The idea of genre is a helpful and annoying one: people like to identify where things fit, particularly on bookshelves, but they don’t want to be constrained by it. As we’ve seen over the course of this column, science fiction’s character has vastly changed in the centuries of its existence, transforming and splitting into its own little factions over time.
Science Fiction history tends to focus on the transition between Golden Age SF and New Wave SF, but it doesn’t really seem to examine how truly complicated the situation was moving into the 1980s and 1990s, where science fiction became an even broader definition than ever before, encompassing new works that were different than what came before.
Particularly, one gets the impression that the New Wave gave way to Cyberpunk and that was it: the truth is more complicated. While it left a large impression, older forms were undergoing their own transformations at the same time. One notable author to look at this with is Lois McMaster Bujold.