Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Trout-Mask Replica

Wrong kind of fandom on the tracks.

This week, Nick Briggs stated - while in his small-but-nicely-kept garden on Radio 7 - that Kurt Vonnegut is one of his favourite authors. What? Couldn't anyone, himself included, have mentioned this before? Then I could at least have tried to make a Proper Fiction pitch for Big Finish, rather than grumpily turning my back on the fanboy off-cuts of Gary Russell or BBC Books (all right, until someone asked me in a crisis). My younger self feels stupid and cross. My older self feels like Kilgore Trout, which is stupid and tired, obviously.

All that said, what does this tell us? I'd like to see it as a lesson that contrary to Hollywood lore, you can underestimate your audience, but... maybe it's truer to say that everybody can be more than one audience at once. Mr Nick likes Slaughterhouse 5, yet he's also shown a strong proclivity towards Doctor Who stories that are much like episode three of "Earthshock". (Oh, wait. "Captain Briggs" joke? I trust he's never had that sort of hairstyle. I'll also avoid the Titanic gag.) I'm remembering those '90s Doctor Who readers who liked the novels to be as close as possible to "Terror of the Zygons", but at the same time challenged modern TV for not being challenging. One medium is for the clever, one medium is for the obvious: is that how we think? A bit like those fans of The Matrix who tried to pretend it was intellectual, because even though it was clearly hackneyed, uber-phallic drivel more than thirty years behind popular literature, "movies don't usually do that".

Personally, I like to treat all things as existing on an equal level of combined intelligence and stupidity. Then again, my career as a writer is effectively dead. So it goes.