The podcast RiteGud recently did an episode called “A Guide to Squeecore” that’s been causing quite a bit of buzz in SF/F circles. It touches on a number of topics and makes some good points about the uglier aspects of the contemporary genre establishment: behind the pride flags and celebrations of diversity, it is authors wealthy enough to afford expensive writing workshops who make valuable connections, while real outsiders remain on the outside. At the same time, a climate of complacency has led to such incidents as last month’s Hugo Awards being sponsored by Raytheon.
But the main focus of the podcast is the assertion that this cliquishness has led to a single aesthetic dominating modern SF/F, which the speakers Raquel S. Benedict and J.R. Bolt dub “squeecore”. They decide against naming any specific works that fit this aesthetic until some brief comments at the very end, however, which muddies their efforts to define squeecore.
I have nothing substantial to add to the podcast’s observations about backroom politics, so this post will concentrate on the question of the squeecore aesthetic. I’d also like to stress that none of the observations in this post should necessarily be taken as criticisms or objections: while the podcast is heavily critical of squeecore (even the chosen label is derisory) if the aesthetic exists, there’s room for it to be discussed in neutral terms.