So, y’all remember that…

So, y'all remember that a while back I was trying to put together a booklist of genre-crossing authors? I was mostly listing mainstream authors who also, at times, wrote spec fic novels. I'm coming back to that list now, trying to turn it into an annotated something that might be useful and interesting to readers looking for something new to read; I'm thinking I'll post it on the SLF site. So with that in mind, I have a question:

Should I also list authors like LeGuin who primarily publish in-genre but occasionally publish in mainstream venues like The New Yorker? Authors who have something of a mainstream rep? Or will that just cloud the issue, and make the list less useful as a reading guide for spec fic readers?

2 thoughts on “So, y’all remember that…”

  1. If the primary purpose of the list is to serve as a reading list for speculative fiction readers, to guide them to stuff normally classified outside the genre that they might enjoy, then I’d omit the primarily in-genre writers. I mean, I doubt many SF readers need to be told that LeGuin is worth checking out.

    Of course, you would have to make some judgement calls. I personally consider, say, Graham Joyce, John Crowley, and Jonathan Carroll to be solidly “in-genre”, but I think that might come as news to many of their readers (and possibly to their publishers).

    If, on the other hand, you’d like the list to serve as a reading guide for people on both sides of the genre/mainstream divide, or to provide some kind of “big picture” look at fiction that combines both literary merit and speculative elements, I’d be more inclusive.

    Another option would be to segment the list into categories: “Mainstream works of interest to SF Readers”, “SF works on interest to Mainstream readers”, “Neither Fish Nor Fowl”, and so on…This, of course, gives you the maximum number of hairsplitting decisions to make.

  2. I think you should keep authors such as LeGuin.

    My reasoning is, if there are a few names that many people will recognize (whether a SpecLit reader or whether a mainstream fiction reader) on the list, it will help reassure the reader of the list that the other names are likely also people they might want to check out.

    i.e. a reaction of “oh, I didn’t know that LeGuin wrote stuff outside of the genre, I like her genre stuff, perhaps I’ll like her other writing as well, and if I like that, perhaps I should check out…”

    I suspect as well that many people might not know about all of the writings of many of the authors on your list, or about a change in that author’s target audience.

    For example – I would guess that Michael Moorcock now might fit on your list – his more recent writings get talked about very, very differently than say his Elric series. (Mother London etc )


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *