May 9th, 2007


Please Welcome the Newest Subgenre

There's a subgenre of the thriller that I like to call Angry White Man books. They usually have titles like Rage and feature middle-class white guys who snap and go on killing sprees. Kind of like that Michael Douglas movie everyone hated but was actually pretty good. In fact, the Angry White Man subgenre is entirely misunderstood. And who can blame people for misunderstanding it? Rage isn't what comes to mind when you think of the privileged class. Which is why I propose someone write the true middle-class white man thriller that plays off the true middle-class white man emotional state. I've already taken the liberty of writing the back cover copy:


Chip isn't like the other guys in his office. Sure, he's got an awesome corner cubicle and a screen saver that makes it look like he's working when he's actually playing online poker, but he can't help feeling something is missing. Yet no one else notices it. Only Chip. Everyone else's life is perfect and shiny.


It's almost lunchtime. Chip doesn't know whether to go to the taco stand or the Chinese place. He had tacos yesterday, but he doesn't want Chinese either. Why must life be so hard? How much longer before he gets to nap the weekend away between reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation on SpikeTV?


Is Chip watching the clock? OR IS THE CLOCK WATCHING HIM?

Genre Claptrap Indeed!

From the Kirkus review of The Best American Erotica 2007:

Inevitably, there are entries that push so far into sexual fantasy that it becomes difficult to suspend disbelief. Some of the too-blue-to-buy stories include Nicolas [sic] Kaufmann's "Comeback" and Marie Lyn Bernard's "What Happened to That Girl." It is the imbalance of collecting gorgeously sensuous writing with genre claptrap that is this anthology's weakness and its strength.

Hmmm. Yes, I suppose a story about an aging porn star having sex with Egyptian gods and shaving a magical symbol into her pubic hair might indeed cause difficulty suspending disbelief.

If this were a collection of non-fiction essays.

Thank you, grumpy old Kirkus, for being one of the few things in the world that never changes!