was trying to persuade a mate to read hyperion as he wouldn't stop going on about keats, problem is he won't touch anything associated with the sci-fi/fantasy section.
I trotted out atwood's argument without thinking and then realised that it didn't make much sense, did a bit of research later and seems like she was terrified of her work appearing in the "wrong" part of the bookshop.
>>7680339 sci-fi vs. fantasy? One would suppose an aesthetic touch. One deals with tech, the other magic, both with something distinctly unreal. Although many books that are far future sci-fi take on a fantasy aesthetic. Speculative? In most cases a specific type of sci-fi; 1984, William Gibson, etc.
People won't read sci-fi because it's bracketed off from "real literature" and deemed a lower art form. But why isn't Infinite Jest considered a sci-fi book? It is very clearly a near future dystopia, speculative fiction, but is never referred to as such. Are magical realist books like One Hundred Years of Solitude fantasy? What about Borges or even Kafka? Why not? You could claim that these works are aiming at more than mere adventure or speculation and seek to make some statement about the human condition, but so do a lot of sci fi books.
The closest I could come to a definitive answer here is that maybe these distinctions have more to do with marketing than content. Or just the ease of swift categorization? Umberto Eco said on being referred to as a postmodernist that a label is always a punishment, not an endearment. Once placed within a genre or school, you're associated with the ideas and aesthetics of others who you not only might disagree with, but whom you might have nothing in common with. Once labeled your ideas are no longer taken as they come, but blended with all this other shit.
Atwood in particular probably did not want to be typecast into a genre that the critical establishment has difficulty taking seriously. Philip K. Dick, I think, had the same problem. I don't blame her. It's hard enough to get taken seriously and have people put real effort into looking at your work.
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