Apr 20, 2023·edited Apr 20, 2023Liked by Adam Sternbergh

Yes, I've always believed that genre's real power is it captures the intensity of how strange and intense the world can *feel*, rather than attempting to necessarily capture how it *is.* But certainly this is a question with many answers.

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I think that's really well said.

I feel like genre also adds an escapist element that helps capture the imagination. I could read a realist novel about regrets and probably get something meaningful out of it. But add a time-travel element and suddenly I'm more excited about the story, even though it's asking the same questions about wanting to change the past. Maybe that's the funhouse mirror effect you describe: sure, we all have these feelings, but what if we could actually do X, Y or Z?

Personally, the escapism element is often important. I get enough real life...well, in my real life. In a genre story, I can see things I haven't seen before. And exercise parts of my imagination that wouldn't otherwise be engaged.

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