There’s an interesting article up at The Guardian book blog today that asks: Are we now post sci-fi?
Sci-fi has made many predictions about the future, but did any of them forecast that in the early years of the 21st century everyone would be watching…sci-fi? Our TV screens are filled with Dr Who, Lost and now FlashForward. Each summer brings more blockbusters in the Lord of the Rings and Star Trek vein, and a flood of superhero franchises. In comics and video games, sci-fi is the norm. It’s not just part of mainstream culture, it is arguably the dominant cultural expression of the early 21st century.
The walls that defined speculative fiction as a genre are quickly tumbling down. They are being demolished from within by writers such as China Miéville and Jon Courtney Grimwood, and scaled from the outside by the likes of Michael Chabon and Lev Grossman. And they are being ignored altogether by a growing number of writers with the ambition to create great fiction, and the vision to draw equally on genre and literary tradition to achieve that goal. The post-sci-fi era is an exciting one to be reading in.
It’s the age-old genre-boundary question. So the question is: Does the ‘SciFi’ Label Still Apply?
(And no, I’m not using the definition of “Sci-Fi” meant to be an insult. For the purposes of this post, “Sci-Fi” means science fiction in all its incarnations.)
My 2 cents after the jump:
Does the ‘SciFi’ Label Still Apply? Yes. Genre labels are convenient handles we put on things when we are looking for a certain type of entertainment. That does not change when those lines become blurry, it just adds the number of handles you can put on a particular work. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a wonderful piece of mainstream fiction. It’s also post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi. Each label draws the attention of different types of readers who can find common ground. Why remove one label just because it appeals to the masses?
What’s your 2 pennies?