Discussion → A genre by any other name? (or, Is there a post-SF?)

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    Rob Hartzell
    Sep 10, 06:03am

    A while back, I was reading an article about science in fiction, and its relationship to traditional SF -- Richard Powers and J.G. Ballard, let's say, compared to Cory Doctrow and Neal Stephenson. Unfortunately, I can't find the link to it, or I'd pass it along. In a nutshell, though, the article worked to blur the difference between the two.

    I find myself personally interested in the subject, because my own work, of late, has been a conscious effort to blur those lines -- to take the "what-if" speculations or Macguffin chases that tend to define "genre" fiction, and (re?)-invest them with psychological realism -- to take those tropes and refocus them on the twists and turns of the human heart.

    My own self-interest aside: I'm wondering if there's room for -- or a use for -- a demarcation of the place where literary and science fiction intersect. I'm thinking of books like J.G. Ballard's "Crash," or William Vollmann's "You Bright and Risen Angels", or Richard Powers' "Gold Bug Variations", or Neal Stephenson's "Anathem". While it seems all-too-trendy to apply the prefix "post-" to a genre to mark some kind of generational break (and to a point, genre names have more to do with marketing than with art) it does strike me that "post-SF" wouldn't be unfair as a description of any of the above-named books....

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