It was not so well received by one gentleman. To start with, he claimed the show to be campy SciFi. Yes, SciFi. And the problem with SciFi, in his esteem, is that it has all gone to camp. None of it is done well. When pointed out that Xena: Warrior Princess is genre, it certainly isn't SciFi, he expanded his scope. All genre has gone all campy all the time and is not done well.
I was taken aback, to say the least. I mean, surely he must only be talking about TV (though his assertion is wrong even if he was), because there are a large number of phenomenal genre books out there that aren't campy in the slightest (ahem... Malazan Book of the Fallen series....). When I pointed out some brilliant genre shows that were done spectacularly in both film and television (Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Battlestar Galatica, just to name a few), he fired back with "ever superhero movie/show ever" and a couple of other examples including the recent comeback of Ash (Army of Darkness, etc).
Blinking, because though Superhero movies and television does have a fair amount of camp attached to them, and some of them are done quite badly (looking at you X-Men Origins: Wolverine), many of them tackle quite deep issues. Blind prejudice, for one (X-Men), the problem of unmitigated power (Captain America), so on and so forth. You probably don't need me to spoon feed you this stuff.
I blinked some more and asked what was so wrong with camp anyway? Why can't we have fun in genre? What the point if we're not having fun?
Then the truth came out. He's a writer struggling to be seen, just like myself. Only he feels personally slighted that his efforts at serious, meaningful genre have been unnoticed while, and this is almost a direct quote, "hacks write for the semi-literate."
Look, I understand the frustration of multiple rejections. I've been there... am there. I am currently waiting to be there again (though seriously hoping that I won't this time around. Fingers crossed!). They suck. They sting. They're so utterly depressing, particularly when you see poorly written, populist drivel get those coveted publishing contracts. I'm not naming names, but I'm pretty sure everyone can name at least two books they can't believe received a contract.
Only here's the thing, fellow writers. We ourselves are not the best, most objective arbiters of what is good and what is not. We may think we are geniuses, labouring under the weight of the lowest common denominator but are we really? The answer, most of the time, is no. No, we're not. We write stuff we think is great.
However, we may be the only ones who think so. We're all going to have to grapple with that idea. Maybe, just maybe, what we're writing isn't nearly as genius or original as we think it is. Maybe, just maybe, those rejections are coming for an actual reason other than "they only want crap for to appeal to the multitude of idiots."
Perhaps some introspection is required. Perhaps we should stop being so defensive and start looking to improve ourselves and our craft. Doubling down will get us nowhere, and there is always room to improve.
For the record, no one who reads extensively is an idiot, so can we drop that, thank you very much. Even if they enjoy a good campy read, they're still not idiots. How on earth can a writer expect to sell to an audience if they don't respect that audience? Seriously, though. Stop calling readers idiots/"semi-literate"/whatever other slur you feel like spouting. It's so very untrue.
That said, it may be very true that what you've written is a work of genius and no one else (other than your mother) can see it. Here's the thing, though: in this day and age, there are options. If you believe in your work so very much, self-publish. Do the marketing (urgh... I hate marketing). Get yourself out there. If your work is as good as you claim, make the world aware it's there.
Stop railing against camp in genre. The fact that campy genre exists is not a problem. Not in the least. It's not a zero sum game. It is entirely possible, indeed it is the actual case, that there is room for both campy and serious genre. There can be, and is, both.
Furthermore, just because something is campy does not mean that it is without value. Xena: Warrior Princess was pure camp, yes. But it taught an eleven-year-old me that women can be strong, they can be powerful, they can stand up and fight (quite literally) to make the world a better place.
Campy or no, we need more of that.
And now I'm off the learn more Welsh.