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Don’t Be A Literary Snob – Try Reading Science Fiction!

My new Kirkus Reviews Blog article is up, in which I try to dispel some of the myths that trap readers that don’t usually paly in sf/f sandbox.

Jump on over and check out Don’t Be A Literary Snob – Try Reading Science Fiction.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on Don’t Be A Literary Snob – Try Reading Science Fiction!

  1. TheAdlerian // June 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm //

    People who like standard books aren’t going to be interested in SF for a variety of reasons.

    The majority of popular novels are what I call “slice of life novels” about growing up, someone’s experience doing something mundane, mental patients, family issues, and so on. I’ve had a life of adventure that I designed for myself and have working with criminals, mental patients, have met lots of people from different backgrounds, many who were sexually abused, raped, and I’ve struggled in countless ways. I don’t need to read about these subjects because I either lived it, or heard better real life stories about it. Novels are generally written for the bourgeois who have equally choosen to live in isolation and so they are thrilled to experience sensations through Oprah and get suggestions about what book they can read about real life, to be connected. The other side of “literature” is something like Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian that is vacuous and avoids exploring the human experience by turning sinister behavior into something vaguely supernatural while describing rocks in great detail. Compare that to an Iain Banks novel and Cormac looks like he wrote it drunk after a head injury.

    It’s my belief that good science fiction, and sometimes fantasy, explores potential human behavior and situations we’re experiencing now, but presented in a broad, philosophical, and attention getting package. As an example, the 40k Warhammer novels, which I thought were going to be crap, either accidentally or on purpose explore a lot of issues about religion, technology, class, and more and they do so in a very obtuse manner. When I’m done reading a good one, I have to think “What the hell is the subtext of that novel” and all novels have one because a human wrote it. That is too much for the bourgeois because they’re already floating in isolated space and need to be grounded by reading about something happening next door and something very imaginative will break their tether and fling them into the mental void.

    Only certain types of people with certain types of personalities can handle imagination without losing it. You can see that in the difference between mass media SF on TV and movies as compared to the complexity of written SF. It’s pointless to hope that on a mass scale people with simple taste will move to the more complex.

  2. Why is there an image of The Road leading this blog entry?  The Road isn’t science fiction.

  3. THE ROAD qualifies as post-apocalyptic fiction.

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