Sunday, October 1, 2023

John Ra

I really don't care too much about precision when it comes to describing the arts. For example, there might be an album I call heavy metal and you say it is technically grindcore, I think that's fascinating but ultimately I don't care about getting it "wrong" very much. It's still metal. And let's be real: some of the sub-categories of metal are ridiculously granular*. Unless you're a super-aficionado, nobody cares. Heavy, thrash, death, prog, and black are probably all you need to describe the landscape. Maybe.

That's a digression. The point of this post is to talk about genre in fiction, a little bit. And to ramble. A lot.

I am not an avid reader. When I was a teenager I read what I considered to be a lot of books. Started with some books I can't remember and moved into Tolkien and Howard and others. But upon hearing the reading habits of some of my RPG friends, holy shit I was not an avid reader. I was a dabbler at best. My god some of you people read like you want to destroy your eyes.

Anyway, the books I read when I was young were mostly fantasy novels with a few SF tossed in here and there. I know a lot of people say that D&D expands kids' vocabulary and leads them to read more. In my case, once I started playing D&D I actually read fewer books. I was too damn busy making things up and giving them stats. Why would I read someone else's ideas when I could make up my own?

Later, mostly in my 20 and 30s, I read a lot of nonfiction. Far more nonfic than fiction. I was really into books about science, such as The Beak of the Finch and River out of Eden and I also read things like A People's History of the United States and Night.

Today what I discover is that my favorite genre of fiction is sword and sorcery... a sub-category of fantasy that isn't easily defined and is historically marked by some of the most egregious sexism and racism you can find in fantasy fiction. I never claimed to have lofty tastes, after all. I am a lowbrow artist, I believe.

But when it comes to making games, I really do love sci-fantasy. That is, fantasy with spaceships and robots. It's kind of goofy, a little over the top, but it offers everything and that appeals to me for some reason. Especially when running games. I like to riff and improvise and such a setting is most forgiving in that regard.

*I use Spotify a lot. Like a fucking LOT. I go to sleep with it in my ears on most nights. Each year they do this "wrap up" thing where they tell you what you listened to. Mine always tells me I'm "adventurous" because I listed to over 1,000 genres in the past year. How the FUCK are there 1,000 genres? I know for a fact I do not listen to all types of music. I've never been into hip-hop, for example. But I guess because there were a handful of hip-hop songs that I listened to more than once that counts as me being adventurous. I dunno. But jesus, "hyper-techno-death-thrash-grindcore-alternative" is not a fucking thing. It's probably just rock.

No comments:

Post a Comment