Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

No Love

I found this pretty funny:

"According to Jett Heer in Lingua Franca magazine (June 2001), literary theorist Fredric Jameson called Dick "the Shakespeare of science fiction". Unfortunately though, Dick never returned the favour, with revelations that he wrote letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation denouncing many of his academic supporters. Dick claimed that Jameson and other literary theorists were agents of a KGB conspiracy to take over American science fiction. Presumably though, Dick wasn’t in a clear and level headed mental state at the time."

It comes from a longer piece on why science fiction writers don't get any respect, an issue that is not of huge concern to me. The conversation arises mostly out of Margaret Atwood's claims that her novels aren't science fiction, which one were probably made for PR issues, though you can also argue that she has a point, since her particular style of writing in Oryx and Crake isn't in vogue in the SF field. Likely, if the novel had been published as a pure SF book, it would have been mostly ignored by the respect giving folk there. Assuming, of course, someone other than Atwood had written it.

At any rate, I'm not particularly sure why there is a burning desire to grab respect from literary establishments around the world, especially if you don't respect who they are to begin with. All awards are influenced by the background and interests of their judges, and it strikes me as a strange thing to get bent out of shape about people who you don't know not digging what you do (and if, like in SF awards, you actually have a look at who some of these people are, you might think that there's no reason to give them any respect at all). And, far as I'm concerned, the truth is you can do anything you want when no one is paying attention to you. Michael Moorcock's Behold the Man has a mentally retarded Jesus, has been in print for years, doesn't once fall on a list to be banned, and is constantly taught by me. Quite often my students don't read books, but they have a little bit of curiousity when I say, 'It's got a retarded Jesus and it's only two hundred pages long.'

It's all in how you present it, I guess.


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