Archive for the In Sickness Category

The Bias Against Horror Is Alive and Well

Posted in Books, In Sickness with tags on Sunday, February, 6, 2011 by llsoares

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this, but it’s been bugging me.

There’s a certain book reviewer for the Boston Globe who I’ve always enjoyed. She writes a very entertaining column and often will bring up a book I haven’t heard of, but which sounds pretty good. Let’s say that I read her column regularly, so I guess that makes me a fan.

When my book IN SICKNESS came out, I sent her an email and asked if my publisher could send her a copy to review. However, I made the stupid mistake of saying it was “a collection of horror stories.” Stupid me. Her answer was quick and to the point – “I don’t review horror.” Suddenly, this woman who seemed so well-read and eclectic in her tastes dropped several notches in my estimation of her. I could have argued that several of the stories might also be considered “dark fiction” (a euphamism I should have used instead to describe it), but I didn’t bother. Her comment pissed me off just enough so that I didn’t feel the need to defend myself, or try to sell her on reading the book.

She gave me the name of the person at the Globe who was in charge of assigning books to reviewers, which was nice of her, and I promptly had my publisher send that person a copy. It’s been several months now, and nobody has bothered to review it. And I’m pretty certain at this point it has nothing to do with a backlog of books to review, but simply that the Boston Globe shares that original reviewer’s bias. I hardly ever see them review anything that might be construed as “horror,” unless it might be the new Stephen King novel, or a book by Joyce Carol Oates (a “literary” writer who doesn’t seem to share their bias against horror, since she writes a lot of it).

So, clearly, I’m not respectable enough to be reviewed in the Boston Globe.And it’s all because of the specific genre I decided to embrace. Certainly, the Globe and papers of its ilk are not opposed to all genres. Mystery books regularly get reviewed; there’s even a bi-monthly column on Sundays called “On Crime” that is devoted completely to mystery and crime fiction.The Globe also has book columns devoted to Children’s Books, Graphic Novels and even “Pop Lit.”

I guess I just fucked up by writing in a genre that’s looked down upon and dismissed with regularity by the mainstream press. It’s not just the Boston Globe, but it really pisses me off that I finally had a book out, and my “local paper” couldn’t even see fit to acknowledge it. Thank you, Boston Globe. For nothing.