Some Musings on Genre and Adherence.

Yes, I know this post is long overdue, but once you slide off, it’s really easy to keep not posting. I am posting this now and not procrastinating (even longer) because once I get this up, I will return to posting. Expect some editorials on what I’ve been doing (miniatures mainly), and the promised “Geekhood in Israel” which will be interwoven with my own personal story of ascending to Geekhood Godhood, because it’s my story.

"Those Bloody Ruins!"

Speaking of stories (which is one of my favourite topics), you might remember my Micro-Fiction of the “Nameless man”. That was a homage, and as such, it really was a “genre” snippet.

Writing or telling in genre can be easy or hard. When your goal is to mimic and recreate a genre, it’s sometimes hard to not overdo it, to make it clear that you are drawing and referencing ye olde favourite genre while not being too hackneyed. It also keeps you very self-conscious, because genres are often less about what you tell and more about how you tell it; both the shape and form of the story, and the construction of the sentences. You really pay attention to every word.

Of course, some people just write, and since they think in this genre, whatever comes out will be of the genre, without them giving this much thought. But then, it’s not really homage, it’s just how they write.

Anime is a medium, but it also is a genre to a degree. It has tropes to itself, and certainly to its subgenres, such as “Determinator Shounen”, “Moe”, “High school”, “Dating sim romance”, etc. And part of what I’ve spoken about before regarding comedies, and how we’re all about the “insider jokes” to show and prove (even if only to ourselves) that we are “in the know”? That’s not just tidbits, it’s also the genre-trappings, the things that happen which show us we are actually watching something “of the genre”.

Anyway, here’s a small genre-entry. You guys shouldn’t have a hard time recognizing the genre; provided you like reading ;)

The God-Machines of Atria Crumbled.

The machine-tender priests could do nought but wring their spanners of gold and silver as they watched their gods grow silent, the decline of their once great civilization into the [Jungles of Forgetfulness], where the hoarse cries of the [Apes of Abbadon] echoed; as they, in turn turned their baleful beady eyes upon the verdigris and rust that had come upon the source of their great subjugators’ power and hope.

It was not until hundreds of years later than dawn had come once more, as some strangely shaped rocks had been found lying in the undergrowth by some youths near an outlying base of the now-ancient ruins of the once great Seventh South-Eastern Commerce Center of Flow (by the Powers of the Ever-Great God-Machines whose progress marches us ever forward), or as it had been known in the current time, by those that had currently lived nearby, “Those bloody ruins“, usually accompanied by a sign to ward evil spirits, and spitting.

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8 comments on “Some Musings on Genre and Adherence.

  1. Itai says:

    Hey look! new post!

    I didn’t get the genre, I must no like reading. Which may be the case as of late.

    • Guy says:

      Well, it’s also possible I didn’t do it justice… just that I think a lot of my RPG-playing friends will get it. One even wrote an RPG book that is all genre for this genre…

      I was not very serious. Those who like to read the kind of books I like to read will probably recognize it ;)

  2. lovelyduckie says:

    “but once you slide off, it’s really easy to keep not posting”

    Yup I hear you. I didn’t post as much as I meant to last week because I was SO obsessed with reading a few new manga series I got. Life easily makes it seem like you don’t have enough time to post. BUT it’s also good to do what you want in your free time, you shouldn’t feel the need to force yourself to do something during your “fun time”.

  3. Reltair says:

    Welcome back! Yeah, it’s easy to stop posting once you keep putting it off. =/

    • Guy says:

      Ducky: I want to post, I want to write, I want to talk to you guys too.

      But yeah, once you postpone once, it’s so easy to just keep postponing… because people stop expecting at some point, and you just fill your plate with something else. There’s always something else.

  4. Yi says:

    Good point on anime being a medium and a genre. That’s very true.

    • Guy says:

      Actually, this is not obvious, and might get you in some serious “wars” online. Are books a medium or a genre? It seems obvious that they are a medium, since it can contain many genres and is agnostic to them.

      I am not sure how agnostic mediums actually are. Think to the times before we had DVDs, when we watched most movies on the screen, without the ability to pause, or even skip to the end. Now imagine the difference this makes for suspense thrillers, mysteries.

      Ok, so we have some relation, some interaction between genres and medium. I think we can all accept that.

      So what is anime? Or rather, what is “Animated film/TV”? It can’t be a medium, because it already belongs to TV and/or film, unless it has some features that it shares across both “mediums” and doesn’t take those unique to TV/film that it doesn’t wish to.

      And of course, it’s not really a simple genre, because it can house comedies, romance, drama, etc., though it is often taken to be more light-hearted than features using flesh and blood actors, but that’s hardly a necessity.

      I think it is indeed somewhere between both. It has some genre tropes, and it is also a medium that can contain a multitude of genres, each with its own nature and unique tropes (dating sim style, comedies, etc.). However, I do feel like there are more and more “tropes” that enter anime, a gradual change into being a genre and not a medium. This is accompanied by the movement into slightly more cliched features, who follow some meta-script, some pattern (as if we were using PowerPoint).

      I hope anime remains vibrant, but it almost feels like some great things were done in animation lately, and in the great boom that followed a lot of the ideas were used too early, too quickly. I had a small discussion with Ewen on what “anime needs to survive” recently. Maybe we’ll do something about it.

      Vitality, to remember that genre tropes are nice, but they cannot be all. It almost feel like what I pointed in the entry about comedies and “inside humour”, it’s almost like they feel the pandering to the “insider” who is “part of us” will be enough. It’s not; certainly not if you want fresh blood. If you don’t, you’ll just remain with aging geeks (such as I), who cling to the knowledge only they have, cause the kiddies weren’t even born then ;)

  5. Ewen says:

    Your microfiction made me think of Mortal Engines (which I really need to finish reading one of these days) and the talk of machine-gods gives it a bit of a steampunk vibe, but I’m not sure what genre to call it.

    I do think you’re spot on about anime being kind of a genre. People do seem to use the word “genre” in a very narrow sense when it suits them (it crops up an awful lot in discussions of anime and RPGs, and doesn’t really add much). OTOH to the extent that it is a genre, it presents a danger of anime creators excessively pigeonholing themselves.

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