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October 7th, 2009

More on the politics of genre

After reading Why Science Fiction Authors Just Can't Win over at SFFMedia, and then following up with an article about William Gibson, I can't say I care about this argument as much as I used to. Here's the score card as I see it:

Margaret Atwood writes science fiction but gets really mean if someone suggests she does.

William Gibson wrote science fiction but thinks its 'historical' and stopped writing in it.

Kurt Vonnegut said "sure, call it science fiction" and the Literati shunned him.

Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley wrote science fiction that wasn't labeled science fiction and the Literati respect them.

It all reminds me of my sixth-grade year. For me, sixth grade was still elementary school. Middle school was just 7th and 8th graders. One day, near the end of the school year, at recess, one of my classmates got on the ground and looked at my shoes.

"You're not wearing Vans(tm). You won't have any friends in middle school."

I think the "who's a worthy author and who's a silly space-squid writer" game is a lot like that. There's too much value on the label, and not on the thing itself.


I've been working on future-noir, trying to absorb as many of the classics as I can, and reading anything I find in science fiction that hints at the "future of noir" or the future of the hardboiled dick. I find the original material is much better with character and plot, so I'm drawing from that more than the stuff I've found from more recent decades that are solidly "sci-fi."

I hope to write detective stories that are fundamentally science fiction. I want crime readers to enjoy it despite it being set two or three hundred years in the future, and I want the science fiction readers to enjoy it because it's our future I'm exploring. I am months from finishing the first book, and book two is looking like it will be my NaNoWriMo project this year, so I'm not looking at marketing yet.

I wonder if I market it outside of the science fiction genre if I'm abandoning my roots, though.

A Conservative Bible? Please. No. Not that.

 In a rare two-post day, I'm going to reminisce about a biblical confrontation I once had in response to Conservapedia's attempt to write a "conservative Bible."  

When I was working in cube-farm-hell, one of my co-workers--who was one of his churches leaders--pointed out a quote from the New Testament that said homosexuals were cursed. I refused to believe him, having read most of the Bible and spending all of my life with it. He showed it to me. There it was: Homosexuals are evil.

I went to my on-line Bible resources and pulled the same verse from the NRSV and the KJV and there it was: Sexual Deviants were evil.

My response? "I guess the pedophiles prefer your version. They don't get punished."

His response? "I'm not trusting that web site any more."

It was a small victory. Too bad I can't find the original verse, or the version of the Bible he was reading.

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