by Faizal Nor Izham
Science fiction as a literary genre has long been ignored by both the academic and literary world as one that can be taken seriously. However, attitudes towards the genre are slowly changing. It is gradually being accepted and taught by many universities today, with literary modules dedicated to it emerging. It can also be potentially seen as a welcome break by those who are weaned off interpreting the likes of Chaucer or Shakespeare.
Stereotypically, science fiction would traditionally be thought of as a ‘childish’ genre featuring spaceships, Martians, laser guns, and time-travel. In fact, prior to the space race of the 1960s, stories published during the 1920s and ‘30s were often relegated to pulp magazines ordinarily consumed by teenagers and often bore the same kind of literary reputation that comic books had during the same era. For the same reasons, the genre was also not financially lucrative. Numbers of books sold by publishers were limited and writers were often forced to churn out several books per year just to make ends meet. It was also the type of profession many would be reluctant to admit to on social occasions.Continue Reading
by Mike Carey
Continued from part one, published on The Norwich Radical two weeks ago.
I hate to rake up ancient history, but here’s another example from a little further back – dredged up because in this case it is a writer of literary novels (Edward Docx, in the Observer in 2010) who’s saying this, so the agenda is maybe a little more naked.
Even good genre… is by definition a constrained form of writing. There are conventions and these limit the material. That’s the way writing works and lots of people who don’t write novels don’t seem to get this: if you need a detective, if you need your hero to shoot the badass CIA chief, if you need faux-feminist shopping jokes, then great; but the correlative of these decisions is a curtailment in other areas. If you are following conventions, then a significant percentage of the thinking and imagining has been taken out of the exercise. Lots of decisions are already made.
Considering that Docx rails against “a fundamental dishonesty” in the way this subject is usually discussed, I’m going to pick my words with care.