Currently reading a critique of SF as a genre, from the New Cultural Idiom series. It’s quite interesting; the first chapter is an attempt at a definition of SF, and a survey of others’ definitions. I’m in the chapter on the history of the genre at the moment, and looking forward to the chapters on race, gender, and technology. It reminds me again that as a female I am quite an unusual reader of SF. It also talks about a lot of SF I’ve never heard of, let alone read, which is exciting if a little daunting – there’s quite a bit here I would like to try and find. I really appreciate a book like this that takes SF – perhaps the epitome, in some minds, of popular or pulp fiction – and treats it as a serious subject, worthy of analysis, and not just in terms of what it ‘lacks’. I got sick of this during a subject at uni called Popular Fiction, which often felt like a comparison between ‘literature’, which has ‘blah’, and ‘popular fiction’, which has not. It is always salutory to remember that Shakespeare was written for mass consumption, and the theatre was looked upon as a rather vulgar form of entertainment.
Anyway. Enough rant. SF is a valid form of fiction and says some fascinating things about the society that produces it. And it’s fun to read.