This started as a post about interactivity in fiction. I will still write that post. I’m just … going to write about this one first because it turned into a Whole Rant.
Honestly, somehow in the last few years I’ve sort of managed to fall off on keeping up with where the cutting edge of storytelling is. When I first started this blog I was so full of confidence that I was keeping up with the trends, and aware of the new developments in storytelling in general. Where did I find that information way back then? Who did I follow? What was I watching, who was I reading, that I felt I could make all these judgement calls?
And more to the point, was I horrifically misguided then, or am I just worse at knowing things now?
Basically the options are that I’m saying terrible and wrong things in public now, or I was saying terrible and wrong things in public then, and honestly? Neither of those are options I particularly like.
Corollary question: Is this what it’s like to get old?
Let’s be clear: I haven’t fallen completely off the radar (I don’t think). I could probably write something about how a few years ago we were all complaining about the lack of couch co-op/local multiplayer games that weren’t on the Wii (and this is where I date myself), and now I could list probably twenty games without even looking up my Steam library. A little while back there was that resurgence of zombie games and movies, and there have been some rather interesting developments in that genre in the last year or so. I could probably talk about VR experiences and what’s affecting that particular market at the moment. And while I have not been to the movies in (mumble) months, there are some interesting things to say about blockbusters there, too.
But I remember a time on this blog where I’d wax didactic about the Future of Genres, or the Future of [Medium]. I wanted to try and write another one of those, because speculation is fun – we’re in the middle of a period of great flux at the moment, and our fiction is changing, too. I’d love to post some interesting discussion about current trends and maybe what kind of direction we’re going in as fiction creators.
And then I actually tried to think about what I’d say and honestly, I can’t think of a single genre or medium where I feel like I know enough about the context to make that call. Not even speculative fiction, where I do most of my work and attend industry events and things. Video games, I can look at and sort of see what’s going on in the mainstream, and get an idea of where things are headed. Speculative fiction, I find it hard to tell anymore what’s mainstream and what I have heard about because of who I happen to follow and be interested in. Does speculative fiction even have mainstream? There was a time when it felt like ‘mainstream speculative fiction’ meant YA (yes, I know they are different genres, but there is also a lot of overlap and adult spec fic readers were reading a lot of YA). I don’t think that still holds true … but is that just because I’ve started to be exposed to fewer adult speculative fiction writers and readers who read heavily in YA as well? Have the people who read both that I know stopped talking quite so much about YA? It’s not that either genre is dying or falling out of favour, or getting worse, so what changed?
And that’s the problem with trying to follow trends – mostly how we look at trends is that we look at our experiences, the things that are brought to our attention, and then extrapolate from there. And I can’t help but think that I’ve somehow pared down my experience, changed where I look for information so that I’m just not getting the same breadth of information I used to.
Maybe it’s because I’ve started to spend a lot more of my energy on current events – I’m reading less exclusively about fiction. Maybe it’s just that in the last four or five years, a lot more people have started changing from talking about fiction to talking about current events, because that definitely feels like it’s the case sometimes. Maybe I’m just less confident about making those sweeping, speculative calls than I used to be, because I’m generally more concerned with nuance than I was when I was in my early twenties.
Either way, I think this realisation is the first step on the road to getting old.
I’m gonna go speculate on some genres for a while to make myself feel better.