The London Times essay linked below is another knot in a recent string of reactions to (non SF) lit crits dissing science or speculative fiction genres and people leaping (some like crickets) to the defense of genre. This one’s well written, but for heaven’s sake…

…why should we continue to scrap with stringy goblins, evil queens of industry, or scene-stealing Hutts who insist on debasing the merits of story based on genre (unless we’re talking about the business of genre)? It’s a lot of shagging the flagpole (problematic in winter months). So my snotty reply: there’s only one genre of fiction, called story. I constantly find great stories in libraries or bookstores and online that resonate a little or a lot, and often in surprising (O Damn That’s Right!) ways. I subcat this genre with my own internal tags–fiction being the genre that is everything to anyone, as personal to the reader as the publisher’s thong-strapped fleshy bottom line is to stockholders. Recent tags:

  • This was important to me (I think I’ll hug it)
  • This generated a rash of ideas that creams and ointments can’t banish
  • This I couldn’t put down but also couldn’t bear to think of it ending (resulting in a psychosis of parallel worlds I’ve lived in since childhood)
  • This one seemed like a good idea at the time
  • This one I can’t describe in a blip, but boy oh boyo, you really outta
  • This I just couldn’t finish, but I’ll probably lie to the friend who recommended it
  • This one will still be there when I’m ready for it
  • This one was written by someone who is very very very smart
  • Hey, this person writes like me! It could be me! Why couldn’t it be me? Son of a gun. Son of a bitch.

If you want to pump up a genre, I think the world needs more more sonnet-writing tarts with pocket protectors and thick lenses. Of course, I’m just speculating….

(This is all easy to say. Writers need to be genre conscious because that’s how writing is marketed. And people can poo poo SF all they wish–it’s still on the shelves–in many booksellers, on many many shelves, and on those shelves you’ll find at least a smattering of incredible fiction that qualifies for that genre-free “story” genre.)