Sturgeon’s Law and What It Means for Romanceland

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The “straight” science fiction genre (that is, the genre that has no romance and a dearth of deep characters and interesting relationships — as opposed to Science Fiction Romance, which has the best of both worlds), has had its share of critics and outspoken authors with strong opinions.  Theodore Sturgeon was an outstanding SF writer, often ranked in the top five of all time great SF writers.  He was also a vocal critic and reviewer.  Sturgeon is famous for saying “ninety percent of everything is crap”.  He was actually defending SF by saying it.  SF was often derided for its low quality, especially in the golden age, when most other fiction was of the “literary” sort, or flat-out pulp stories that featured scantily clad heroines running away from bad guys with guns while the chisel-chinned heroes saved the day.     Does this dichotomy between “literature” and a genre seen as “lesser quality” sound familiar to you?

Sturgeon announced that “ninety percent of everything is crap”, referring to all other genres.  He meant that SF was no better or worse than everything else out there.  He could well be right — there’s lots of panels at lots of conventions that spend hours debating the truth of his law.

However, the other day I ran into Sturgeon’s Law applied to the romance genre.  I found it, of all places, on TV Tropes, which is a fascinating time sink that will suck you in and not let go, so don’t go there unless you’re on vacation.  🙂

TV Tropes said this about Sturgeon’s Law:

The absolute volume of romance novels produced including both category and single title today, and considering past efforts, means that most readers can go years without reading something they consider belonging to the bottom 90%. This bottom 90% does contribute to society’s opinion on the genre, however.

I thought this was an amazing place to find some all-out support for the romance genre, when the whole site likes to poke fun at genre conventions of all sorts.

What do you think?  Agree?  Not?  Tell me in Comments!

Cheers,

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