. I'll look down at their bloody corpses and dance.
I will probably write more about this later in a comment but right now I have to go to see some roller derby. Until then, any comments? I assume he wants Gene Wolfe's head on a pike but other than that I'm not sure what to make of it, other than to be impressed by its ferocity.