Sunday, May 5, 2019

Genre leakage

Dear Staff,

As you know our library has always striven to maintain genre integrity to the best of our ability. This has not always been 100 percent effective. Not only has classic literature erupted into whole genres on their own (See Pride and Prejudice/Romance), leaving books unwholesomely on either side of the genre line, but successful genre literature regularly backwashes out of genre into literature (See 1984, Gone With the Wind, Nicholas Sparks, Handmaid's Tale, etc.). Nevertheless the barriers of genre have largely held steady.

Until now.

We have sprung a major leak from Science Fiction/Fantasy into the Romance genre. So far this leak is mainly one way, with the seepage running out of Science Fiction/Fantasy into Romance. While we are fortunate that there isn't a rash of "love among the aliens" running rampant, the problem the other way has nevertheless become severe. The Romance Genre, once reliably filled with women in 19th Century dresses, Viscounts, and weightlifting Highlanders with poorly fastened shirts, has now been completely overrun by werewolves, badass vampire hunters, half-pixies, and even, recently, a few space travelers!

How do you think a strapping Highlander who is a Duke is supposed to feel about all that?

Our initial suspicion is that with the Science Fiction/Fantasy backing onto the Romance in our order of shelving for so long, the barriers between the sections have worn thin in places and sprung leaks. Some of this is surely a matter of natural wear, but it is not helped by over-vigorous shelving. That is why we are asking everyone to take more gentle care in shelving. We understand that doing so may slow down the rate of shelving a little bit. But we feel hopeful that this sacrifice will be worth it if it can stem the tide of Starship Captains into our Romance Novels.

But we will not merely be relying upon more delicate shelving to correct this serious problem. This week we will, as an emergency measure, be moving the Mystery Genre in between the Romance and Science Fiction/Fantasy genres. While we feel that this will increase the number of prospective lovers solving crimes together, and will induce more murder mysteries on alien planets, it will give our major breach time to self repair, helping the genres to even out and settle into place.

Whatever happens we want to assure you that we will not let the genres blur into one giant glop of crossbred fiction wherein werewolf cowboy space captains fall madly in love with girls next door who are solving complicated murders in a way that reflects upon the current state of the culture and the history of the novel. If we have to separate all these different fiction structures into their own air sealed rooms we will, but as it stands now these are the first steps we'll be taking.

Good luck to everyone on this project and thank you for all you do!

The Library Director


  1. This put me in mind of a re-shelving project where I worked that resulted in History being face to ace across the aisle with Romance. I thought someone--not me--could be a nice "love in the stacks" story about some guy looking for the history of World War II, say, and finding himself bumping back to back with a woman looking for a historical romance.


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