Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

About Genre

A bunch of books arrived today, a lot of the big new releases from Murakami, Ondaatje, Eugenides and Millet.

There was also the new Atwood, a collection of essays entitled In Other Worlds, wherein she explores her history with science fiction and offers a bit on the various drama that existed when she claimed her latest books were not science fiction.

Here's a quote from the introduction:

In a public discussion with Ursula Le Guin in the fall of 2010, however, I found that what she means by "science fiction" is speculative fiction about things that really could happen, whereas things that really could not happen she classifies under "fantasy." Thus, for her--as for me--dragons would belong in fantasy, as would, I suppose, the film Star Wars and most of the TV series Star Trek. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein might squeeze into Le Guin's "science fiction" because its author had grounds for believing that electricity actually might be able to reanimate dead flesh. And The War of the Worlds? Since people thought at the time that intelligent beings might live on Mars, and since space travel was believed to be possible in the imaginable future, this book might have to be filed under Le Guin's "science fiction." Or parts of it might. In short, what Le Guin means by "science fiction" is what I mean by "speculative fiction," and what she means by "fantasy" would include some of what I mean by "science fiction." So that clears it all up, more or less. When it comes to genres, the borders are increasingly undefended, and things slip back and forth across them with insouciance.

It made me laugh to read this, really, but in a nice way. It made me think of every half baked bad argument for genre and its borders and lack of respect and oh my, everything from being mainstream to being ghetto, only this time, held forth by Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood.

Haven't read much of the book and it may get pushed back by the huge, baby crushing 1Q84 by Murakami, but still, looks cool.

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