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Boundary Disputes

Over at the Futurismic blog, Blasphemous Geometries has an essay exploring the arbitrariness of defining a work as “science fiction” (and also of defining an SF work as belonging to a particular subgenre). His argument is that we shouldn’t try to do either: If somebody points to something and calls it science fiction, then by gum it’s science fiction.

In other words, Roberts and the Clarke Award do not give us a definition of SF. Instead, they simply point at works that interest them and say “this is SF”, inviting us to consider these works not as an attempt to encapsulate and define a genre, but rather as interesting ways of thinking about a genre whose limits are ultimately arbitrary.

I’m not entirely thrilled with the idea. We already have trouble with “fantasy” encroaching on SF in bookstores; anything that blurs the distinction any further means having to wade through more elves to get to the rivets.

What do you think? Is it impossible to have even fuzzy guidelines about what qualifies as science fiction?

Link (via SF Signal)

Posted in Books & Authors June 27th, 2008 by Chip
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