The OF Blog: An open challenge

Sunday, May 15, 2011

An open challenge

This challenge goes out to everyone reading this who runs a SF/F/H-oriented blog.  Although I don't comment as much as I should, I do read a few dozen blogs every month or so.  What I've noticed when reading several of these blogs is that the focus not only is very much contained to the above genre(s), but that the terminology employed is that which crops up almost exclusively in such genre(s) - words such as "worldbuilding" or "infodumping."

What I would like to see, just as an experiment I suppose, is for several such bloggers to take just one (although more would be welcome) fiction that cannot be remotely connected to SF/F/H and review it.  Curious to see if the terminology in the reviews would change or stay the same.  Anyone up for this?


Unknown said...

I'll try to give it a shot, I suppose.

I don't know if I use infodump very often. I know I bring up worldbuilding when it's relevant, though. Lately Suvin and Jameson appear in my reviews, which is odd...


Anonymous said...

Sure. I definitely use the hermeneutics of genre. I'll review a non sf/f/h book.

Brian Lindenmuth said...

Over the past couple of years I've started to introduce some terminology that would be normally associated with SF/F in to the crime discussion. The one that I've used the most is "secondary world". I think it applies to some crime stories and I think that in some case some of the most imaginative crime fiction is be written as a secondary world.

I also used the term "sling shot ending" before in conversation and after explaining what it means others have enjoyed it.

Karen Burnham said...

I'm not sure I see what you're getting at. Why not use language that is best suited to the specific field of study you're engaged in?

Professionally I'm both an electrical engineer and a physicist. Since I work on engineering projects, it is much better for me to talk about current (in amps) rather than forces acting on particles (in Newtons). People want to see Ohm's law instead of Maxwell's equations. I *could* convey the same information using physics jargon instead of EE jargon, but that would be inefficient and leave everyone confused. Where's the benefit?

Although towards the goal of the experiment, I guess I can offer my review of "The Man Who Was Thursday" by G. K. Chesterton?

Lsrry said...


It's a case of seeing if one's approach toward reviewing might change if the field being purviewed is different. Some reviewers do tend to fall upon "crutch phrases" to describe books and it would be interesting to see if their reviews might be altered some in order to cover something in an unaccustomed genre.

Tibor Moricz said...

I usually do not review non genre books. But I don't usually use "infodumping" and "worldbuilding" in my SF/F/H reviews, too. Hmm .. Is there a problem with my reviews? 0_o

Nathaniel Katz said...

Though my blog's primarily SFF/H, I already do review a moderate amount of Crime (Campbell, Goodis, Guthrie and Hammett) and, occasionally, a "Literature" title (in the past, I've done Andreyev's Visions and McCarthy's No Country for Old Men).

Just to see, I searched for the words "world building" and "infodump" (though I wouldn't say the latter's a genre term) and came up with six entries for the former and only one for the latter. While both are used a lot, I'd say they're hardly dominant across all genre reviewing. To take a reviewer far better known than me, I did the same thing to Niall Alexander's blog ( and came up with only eight for worldbuilding and one for infodump.

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