The novel I’m currently reading is beautifully written, and should definitely be considered for the Tiptree next year, because the ideas are terrific. But it falls into that odd category of science fiction that is really literary fiction using SF as metaphor, I think.
The societal changes she envisions are mostly happening too fast to quite make sense; the book would be picked apart in any actual SF workshop for that. I think Ishiguro’s _Never Let Me Go_ and Atwood’s _The Handmaid’s Tale_ fall into the same category.
But with these books, you sort of don’t care that the science, even the social science, doesn’t really make sense. They’re not really trying to do realistic science; they’re exploring the consequences of an idea. And they’re written beautifully enough that I, for one, am wiling to forgive them some fudging with the science bits.
“In the summer, the miles of purple heather smell like honey and butterflies dip through the bushes. Now, though, the gorse is dominant. Its silver-green blades edging onto my path, sharp and unforgiving, held firm with inexplicable shapes of wood. I once burned it back, and the branches were fragile as hollow bone, shades of silver and white and such curves and angles to them – I felt I had destroyed something beautiful, and was seeing beauty in the scars. I haven’t burned it back since, though the wood shapes decorate my home. Their twists and turns make, one day, the shadow of a wolf, the next, a beckoning hand. Or a smile. I’ll show you when you arrive.”
– Helen Sedgwick, _The Growing Season_