From the Archives: Interview with Brandon Getz, author of “White People”
JP: I wanted to ask how you would classify this story. This didn’t feel like genre, but it can’t really be classified as straight literary fiction. It felt like genre that was totally dismissive of the fact that it was genre fiction. Or is this just an irrelevant question?
BG: First off, I don’t want to be dismissive of genre fiction. I think genre fiction versus literary fiction gets a bad rap. People in literary circles kind of turn their noses up at it, as though it’s all sword and sorcery and rayguns and monsters and it doesn’t have any artistry. A lot of what I write is what Michael Chabon would call writing along the borderlands. It’s this stuff that overlaps. And it wasn’t uncommon for literary heroes of yore. I mean, Edgar Allen Poe – he basically invented science fiction, horror and the detective story. And he’s taught in our high school English classes. Dickens and Henry James wrote ghost stories. It was only in the Raymond Carver celebratory era that this attitude exists. And I love Raymond Carver too, but I think there’s been this idea going about that those tropes of horror or science fiction or fantasy are a separate thing. I don’t think that’s the case. I think you need to write a good story. And all those traditions have good and bad writers, and all those traditions have tropes that you can play with and use to create really cool and interesting stories..