Re: RARA-AVIS: Sturgeon's "Cellmate"

From: jacquesdebierue (
Date: 11 Jun 2008

--- In, "Juri Nummelin"
<juri.nummelin@...> wrote:
> I've been pissed at Sturgeon's Law for some time now. Okay, Sturgeon
> meant it as a joke (he was drunk, as Richard pointed out) and we
> should treat it as such and not take it as a truth. It's become sort
> of a lame excuse. Someone says: "Hey, crime novels are crap, didn't
> you know that, read literary novels instead." And we say back,
> smirking: "Hey, didn't you know that 90 % of literary novels is
> crap?" And that's the end of discussion.

I take Sturgeon's dictum as a call to healthy skepticism, not as a law of any sort. Think of rediscoveries and reevaluations. Twenty years ago, Gil Brewer's work was considered merely interesting trash -- but today, he is ranked a lot higher than that. Why do we now rate Willeford so highly, whereas some decades ago he was part of a vast shapeless pile of "popular literature"? And, most notably, pulp literature was considered trash for many decades, not worthy of study or discussion as literature. That's not the case today. The same happened with B-noir films, cheap horror films, the Corman crowd, etc.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 11 Jun 2008 EDT