October 19th, 2007

Egyptian hieroglyphics

Who owns spec fic?

It's a sad fact that a lot of people don't particularly respect speculative fiction as a genre. Some science fiction writers are convinced if they can get people to stop calling it "sci-fi" they'll somehow gain respect, but I consider that wishful thinking. If people don't respect fiction that is overtly speculative (i.e., a story that isn't set in "the real world") then calling it SF or gazorenplant or mainstream won't change change those folks' minds.

Apparently, some spec fic writers have a new approach—don't change people's minds, change the genre. They're calling this "mundane SF" and the idea is that their stories don't have faster than light travel or starships or life on other planets, or anything not plausible based on WHAT WE KNOW TODAY. This is supposed to make non-speculative fiction types take the story seriously and respect it. I learned about this "movement" while reading Nancy Kress' blog. Apparently, it's caused some stir in the science fictional community. I found the GoH speech that Geoff Ryman made that set everyone off and read it. I think the guy's missing the point. If you want the respect of the mainstream, then feel free to write what mainstream wants. But don't try to change genre so it's not genre anymore. And don't put it down.

I speculate, therefore I am genre!