Readersforum's Blog

May 23, 2013

Is this the end of fiction’s genre wars?

beukesHas the question of genre in fiction become ‘a flimsy irrelevence’ or will the mores of the book trade maintain the distinctions?

By Stuart Kelly

This week, the chair of this year’s Man Booker prize, Robert Macfarlane, published an introduction to a new edition of M John Harrison’s Climbers. In it, he says “let me try to express a little of the amazement I feel when standing in front of the work of Harrison, who is best known as one of the restless fathers of modern SF but who is to my mind among the most brilliant novelists writing today, and with regard to whom the question of genre is a flimsy irrelevance”. Are we witnessing the end of the genre wars? Macfarlane has written introductions as enthusiastically to the (genre) work of John Christopher and the (literary) work Edward Thomas and Charles Dickens. Before starting on this year’s submissions for the Man Booker (I am also a judge), I was among those who selected the Granta Best of Young British Novelists, a list which featured a number of genre-inflected writers (Steven Hall, Naomi Alderman, Joanna Kavenna, Ned Beauman, Xiaolu Guo, Helen Oyeyemi, Jenni Fagan and Sarah Hall). Is genre, as Macfarlane says “a flimsy irrelevance”?

Well, not to publishers and booksellers, who seem the section of the literary world most wedded to genre distinctions: you’ll still find China Miéville and Lauren Beukes in fantasy, Ken MacLeod and Iain M Banks in sci-fi, Sophie Hannah and Ruth Rendell in crime, Brian Evenson and Kathe Koja in horror.

Click here to read the rest of this story

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: