WFC panel, Sunday morning, 11/5/06, 11:00 am
Fantasy is Fundamental: Young Adult Fantasy in the 21st Century
['PM' is 'parenthetical me', my own glosses on the comments]
Lisa Freitag: What are kids today reading?
Barry Goldblatt (agent, for Holly Black among others): Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Harry Potter, and knock-offs thereof. Kids quickly form tastes in fiction, and reject out of hand anything that strays outside those tastes. The trick in getting a child to read more widely is to give them something close to Harry Potter, but different enough to stretch them a little.
Holly Black: Don't conflate middle-grade fiction and YA fiction: they're vastly different.
BG: Middle-grade fiction is pitched at ages 8-12, young adult at ages > 12. YA in turn can be broken down into young YA (ages 12-13), and older YA, ages 14 and up. One is allowed to do much more with fiction for ages 14+ than in fiction for younger kids.
HB: The Harry Potter books are interesting because they started as middle-grade, and have become older YA. [Question from somewhere: what are Lemony Snicket and Artemis Fowl?] Those are both middle-grade.
[Question asking for examples of recent YA]
Charles de Lint: Ellen Klages' "The Green Glass Sea".
Mark L. Williams: Boy Proof.
BG: Life as We Knew It.
HB: Delia Sherman's Changeling.
[Question: what are the limits of YA?]
HB: Sharyn November says that only two things you can't write in YA: boring, and bestiality. [Entire panel and audience immediately began volunteering examples of bestiality in YA, as did Sharyn November, who was present]
BG: MTV Books are for ages 16-24; this age range fits no known category [PM: seinen/josei], and as a result they're sometimes shelved with YA, sometimes with adult books. MTV Books is currently adding a genre line. [murmurs of interest from the audience]
BG: The concept of YA has broadened since the 1970s. Many adult novels of past years would be considered YA if they were published today. Example: To Kill a Mockingbird. Much early McCaffrey would be considered YA today. This trend seems related to the success of Harry Potter.
HB: Expansion of allowable themes in YA is driven by kids being able to buy their own books, and not having to abide by the tastes of parents and librarians.
[Bookseller in audience]: Boys stop reading at about age 14.
BG: Our entire culture tells boys not to read. Reading is for geeks. The publishing industry still tries to find fiction for boys; sometimes girls are the ones who wind up buying it.
HB: Male readers go from middle-grade fiction straight to adult fiction, and tend to skip upper YA boy books.
BG: The traditional wisdom is that boys won't read a book if it has a female protagonist. This is not exactly true. Boys will read female protags if the female is doing things they consider interesting: having adventures, fighting bad guys, etc. (Think Buffy or Ripley.) If the heroine spends the book obsessing over peer relationships and dating, though, boys won't be interested.
BG: YA book covers are much better than they used to be. This has the advantage of adults being able to read a YA book in public without being embarrassed by the cartoon-ish picture of the girl and the horse on it.
HB: Bookstores shelve YA sff next to mystery next to romance. We aren't teaching kids to ghetto-ize genres.
meaning: flute, whistle
警笛 == keiteki == (noun) horn, alarm, whistle, foghorn
Top radical is 'bamboo' (竹). Bottom radical is 'reason' (由), here used phonetically to express 'clear/pure (sound)'. Early wind instruments were made from stems of bamboo. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'There's a reason for making flute from bamboo.'