>>7662374 If you can make an interesting argument for the worth of a piece of fiction, go for it. just be aware that for the vast majority of genre fiction, it will be an uphill climb, not only because academia in general will be working against you (though this is starting to thaw out), but the work itself will be absolutely insipid in large percentages.
In order to quicken the process, I'll just assume you're looking for good genre fiction.
SF - Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others - Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men & Starmaker - Peter Watts' Blindsight - Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, A Perfect Vacuum, Imaginary Magnitudes, and His Master's Voice - Egan's Permutation City - Mitsuse's 10 billion Days & 100 Billion Nights - Gene Wolfe stuff (people compare him to Joyce, but his style is more like SF Nabokov)
Fantasy - The Gormenghast Trilogy - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - The books of James Branch Cabell - The Books of Dostoyevsky (Yes, this is crime fiction)
Crime Fiction - The Name of the Rose - Borges' Short Story Death & The Compass - Actually just search for the Po-Mo Detective Fiction lists - Edogawa Rampo's Horror Stories - GK Chesterton's Stories
If you want a good argument for genre and excitement as Lit, go source out Borges' review of The Invention of Morel by Casares.
>>7662899 Basically, but it was more like Borges stopped at the level of Cantor's Infinity in Maths, and his most horrifying conceptions were stuff like the Infinite Library with no intrinsic meaning. Lem's fiction goes into Quantum Physics, Information Theory, and Evolutionary Biology. Lem is even crazier because Lem writes Hard Science Fiction Lovecraft. His books are some of the most pessimistic visions you'll ever see in SF, and they give a real scientific foundational backing to believe in Schopenhauer's philosophy.
Lem criticized a lot of the American SF community, comparing their writers to the much greater Olaf Stapledon. (in an essay which also references Borges)
"From a formal point of view, then, Stapledon's panhistoricism seems to approach Borges's ahistoricism, although the principle of connecting the oppositions that form the substrate of humanity appears very differently with the two writers. With Borges, the unity of opposites always situates itself on the combinatorial axis localized within culture, and his heretic and saint, his beast-man and poet, his traitor and hero fuse into a harmonious unity only in God's inexplicable glance. For Borges, God and culture are the whole of existence; within that existence, we can perform any operations we wish, but we can never leave it. For gorges, the whole of existence is a secret, in the mythic sense. We can comment on it from the outside through parables, but we will never comprehend it, and every discursive method alienates us from it. For Stapledon, the sciences are the messengers of truth—albeit only a fragmentary and approximate truth. His narrator is situated above culture, a position that would be inconceivable for Borges's narrator. Further, there's a great difference in tone. Borges's principle is ironic-aesthetic, and hence ludic, combinatorics; Stapledon's is pathetic-romantic, and hence more assertive. Borges is the master artist of precise miniatures. He crafts his sentences artfully, he chisels their meanings, etching recursive levels and cunning depths into them. Stapledon, who uses a shovel to heave his paints onto his gigantic canvas, has nothing like Borges's sovereign mastery over his lexical material. His ardent monumentalism is occasionally amateurish and even borders on melodramatic kitsch. Yet we can recognize these two authors' kinship on a level that commercial SF never attains. It is a foolish misunderstanding for contemporary criticism to admire Borges and to know nothing of Stapledon."
>>7662930 It seems like he's criticizing Borges on grounds that Borges was never concerned with in the first place. While sci-fi tends to consider itself looking ahead with visions of the future, Borges himself just seemed more or less content with the "casual mysteries" as it were, not really asserting any huge projection of humanities future, just examining and prodding playfully at things and concepts that are around us now.
>>7662943 Thus the statement "He is one of the great men, but at the same time he is an epigone."
Borges, of course, is happy with his massive library of classics.
Lem doesn't do a 'normal' critique in the sense of dealing with an author's themes and writing style etc... He even attacked Solaris by Tarkovsky for changing his SF plot into mystical drivel.
Lem is a Scientific Pessimist, and one of the most underlooked cultural commentators out there, given how relevant the stuff he came up with has to do with Superintelligence, Information, and Cybernetics. Thus the essay on Stapledon outlines his moral stance:
"The passengers of a mailcoach, and even the coachman, may allow themselves to doze off now and then; the civilizational equivalent of this is utopian reverie with no empirical status. But race-car drivers may not lapse into reveries, and it does not matter whether they are sweet or horrible; they must be alert for each curve in the road scantily lit by the headlights. In the same way, a civilization like ours may not content itself with fantastic visions, no matter whether they are rose-tinted or black as soot. Good prognoses are a matter of life and death. The total rigidification of a dynamic system like humanity as it develops over several billion years is inconceivable. We have not seen a single process with that degree of stability in the whole observable universe, if we are speaking of truly complex processes. Earthly civilization as a whole has never achieved uniform stasis; and this is probably why the idea haunts us that it would be the peak, the state of equilibrium, of the dynamic process of perfection, which, once reached, will sustain itself automatically. But all new data that cause the restructuring of systems can disturb the previous equilibrium. The information-content of science is like the liquid that fills a syringe, and the introduction of civilization into life (i.e., the instrumental utilization of acquired theoretical knowledge) is like the injection itself; obviously, not every injection is absolutely beneficial, let alone a gift, merely because it is new. The histories of science and technology teach us that only the most direct consequences of the "injection of the new" can be foreseen in general terms. The later, and more far-reaching, consequences are unpredictable. At least they have been in the past. "
>>7662950 Its like before, there's hardly a comparison between them as their aims were so different. So I'm not really seeing how Borges was btfo by Lem, or what Lem even thinks Borges was supposed to be doing instead.
>He even attacked Solaris by Tarkovsky for changing his SF plot into mystical drivel. Lol it seems he was more pissed about all the movies being turned into petty dramas instead of remaining faithful to the original vision.
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