Right now, the science fiction genre is a “big tent…” That is, a lot of different stuff goes into the Science fiction section of a book store, and very little of it is actually SCIENCE FICTION.
But, the same thing can be said of a lot of other sections of the bookstore… Romance has a lot of fantasy fiction in it… mystery/suspense has a lot of horror, and/or SF in it. And don’t get me started on the fiction section – Literature with a capital L has plenty of SF/fantasy books in it.
I’m sure it all seems quite ridiculous from a writer’s perspective… Publishers want boxes… want categories, and then once they have a category, they proceeded to expand the category until its not recognizable any more. From a reader perspective, this is a good thing… It provides the safety of going to a section of the bookstore where you know you will find what you are looking for, but also allows you to stumble across something just on the edge of your comfort zone.
I’m not sure how man Philip Roth readers, or Michael Chabon readers would be comfortable looking through the science fiction section for alternate history, but a good number of those readers had no trouble reading the very SF-nal books by those mainstream authors – So sometimes, it is simply about what section of the bookstore it is in.Read More...