Dec 9, 2009

Your Day in Genre Taxonomy and Premature Elegy

N.K. Jemisin, guest-blogging over at VanderMeer's Ecstatic Days, suggests a binary division within urban fantasy. (My .02, given in short form in the comments, is that both of her suggested subspecies de-emphasize the essential nature of the mode, which is the re-creation of the experience of the urban as something fantastical in nature. I wrote an article about this that will show up in a Cambridge UP book Farah Mendlesohn edited, maybe sometime next year.)

Also, the most recent prediction that SF is dying comes from Mark Charan Newton. Hasn't SF been dying (because of women's predominance in the book-buying marketplace/accelerating technological change/the rise of fantasy/the usurpation of central SF tropes by literary writers/whatever else) for decades now? Like, since the 50s? I remember once having a conversation with a professor of mine at the University of Denver. I mentioned doing some writing about SF and he said, "Huh. Science fiction. Is that still a going thing?" Not in a dismissive way--we talked afterward about some SF that he liked--but in the way of someone convinced that SF had once been interesting and now wasn't any more.

It was ever thus...SF has been dying since the moment it was born. Newton follows up here... some interesting stuff in the comments.
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