Newsweek’s online culture wag, Malcolm Jones, opined that the Library of America must be “running out of writers” because of its inclusion of “fringe” author H P Lovecraft. And Mr. well-read says of Shirley Jackson: “And then, in May, here comes an entire volume dedicated to …. Shirley Jackson? A writer mostly famous for one short story, “The Lottery.” Is LOA about to jump the shark?” Oh, those dirty genre writers! When will they learn?
As I’m wont to do, I spent most of the weekend stewing about the article, planning on penning a rant with a capital ant. Happily, author and editor Nick Mamatas already penned a very fine response. You should read the entire response.
Here’s a teaser:
“Jackson? Jones all but admits that he’s not well read when he writes: “Shirley Jackson? A writer mostly famous for one short story, ‘The Lottery.'” And he’s supposed to be the online Newsweek hipster? Anyway, Jackson is certainly just as famous for The Haunting of Hill House (a National Book Award nominee, among other things) and is also an important writer of “domestic” short stories as well as fantastical ones. Her work was widely published—she was in The New Yorker, Harper’s, genre magazines such as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and many women’s magazines, as well as in the occasional literary journal. She clearly and obviously pre-figures both Joyce Carol Oates (who is editing the LoA volume, and who edited a Lovecraft volume for another publisher) and Stephen King. One can throw in Erma Bombeck too, if one wishes to be perverse. There is today a Shirley Jackson Award, critical studies of Jackson, critical bibliographies, etc.”
Plus, Nick gives you a video of the Fonz jumping a shark. If that’s not proper use of the internet 101, I don’ t know what is.