is that it is in quite a scary state. A state of artistic paralysis defined by academic buddy systems and political correctness gone mad. Novels are supposed to be STORIES. Yes, that’s right lovely scribes, tales about people doing things. Not thinking about doing things and then describing how they feel about their indecision for three hundred pages. Nope, I’m talking good old fashioned interesting plots played out by characters who are colourful, verbal and interesting. I don’t know about you, but if I wanted to listen to someone bellyache, I don’t need to plunk down twenty five bucks to hear it. Hell no! I can call up at least six people I know and let them puke in my ear for an hour, safe in the knowledge I’ve saved some coinage. Literature has limped along the genre laden path and at the bend in the road it’s turned into one very very very very long sob story. A therapy session written by tedious hacks who have no concept of life in the real world. The pathetic truth is this: the academic puppets of big business publishing, have destroyed this art form by controlling content and the only thing more sacred to a writer than the words themselves: style. Their hubris is galling when they act as judges for certain literary contests, where they determine what is or is not acceptable and frequently it’s the verbose navel gazing that isn’t even slightly acquainted with such tools of the trade as grammar, sentence structure or quotation marks when a character is speaking! We are descending into a pit of illiteracy and no one seems to give a shit because all the little writers are placed in their appropriate genres, never to move lest we upset the pigeon hole brigade. Everyone is getting paid exorbitant amounts of money from large publishing giants by making a farce of the writing profession by confessing they don’t actually write their novels. Apparently, a sound marketing background is the newest requirement for being a novelist. It does assure their sales success, if not artistic integrity. Of course I can only be referring to the book of the month club philistine, James Patterson, who jots down an idea and passes it along to an in house hack to flesh out. In house writers are becoming more and more common. They write what their bosses tell them to, never deviating from the formula that sells. Most of the authors on the shelves are not qualified to write the ingredient list on a pack of toilet paper, let alone write a book. It’s a sorry state of affairs, is it not good scribes? I highly doubt that Steinbeck, Hemingway, Plath, Salinger, Mitchell, Twain, Richler, Leacock, Dickens, Bronte, Eliot, Shelley,Chekhov, Proust, Parker, Orwell, Dahl, Wyndham, Capote etc had to explain their platform and marketing strategy to their publishers to prove the worth of their work. Free speech is dying, one artist at a time and consumer ignorance and corporate greed are the murderers.