The particular gift

It is the particular gift of genre fiction to assume a different background to the mainstream and so delineate character from a different angle. Science fiction carries this change of perspectives to extremes. By changing what counts as figure and what as background, the characters can be seen in ways otherwise impossible – and so, ultimately, we can understand ourselves in ways that would otherwise be impossible. These novels are a gift to the whole of our culture.

From a Graun editorial bit responding to N K Jemisin’s Hugo hat-trick. While I doubt we can say that the culture war has been won, it does at least look like the campaign that has torn the world of genre to shreds over the last decade or so has come to a conclusion: the redoubt has held. As Jemisin said in her acceptance speech, the stars are a little closer for all of us. The genre world, with hindsight, was something of a bellwether for the broader culture conflict that still rages around us; I’m going to cling to the hope that it might be a bellwether for its ending, also.

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