On Pizza. And Quality.

January 29, 2011

When I say, “PIZZA!” do you think of something like this?

Or something like this?

They’re both pizza, right? What’s the difference?

Well, one was made really quickly and cheaply with low-quality ingredients. It will be consumed, enjoyed for the moment, and then forgotten. The other took time and effort to make. It uses fresh, high-quality ingredients, will be eaten slowly, and enjoyed fully.

There is pizza. And then there’s pizza.

Similarly with fiction. There is the science fiction that looks like this:

And the science fiction that looks like this:

Flying through the star-gate in 2001: A Space Odyssey

And what about romance?

Quality doesn’t necessarily depend on category. Pizza can be a greasy, late-night snack, or an elegant meal that forces you to linger over the impeccable blend of cheese, tomato, and dough. Likewise, genre fiction can be pulp, or it can be something marvellous.

And look at the “ingredients.” This is cheese:

This is also cheese:

Here’s a dragon:

Smaug from "The Hobbit"

Here’s another:

Skill matters. Heart matters. Quality matters. They matter so much, it’s not really fair to dismiss an entire genre (or type of food) off-hand because it’s not always stellar.

And the funny thing is that even pulp has its place. Sometimes, you really just want the delivery pizza. You know it’s not that great for you and that it’s not the best food you’ll ever eat, but dammit, sometimes you need something that’s not good for you. Something predictable, something you know will satisfy for the moment, because you’re only looking for a moment’s worth of satisfaction right now.

Is the teenage employee tossing sad-looking slices into an industrial oven the same as a chef assembling ingredients right then and there, before s/he places it in a wood-fired oven?

Of course not.

Will their pizzas be the same?


Does each have its place when you’re thinking about pizza?


And now I’m famished. I guess an extended metaphor about food will do that to you.




  1. The best thing about pizza? Even when it’s not great, it’s still g~o~o~d! Mmm . . .

    And that cheese tray looks yummy!

    Also LOVED the StarGate graphic. Explosive!

    Thanks, Arvik

  2. I was completely on board with you…about quality writing vs. Cheap quick writing…and now, like you, I am just hungry.

    • I know what I’m having for dinner tonight! 😉

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