Tag Archives: Spinrad

Norman Spinrad and the victimisation of genre fiction

In between giving some awards to a whole bunch of stuff I’ve never read, the SFWA held some discussion panels over the weekend of the Nebula ceremonies. GalleyCat has a run-down of one that featured science fiction editors and other notables discussing the ‘market problem’. As I wasn’t there (I guess my complimentary tickets got lost in the mail or something), I have no idea how balanced the report is, but taken at face value it suggests that Norman Spinrad has a serious case of victim syndrome on behalf of the genre:

“After some of the other panelists spoke, Nielsen Hayden rexplored the notion that the hardcore SF fan who had long constituted the genre’s target audience was gradually being replaced by a young reader who delves into all sorts of popular culture, only some of which is science fiction and fantasy. Bantam senior editor Anne Groell ran with that ball, talking about her own experience seeing fantasy titles cross over to romance audiences. “There’s a lot of freedom in how you can cross genres today in ways you couldn’t before,” she said, to which Spinrad countered that he believed it was harder for established SF/fantasy writers to make that crossing than writers from other fields who added fantastic elements to their writing. “Science fiction creates a floor,” he insisted, “but it also creates a ceiling.””

So, any thoughts? Is the genre a box? If it is, have genre authors created that box for themselves, or are they being picked upon by the cruel and merciless chain book stores and amalgamated publishers who care only for quick profits?