Its all about the YA
Updated: Jun 11
My wife and I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Impressionism in the Age of Industry exhibit last weekend. It was not disappointing. Colour, movement and life burst from the canvas wherever you looked. There is so much beauty in the juxtaposition of sky, earth and man’s works. Not exactly romantic but not a condemnation of it either.
These men and women were pioneers in how they painted and what they portrayed. Did you know that they were castigated because of their choice of subject? The only acceptable ones in the classical tradition at the time were biblical or classical mythology stories, portraits (usually of the rich and powerful) or landscapes. Themes like a woman washing her hair on the edge of a bathtub or a train crossing a bridge or workers in the fields, were considered at least uncouth and at most, abomination. How times have changed in the art world, and not for the better. I must note however, how we were part of an immense crowd in the gallery, looking for and at the same things. That is reassuring somehow.
I have been getting some positive feedback about the novels and short stories from young adults. My Amazon guru suggested we tag it 16+. I was reticent but then I thought, what the hell. So, we did it. After some reflection it became clear that the books are not offensive enough to be considered solely adult fare, especially when you think about what is included in the most popular fantasy franchise since Lord of The Rings, The Game of Thrones books and HBO series. I mean, no one in my books screws his/her sibling, tortures for the sheer joy of it, poisons their son in law or murders their lover and then father. In my novels there are complex personal interactions, many violent scenes and I think disturbing overtones in the depiction of the antagonist and his followers, but not enough apparently. I wasn’t trying to write for young people, but hey, what do I know?
I saw an article this week about some Chinese scientists genetically engineering monkeys to be smarter than their peers. It reminded me of the Chung Kuo novels by David Wingrove. In those books, set a hundred and fifty years in the future, China dominates the world and they do it using the technology of surveillance and genetic engineering. How about using genetically engineered ten feet tall semi humans to put down anti government riots? Chilling and plausible when you see how they are using high tech to control their own population today. We must be on our guard for the private version. For example, I won’t be surprised if Google or Facebook blocks this email on some servers because of some of the words in it. And that is frightening.
On that cheery note,
Have a great week!