Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Contemporary Actually Existing SF

This started as a facebook post:
I'm trying to sort through actually existing SF. There is vast amounts of fantasy, much of it generic. There is military SF. New Weird. New Space Opera. Slipstream. Feminist SF. Lots of vampires and zombies, way too many of both, though I suppose they represent late stage capitalism... Romantic SF and fantasy. Noir fantasy.
Other people added Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Heroic or Epic fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Hard SF.

And I added another comment:
What I'm calling Romantic SF slips between romance and fantasy. Noir fantasy slips between fantasy and noir detective fiction, I think. I wonder if the best way to think of all this is as a braided river, streams running side by side, then joining, then dividing. I forgot alternative history, which slips between historical fiction and SF or fantasy. Classic slipstream (of course) slips between SF and literary fiction, whatever that may be. I wonder if the New Wave led to slipstream. It doesn't seem likely. New Wave was edgy and closer to Pop Art than to literary fiction.
The writers of the 40s and 50s, the people I grew up reading, shifted among many kinds of SF. But I don't remember having the sense of separate streams...


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