Counterpoint: You will never have a "full understanding" of anything, much less something as broad, amorphous, and multifaceted as a genre.

Prioritizing what aspects of what parts of the genre you will seek to understand is also your finite coin to spend however you like.
Also, classics are classics for several reasons, only one of which is, sometimes, "This is pretty good."

A far more prevalent reason that classics are classics is generations of dingdongs going, "You gotta to read this. You just gotta."

And several of the reasons are racism.
You know what I've noticed? Romance Twitter is never, as a whole, going "You can't claim to understand romance if you don't read The Canon. You have to go back to the roots to understand what we're doing here today."

They just ask you to read what they're doing today. Or not!
And maybe that's just setting the bar low because asking people to read A Single Modern Romance before elaborately sharing their opinions about "bodice-rippers" and whatnot is received as though they had asked for the sun and the moon and the sky.
Anyway, if you look past the cultural biases and assume a level playing field, then the main factors that make a work "a classic in the field", for any field, are going to be happenstance and inertia.
I mean, I guess maybe the work in question had to be some minimum level of Good Enough to be in a position to be noticed at the right time by the right people and then have both work and reputation survive till today for us to call it a classic.
But there was never a moment when somebody lined up all the works of an age and weighed them objectively on their merits, determining "These are the best. These are the ones we're sending to the next seventeen generations of English-language school children."
There were a lot of little moments where some people, people who were definitely possessed of cultural biases, lined up some of the works that were in front of them at the moment and judged them on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to (subjective) quality.
And all of those moments plus a ton of random chance, coincidence, and still more cultural biases add up to what works survive today with a surviving reputation to make them "classics".
I'm not trying to minimize the racism, sexism, classism, or other biases inherent in the idea of The Western Canon, in any genre of literature. Those things exist and they matter.

But separate from and in addition to them? It's a crapshoot. It's mostly happenstance and inertia.
Hardest of hard disagrees. It might be wise for someone who wishes to write military sci-fi in a specifically post-Heinlein mode to read Heinlein, but it's a richer literary world if there are no "every writer has read this one" foundational texts.
Like, if you want to write something in conscious conversation with Heinlein, then read Heinlein. That's as basic as if you are going to position your book as a rebuttal to modern romance, read some modern romance first.

(And yet...)
And if you're writing something that's *not* in conscious conversation with Heinlein but involves themes that will make people who have read Heinlein read it in conversation with him... I mean, maybe that will affect how they read it? But that's neither inherently good nor bad.

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More from @AlexandraErin

Feb 21
Along the lines of the sentiment in this tweet: one thing about the Critical Role cartoon is it illustrates how much more interesting magic tends to be in the stories that inspired or were inspired by D&D than in actual D&D.
Like, a lot of the magic use in Legend of Vox Machina has a direct line of inspiration from spells that exist in the D&D rules, and a general trope of being able to exhaust one's magic if overused correlates in a vague way with the game's expendable spell slots.
But the magic does not behave like D&D magic, even D&D magic with an inventive player and generously flexible DM. Because D&D's magic obeys rules designed with specific gameplay purposes in mind, and LoVM's magic obeys rules designed with storytelling purposes in mind.
Read 11 tweets
Feb 20
A thing about "D&D is mainly good for combat, you can tell because of what it has rules for" is that if you released an indie game that had all the non-combat parts of D&D it would be more rules-heavy than a lot of non-combat indie games are.
Anyway, D&D rules aren't 90% combat. They're 90% character options. The PHB is about 300 pages and about 30 of those pages deal with rules for gameplay. The rest are "Here is a thing your character might do/be."
And by and large, the reason I'm into D&D and the reason I like to get new people into D&D is that I vibe with "Here are a bunch of modular, prefab character options you can snap together like interlocking plastic building blocks" more than more abstract character creation stuff.
Read 31 tweets
Feb 18
Literally eating berries and cream like a little lad for breakfast today.
We're paring down frozen stuff from the freezer for a much-needed defrost and there were some ancient frozen mixed berries in there.

I started making panna cotta as my new pandemic skill and I had planned on topping some with jam for a Valentine's dessert...
...but panna cotta isn't terribly firm and the likely difficulty of spreading jam across the top of the custard without just wrecking it had me thinking about other alternatives, and I remembered we had frozen berries from Whenever in the deep freeze.
Read 8 tweets
Feb 13
The Ted Talk in the second episode of Inventing Anna is such a perfect parody of a Ted Talk because it sounds exactly like a real Ted Talk. In this tweet, I will
My version of "don't watch dinosaur movies with paleontologists" is "don't watch movies with scenes taking place in Omaha malls or cultural attractions".

I don't know where those zoo exteriors were shot for the Berkshire Hathaway party scene, but I know where it wasn't shot.
As a general rule, I think big-city people who watch a movie and go, "Shyeah, they expect us to believe she took the chartreuse line at KT-tirst street and somehow got off across town at the Spromg Street station in time to catch the zeppelin? As if." are insufferable.
Read 4 tweets
Feb 12
A thing about NFTs is that whenever someone says they can be used to purchase something (event tickets, digital music, in-game assets) in a form that allows the purchaser to re-sell them... the reason you can't do those things already is a policy choice, not a technical limit.
Any company that is willing to use NFTs to sell you things that you own in a way that is transferable could have done so without NFTs.

What NFTs actually add on a technical level isn't the ability to be sold, but the ability to be stolen.
Whatever digital good the NFT represents is still stored in a central location. Access to the digital good is still mediated by a single central authority. But their willingness to equate ownership with a cryptographic token that exists outside their control makes it stealable.
Read 10 tweets
Feb 12
If you want special treatment from people who do customer service type work, the real trick is to be polite in a way that doesn't take up their time or energy.
Not asking for much and being a good customer > telling people you're not asking for much and insisting that you're a good customer.
If you do ask for something and they don't/can't do it, the best move is to make it clear that the query is over so that they aren't on the defensive for the rest of the interaction. "Cool, just checking." or whatever fits tonally, then move to the next thing.
Read 5 tweets

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