Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sneering at Sci-Fi?

Why do critics sneer at sci-fi? asks Sam Jordison today on the Guardian blog. And it's a question I know resonates with some of my blog readers too.

Sam points out that the Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy merit scarcely a mention on the literary pages. Or, as he pointed out in an earlier post, science fiction is often recognised by the literary community ... but it often gets tagged with a different label, including works by Kurt Vonnegut, Angela Carter, JG Ballard and Thomas Pynchon. (I could add of course Margaret Atwood and Doris Lessing.) .

Sam's been doing his own bit to redress the balance, and today takes a look at a 1953 Hugo winner, Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man.

And to show I ain't no booksnob either, here's a link to the 2007 Hugo shortlist. The winner was Rainbows End by Vernon Verge.

8 comments:

Ted Mahsun said...

For those interested (and too cheap to buy it), Rainbows End (no apostrophe) is freely available to read here. Vernor Vinge made it free-to-read late last year. Pretty nice of him!

bibliobibuli said...

apostrophe duly removed, ted. adn thanks for the link. isn't that so amazingly generous!

Anonymous said...

Ishiguro's _Never Let Me Go_ -- couldn't that possibly count as sci-fi, too, in addition to the examples/authors you cite?

-- Preeta

vovin said...

I love you ms. Atwood!!

huhuhu...

I bet outside sci-fi and fantasy circle, not many even heard of Song of Ice and Fire (which hailed as one of the genius works in fantasy).

Who cares right?

I think Tolstoy will never been heard, idolize by mass audience if he write sci-Fi or fantasy.

Or maybe i'm wrong. :P

Huhuhuhu...

bibliobibuli said...

preeta - yeah, why not? or that other more literary label, speculative fiction.

vovin - tolstoy writing sci-fi is a nicely surreal thought! i love atwood too ...

Greenbottle said...

sci fi can be very interesting especially if the write is slightly nutty.

try 'tetrasomy two' by oscar rossiter. google this book and writer . it's a strange book by one strange fellow.

or if you don't mind you can go to my old blog entry of april 14, 2005 here where i pasted a couple of reviews ...


http://booked1.blogspot.com/2005/04/tetrasomy-two.html

sky said...

Will read the article in a moment, but being in this realm myself, I think it traced to an earlier time when scifi was pulp and the community has admitted that there's a subgenre called the "gimmick story" which existed early on, in which the story revolves around a certain scientific principle and everything else are mere accessories.

Flying rockets and alien invasions I think didn't please the snobbish literati.

But there are really, really good scifi. The genre has even evolved into speculative fiction which spawned several debates in the community.

Sharon, I've moved! The reason being I can't log in to blogger anymore.

Anonymous said...

That's not generous, that's free publicity. If you can't make a book pay, you might as well get some free publicity out of it :)