Monday, September 21, 2009

Here's an article all booklovers should read

Via Bibliobibuli (that wonderful source of all things literary).

A Guardian article from Alison Flood with some comments by Kim Stanley Robsinson, who will be the Guest of Honour at Aussicon4 in Melbourne next year (the SF Worldcon); here's some extracts to whet that appetite...

The winner of Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards and author of the bestselling Mars trilogy, Robinson attacked the Booker for rewarding "what usually turn out to be historical novels"...
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He believes this year's prize should go to Adam Roberts's science fiction comedy, Yellow Blue Tibia, which didn't even make the longlist. In 2005, when John Banville took the Booker for The Sea, he believes that Geoff Ryman's Air should have won; in 2004 – when Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty won – it should have gone to Gwyneth Jones's Life, and in 1997, the year of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, Signs of Life by M John Harrison should have triumphed...
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Authors including Ken MacLeod, Stephen Baxter, Ian McDonald and Justina Robson are writing "the best British literature of our time," he said, listing over 30 names.

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According to Mullan (a Booker judge) there was "essentially no" science fiction submitted for this year's Booker prize, apart from Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood, set in a dystopian future, which failed to make the longlist. "We as judges depend a great deal on what publishers submit," he said.

And here's some more from Mullan:

... professor of English at University College London, said that he "was not aware of science fiction," arguing that science fiction has become a "self-enclosed world".

"When I was 18 it was a genre as accepted as other genres," he said, but now "it is in a special room in book shops, bought by a special kind of person who has special weird things they go to and meet each other."

.

3 comments:

Tsana said...

Bwah? "Not aware of science fiction"? That sounds to me more of a product of said English professor being stuck in his own little word of stuffy literature than an inditement of science fiction. Where does he think Hollywood is getting it's SF movie fodder?

*sigh*

There's no helping some people, especially not literary types when it comes to genre fiction.

Hendo said...

Heh, no one tell Margaret Atwood that she's been writing science fiction novel, I think she'd off herself ;-)

Granted, there are some weird and wonderful sci-fi fans out there, but not all its readers dress up as Klingons at conventions.

I suspect the reason for sci-fi's absence, apart from the snobbery that Tsana mentioned, is the much talked about identity crisis. It seems to be driving a lot of established sci-fi authors away to other genres.

Imagine me said...

It sounds to me as if this gentleman doesn't actually visit standard bookshops if he thinks that spec fiction novels are shut away somewhere, not to mention how insulting it is for science fiction readers to be described as 'weird'. I am affronted.