For our introductions to the first issue of New Genre, I and co-founder Jeff Paris decided we wouldn’t write about the issue itself. Our readers would be astute enough to suss out New Genre’s aesthetic without being told, we believed, and our readers wouldn't be satisfied with the default “behind-the-scenes” editorial. Instead, we tried to articulate our ideas about the genre New Genre publishes. Reading the essays now, I hear a significant difference in our approach, even though our essays shared like goals.
My essay is reactive and defensive. I try, for instance, to answer the question, Why read horror? or, rather, What kind of person reads horror? My answer is reasonable,
Why read horror fiction when there is so much real horror in this world? The question answers itself: it is practical to read about what exists around—and in—us. To know your world is to better prepare yourself to live in it. To understand your fear increases your ability to deal with it. Why not then read horror fiction—which addresses real concerns—even if only in metaphor?
but it’s not my answer.
Jeff’s essay makes a similar argument, that it is practical to read science fiction, but his answer is personal.
…I couldn’t turn off my imagination or my craving for the amazement and wonder fantasy depicted. I focused these urges on a world devoid of the supernatural and found what always surrounds us—an abundance of mysteries and strangeness and… a surplus of beauty. Far from putting wonder aside as a convention of childhood, it graduated to something stronger and healthier. It has never left me. And science fiction is its champion.
Science fiction presented wonder I could believe in. Everything here was possible, if only wildly so. The maps these authors lay before me were of the future and the cosmos, both places I could someday actually explore.
Though our arguments often overlapped—no doubt a by-product of the ever-ongoing conversation Jeff and I had about what New Genre would be—he explains his love for science fiction. I do not write about my love for horror fiction, or if I even do love horror fiction. Yet, what better defense? Not simply, I love it, but I love it and this is why. Reading his essay, It's apparent that Jeff was a person nurtured by what he read.