first thing you learn is that you always have to wait

There was an interesting article on the NY Times website here.

The premises are:

  1. Great American literary-type (male) novelists are taking longer to write novels (and the novels are mostly getting longer, too).
  2. This is one cause of the increasing cultural irrelevance of the literary-type novel.
  3. America genre-type writers are producing more novels.
  4. Barbara Cartland and Isaac Asimov are somehow comparable (and, for some reason. "regrettable").
  5. Women don't write novels, or, if they do, those novels are not really worth discussing.


I have a few comments (leaving aside the most obvious problems).

James Patterson is cited as writing a lot of novels a year (up to nine!). Sorry, not even in the running. Walter B. Gibson wrote the Shadow pulp novels. Twenty-four a year. For years. All by himself, using a typewriter. Patterson is lazy.

Americans do admire big books. I wrote about that here.

Interestingly, something similar is true of movies as well. Woody Allen is considered a freak these days for making a movie every year (he's even mentioned in this article), but John Ford used to make three movies every year (and some of them were among the best movies ever made), and his pace was not unusual in those days. The movies have not been getting correspondingly longer, but there are commercial pressure there (and I think the average American movie is longer than in 1940, for example, but I don't have statistics).

[edited slightly for clarity]

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