A letter from Shuster Publishing is in my mailbox. My heart races, I can hardly breathe. I tear open the envelope anticipating an acceptance letter for my sci-fi story. I see the form letter, and my heart almost stops. “We only publish literary fiction. Please don’t submit again. Thank you. Signed, 1st reader.”
My story didn’t even get past the mailroom boy. To me it’s a mystery why highbrows deem literary mainstream superior to any genre. It’s something that intellectuals simply say, “We’ll know it when we see it.”
I address a letter to the editor and say, “Your reply to my manuscript – that I believe to be an excellent piece of work –, is rude and very crude. I want you to know that to me, literary fiction is meaningless drivel, just printed matter. Why, I just look to the past and see books that were banned and disparaged that are now considered some of the best ever written. I’d rather read brochures or flyers with artistically crafted graphics helping me to envision a holiday, a car, a girl, or maybe one of a million schemes to encourage me to buy a product.
“Today, some writing that’s considered pornographic should be recognized as having artistic value by readers like you, who claim to recognize intellectual value in common words. I know literary fiction focuses on style, psychological depth, and character, but so does erotica and pornography.
“Academics contend that formerly cheap novels are now literary works. Did you ever stop to think that the reason for this change may be because readers like you can no longer comprehend the difference between literature and common prose?”
The Endfree short stories