Friday, March 13, 2009

A backhanded compliment

I'm sure this will be in next month's Ansible, but I squirmed when I read one of the comments in this NY Times piece on the sale of Audry Niffeneger's forthcoming second novel.
Joe Regal, Ms. Niffenegger’s agent, said: “There are going to be people coming to the book with claws out. That’s just reality. It’s for reasons completely unconnected to the book.” He added that even “The Time Traveler’s Wife” faced naysayers. “There were lots of people who dismissed the first book because it sounded like romance or science fiction or said because it sold so well, it can’t be good,” Mr. Regal said.

Goddammit, The Time Traveler's Wife was SF, and it was a romance, and both were done well and thoroughly intertwined with the characters. Remove the love story, and you're left with the clinical details of a man whose disability is that he travels randomly in time. Remove the time travel and it's a boring and predictable tale of two clever young things in the city. But together, the elements of a tragedy come together. It's damn good, which has nothing to do with what genre it falls into.

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