Thursday, August 16, 2007

On "Grittiness"

I've been thinking about the post that I put up last night. Gritty novels, especially science fiction novels, seem to be in vogue at present. Overall, I have no objection to grittiness. I used to own the complete "Dirty Harry" boxed set and I'm an overall Clint Eastwood fan (I guess I'm showing my age here). However, I don't read a lot of hard SF because it seems to me that the writing is often hard as well. Hard as in gritty.
I think I don't really enjoy gritty writing, but I do find it compelling. I didn't particularly enjoy reading The Hidden Worlds, but I did find it hard to put down. It compelled me. So did the first two chapters that I wrote about last night. Perhaps I read them too soon after The Hidden Worlds and I just was not in the mood for another gritty novel.
However, I got to thinking about some of the hard SF novels that I've read that were not gritty. Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark was an immediate standout. As are most of Arthur C. Clark's novels. (For a long time, Clark was the ONLY speculative fiction author that I would read.) I don't suppose you can call Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon science fiction, but it seemed SF-like to me, and I didn't find it gritty. 
I really don't know of many others. Do you know of any that you would recommend?


SQT said...

I guess it depends on what you consider "gritty." I tend to put things in different categories, such as "lighter" and "darker" fiction.

Most of the "chick lit" stuff falls into the lighter category. MaryJanice Davidson-- for sure, Carrie Vaughn, some Charlaine Harris, Sherrilyn Kenyon-- etc.

Darker books to me are one's that have heavier themes and are much more gritty. Stephen Erickson seems gritty to me. George R. R. Martin and Terry Goodkind can be on the dark side too.

I personally can lean more to the dark stuff but it can get wearing. I'm trying some new authors nowadays, David Anthony Durham (Acacia), Joe Abercrombie (The Blade Itself), Stephen Lynch (The Lies of Locke Lamora) and I'm looking forward to seeing how they are. Also, if you haven't checked out Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind) you should; it's fabulous.

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for stopping by! I know what you mean about the dark stuff getting wearing; that's why I'm looking for something lighter to read these days.

I'm really looking forward to reading The Blade Itself; I'm reading about it everywhere. And I've also heard good things about The Name of the Wind. Thanks for all the recommendations!

Anonymous said...

Hard sci-fi is kinda the type of fiction that lends itself to grittiness easily. I haven't read that much of the newer stuff, but of the older novelists Asimov and Hoyle brothers didn't write gritty books, though definately hard sci-fi.

Anyways, you have very interesting blog, ordered Acacia and Blade Itself right away after reading about them here.

Tia Nevitt said...

I'm thrilled to hear that! Thank you!