Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Applied fiction?

A random musing from the West Coast....
A recent discussion at work today concerning "pure physics" vs "applied physics" set me to thinking about parallels in the world of fiction writing (and publishing)...
There's a tendency, according to my work colleague, for those on the "pure physics" side of things to look down upon those from the "applied side" of the house. Ah yes... this rang faint bells, from my years ago at Cal. I remember how the theoretical types would sniff disdainfully at the applied types.
So...What is applied physics?
From Wikipedia:
"Applied physics: a general term for physics which is intended for a particular technological or practical use."
Note the word practical.
Turning from the world of science to that of fiction....
What would be the parallels of "pure" and "applied"? How about "literary" and "genre"? More and more these days I see literary fiction titles structured to read "Blah Blah Blah: A Novel". The "A Novel" tag seems to be pointing out that is no mere work of fiction ... but literary or "pure" fiction.
On the other side of things we have:
Crime fiction. Mysteries. Romances. Suspense. Science Fiction. Fantasy. Westerns. Thrillers. Or....
Plots with a purpose. Or genre fiction. Or practical fiction. Or perhaps Applied Fiction.
... signing out from the West Coast (which was doing a little "rock and roll" last night, geologically speaking).

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