Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Genre and Gender

I like old books.

I'm actually a bit of a nerd for them. I don't just like to read old books, I like to hold them, feel them and smell them.

One of my Christmas presents this year was a 1943 reprint of Zane Grey's 'The Rainbow Trail', printed on that awesomely weird wartime paper. The original copyright date on this book was 1915.

Zane Grey was perhaps one of the best writers of westerns, but 'The Rainbow Trail' is called, on its frontispiece, a romance.

Now, I'm not a big fan of modern romances but I enjoyed this one - despite the fact that it's unrealistic in ways I can't go into here in case anyone else hasn't read it. What struck me, though, is that this was a romance that was not written exclusively for women. Or by a woman.

The modern feeling is that romances are by women for women. It's nice to have a reminder that that does not have to be the case...and that genre can actually change over time. (Particularly nice for female writers of science fiction...although writers of thrillers still often have to use male names...)

Maybe we can change things so that we can have works in all genres written for either gender, both, or everything in between.