Thursday, June 23, 2011

where's the new material?

In this past week alone, I've visited almost every single mall in town, including one several minutes outside of town. The reason for these excursions being that each mall houses a bookstore, each significantly different and enjoyable in its own way: Coles, Indigo, Chapters. I was quite disappointed to find that nothing new was on the shelves.

Okay, everything was new. Nothing was original.

When I say original, I don't mean "a cool idea". Everything was rather interesting, but nothing jumped out at me, because everything is a just a spoke of the bandwagon wheel nowadays, isn't it? We began with books about wizards and witches, and with all due respect to Jo Rowling, the entire literary market was absolutely taken with the phenomenon that was "urban fantasy".

The authors who were not as devoted to creating new worlds or new concepts began to tweak aspects of reality and mellowed "urban fantasy" down to "paranormal-somethings", which could be filled in with "women's fiction", "romance", "thriller", or any other genre that doesn't already suggest paranormality.

From "paranormal" was born the whirlwind saga known commonly as Twilight. Twilight, in turn, bred new storylines, that weren't quite unique or inventive in any visible way. Similarities were exhaustingly poignant, and the differences were excruciatingly far-fetched. It's difficult, I'll acknowledge, to attempt to stray from a basic premise without losing that fine balance of what's imaginably tolerable and what's painfully not.

With the rise of teenage paranomal romance, the shelves were cleared of vampires and replaced with substitutions of mythical creatures in place of Edward Cullen, fallen angels being probably the best, but not the only example.

Where's all the new material? Are there no longer ideas that are absolutely ground-breaking? We seriously need something to come along and break up the rocks that are hiding the treasure underneath. I found a paperback novel, rather newly printed, called The Shadow Project, at the small, run-down library in my vicinity this Tuesday. Its premise seems thrilling, and it is somewhat reminiscent of The Uglies, Pretties, Extras and Specials by Scott Westerfield. Now Westerfield's work was definitely something to be awestruck about - that was inventive, if nothing else!

Although I've only read the first book of Westerfield's Uglies series and none at all of The Shadow Project, I can tell right off the bat that both of them are astoundingly innovative concepts that have an immaculate understanding of how to find a middle ground between finding inspiration from, and twisting, other ideas.

xx, rooi


geet said...

I can so relate to that. A couple of years back, book shops were one of my favourite places to find ideas floating around or condensed in covers good and bad. But now- it's vampires, birds, greek heroes, angels or what not with a human person(male or female) falling in love etc etc.
And it's really not nice.
What I then began to concentrate on was diaspora literature which, after a few really cool books diminished into repeated unimaginative plots,done to death.
This might seem like a rant but it's not- just waiting for some good books to emerge :-))

By the way, this was really well written :))

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