After reading this article over at io9 this morning, http://io9.com/iain-m-banks-explains-he-wasnt-writing-science-fictio-509125322 about how Iain Banks, who writes both literary novels and Science Fiction genre ones, doesn’t just write the Sci Fi for money and how this is a bit shocking for people, it has me thinking once again about how Science Fiction is still viewed as a pulp product to be snubbily looked down upon.
It doesn’t seem to matter that great and intelligent writers have come out of this genre such as Arthur C. Clarke, H. G. Wells, Carl Sagan, Philip K. Dick, and Stephen King, the genre is still treated with barely disguised disdain and is considered slightly unsavory in literary circles as if those who write it and read it are akin to adult film stars in their moral turpitude. And the disdain doesn’t just exist in literary circles, but in cinema as well. Science Fiction films, no matter how worthy of Academy recognition, hit a glass ceiling when it comes to Academy Awards. They often win for things like Best Cinematography, Best Costumes or Makeup, but rarely are even nominated for Best Film, Best Director, or any of the Best Actor categories.
One wonders why the hate? Is it because it is fiction that is not about real life? This is fiction we are talking about, not non-fiction. Science Fiction and other forms of Speculative Fiction (including Horror, Fantasy, Weird, and other non-realistic genres) are the ultimate in fiction. Most of it is made up, so it’s extremely creative. Although Sci Fi usually has to be heavily based in a Scientific reality to be truly good. You would think that fiction that is uber fiction would be the most prized and considered the most worthy of praise. Instead it is treated like the geek child that smells bad and picks his nose and sometimes wets himself when he gets threatened. I don’t get it.
Comment to let us know why you think this happens. I know I would love to be illuminated on the subject.
- Iain M. Banks explains he wasn’t writing science fiction for the money (io9.com)
- Science Fiction! (.. or something like it) (behance.net)
- Differing Subgenres of Science Fiction Books (bookseller16.wordpress.com)
- Iain Banks defends his science fiction novels in update to fans (telegraph.co.uk)