Science Fiction Robot Lady

I’m supposed to start editing the first draft of my new YA novel today, therefore I’m writing this unnecessary post in reaction to an article in the Guardian’s Culture section this past week. Freelance columnist Sarah Ditum askswhy are authors still sniffy about sci-fi?

The catalyst for the piece seems to be Ian McEwan’s refusal to accept that his new novel, Machines Like Me, is science fiction. It’s an alternate history story with androids (ie: it’s science fiction). Ditum politely calls McEwan’s arrogance “a whiff of genre snobbery”.

I haven’t read a lot of science fiction, at least not of the “spaceships and laser beams” variety. It is only recently that I decided to start reading more science-fictiony science fiction, because I’ve come to view it as an extremely flexible and boundless platform in which to tell a story.

When it came to classifying some of my stories, I was hesitant to label them science fiction, but not because I felt “above” the term. Quite the opposite. I was afraid I wouldn’t live up to it, that it would be misleading. Maybe the spaceships and laser beam crowd would shoot me down.

So far, I haven’t had any complaints. People know how to read blurbs and descriptions. They can tell the difference between climate change and an alien invasion.

“There could be an opening of a mental space for novelists to explore this future,” McEwan said in a recent interview, “not in terms of travelling at 10 times the speed of light in anti-gravity boots, but in actually looking at the human dilemmas.” 

Funny, I thought that’s precisely what a lot science fiction did. Ian McEwan wants to use the genre while denying and disparaging it at the same time. He’s like one of those religious conservatives staunchly preaching anti-gay rhetoric during the day, while at night he’s sitting in a toilet stall, covertly tapping toes on the men’s room floor.

Ditum points out that masterful wordsmith Margaret Atwood has softened her position on her work being classified as science fiction. Considering Frankenstein turned 200 last year, and Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451  are required reading in classrooms throughout the world, it’s about time.

Maybe it’s even time to view science fiction as a respectable literary genre.

Base image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My new novella The Humid is free for three days on Amazon starting today!

Jack just wants to raise his children in a safe environment, while being able to afford to give them a comfortable life. With the promise of low crime, safe streets, and a hefty pay increase, he accepts a job in Tokyo and they leave Chicago behind. 

He’s read about the uncomfortable summers in the sprawling city, but they’re no strangers to the heat. Lake Michigan dishes out its fair share of humidity.

Shortly after their arrival, the first day of summer is a record-breaker, and the temperature continues to climb. When the power grid collapses, Jack’s family is trapped in the sweltering foreign metropolis, and escape seems all but impossible.

(WARNING: this story contains strong language and graphic situations that may not be suitable for all readers.)

And if you enjoy it, please leave a rating and review. And if you really like it, why not leave a review on Goodreads as well?

Conversely, if you don’t enjoy it, or even hate it, please feel free to shoot me a message and let me know why.

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Friday, April 19, 2019, 12:00 AM PDT Sunday, April 21, 2019, 11:59 PM PDT