My old man wondered if Young adult (YA) fiction was crap. Theodore Sturgeon would come to mind, whom I first heard during a lecture last winter. He defended the science-fiction genre after learning about the general consensus (of the genre). The New Yorker was one of the fine authors in science fiction, and he was aware of the sci-fi films (during the 1950s). Most of it have a running time of 75 minutes or less. The story revolved around a bellicose alien with plans of conquering Earth. If not the aliens, then huge animals causing havoc in the big city. There was a trend, which would be far from artistic sophistication. Sturgeon was a critic, yet he saw the appeal in this kind of story.
Sturgeon's Law originated from it, which would mean 90% of anything was crap. And my father would think the same thing about YA fiction. I wouldn't think of him as a snob, as he grew up listening to tales about Middle-earth, Narnia, and Neverland. As a matter of fact, YA was nonexistent during his time. (He's a baby boomer.) It prompted me to think when the term was first used. I asked my tutor about it, who was rather surprised about it. He asked me what I thought of "Swiss Family Robinson." I didn't know that it could be classified under YA fiction, but he pointed out there was no need to recognize the younger readers (during that time). The years following the Great War made many aware of young lives who were killed during a battle. He surmised that this would be the beginning of the growing awareness of the younger populace and their interests. He attended a literary festival a few years ago, where he met some novelists. No one could give a precise definition of Young Adult fiction.
And then Harry Potter came along
I wouldn't be surprised if the instant popularity of the Harry Potter series defined YA fiction. Many sneered at such works, which was expected. But I didn't meet such kind in the English Department. The classics would be references, but it wouldn't be right if my reading list revolves around the renowned writers in Victorian literature. Reading must be entertaining. It should be another form of armchair traveling as well. And I don't want to be reminded of my mundane existence. It wouldn't mean that midweek boozing couldn't be memorable, but we wanted to end up like Robert Louis Stevenson. The Internet could save up some money, but nothing would beat the real thing. This would be the real trait of an aspiring author.
As for the latest works of YA fiction, I recently discovered an interesting series. Tony Abbott thought about a time machine, which was invented by Ptolemy. Nicolaus Copernicus would discover and use it. If not for this remarkable device, then the Polish astronomer wouldn't found out that the Sun was the center of the universe. A dangerous sect from Prussia, who have diabolical plans about ruling the world, wanted to get their hands on the machine. It was up to a motley group of teenagers to stop them. It seemed like a tall order, but nothing would be impossible in YA fiction. I searched high and low for "The Forbidden Stone", the first book in the series, but without success. It made me restless and anxious, which my coursemate noticed during a rainy Thursday. He happened to have the complete set. I imagined it was a bright morning.