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David Soyka
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - 09:02 am:   

While I don't share Dave Truesdale's animosity to Paraspherism, he poses some interesting arguments. In a better world, we could all agree that such and such type of fiction isn't my cup of tea, and leave it at that. But the mainstreamers pooh-pooh SF/F as pulp crap, and the SF/Fers bitch about genre restrictions, and some group or another tries to break out by proclaiming a manifesto. It is, utlimately, though, about marketing, isn't it. The Parasphere/New Wavers/Slipstreamers/Whatevers figure a different kind of label gets a broader audience. And academics and fans can endlessly debate whether it's legitimate or not.

I don't really get upset if someone is trying to write SF/F but not lay claim to it. I really don't think all the contributors to Paraspheres (which I liked, for the most part, more than Dave, but maybe because I have more eclectic tastes and don't much care whether it's called SF or something else) sit around in Starbucks and talk about starting a revolution and reeling in the big bucks. Only people on the fringes who aren't really doing much more than bullshitting do that (see, for example, Gabe Chouinard). Does it matter whether the audience is 25 or 2500? Do we really evauate "art" in terms of how much it sells?

Tom Disch to the contrary, if the New Wave really was an aesthetic and commercial failure, why is everyone still talking about it?
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Brad R. Torgersen
Posted on Thursday, July 05, 2007 - 04:36 pm:   

I'm always surprised that anyone can poo-poo F&SF with a straight face, when F&SF media, including movies and books and games, dominate so much of the market, year in and year out. Again, the richest woman in the UK is not a "literary" writer who sells to The New Yorker on a regular basis. She's a "pulp fantasist" who writes books that are, technically, YA.

The new "Transformers" movie is undistilled popcorn SF pulp, but does anyone want to bet on how many hundreds of millions of dollars it will pull in before it leaves the theaters?

The popular appetite for accessible F&SF is huge, and only seems to be growing. We can argue all we want that the average F&SF product is "low brow", but dollars do make a difference, in terms of establishing whether or not a certain kind of fiction can be considered legit. How much more money do SF&F books and movies have to make before the lit snobs are forced to concede that F&SF is a valid component of the overall fiction world?

Wait, I forgot, lit snobs hate F&SF precisely because it rakes in so much money. Anything that turns a profit cannot possibly be worth while.

;^)

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