Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Serious Resolution

The latest book club reading was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road—a challenging and unconventional novel to say the least. It had no chapters, little punctuation, and much of the backstory left to intimation and impression, it’s stylistically daring, and fertile for discussion. How does it factor into the survivalist post-apocalypse genre? What is the effect of the spare punctuation? What happened to put the world in its state (for the record, we had three options: nuclear bomb, meteor, and sudden, violent climate change)? It was a robust and lively chat.
            It occurred to me that anyone presuming to write a serious critical essay detailing how The Road didn’t work because it wasn’t punctuated properly and wasn’t divided into chapters would be roundly laughed off any legit publication. And rightly so—high level criticism isn’t about finding fault, and everyone knows it. Things are different for game people, though. Obviously, most could care less to see any sort of in depth analysis of a game, but there are some who yearn for “serious writing” about games, and I’m one of them. I worry, though, because while these peers demand serious criticism, they don’t seem to know what that actually is.