Nick Mamatas (nihilistic_kid) wrote,
Nick Mamatas
nihilistic_kid

When is a science fiction writer not a science fiction writer?

Over at Tor.com, the person who writes their Genre in the Mainstream column—that is, the column which seeks to claim writers such as Brautigan and Millhauser as writers of the fantastic—has this to say about the fiction selections in this week's New Yorker, which is the science fiction issue:

But none of them are actually science fiction or fantasy writers...the lack of inclusion of an actual honest-to-goodness science fiction (or fantasy!) writer made me feel like we weren’t getting a fair shake.

Now, it seems to me that someone who writes a piece of science fiction or fantasy and gets it published is a science fiction/fantasy writer, at least at that moment. In this week's New Yorker is also Jonathan Lethem, who has had novels published by Tor Books, and stories in Omni, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, one of the Starlight anthologies, etc. So even if "science fiction writer" now simply means "someone published by a science fiction publisher", Tor.com's columnist is wrong. Clearly, something else is meant by reading a work of science fiction and declaring its author not a science fiction writer. But what could be meant? You tell me!



Poll #1843971 Why Aren't The People In the SF Issue of the New Yorker SF writers

There's something different about these people...

lack of visibile stink lines coming off their bodies
4(3.3%)
not one of them was ever Guest of Honor at Skiffycon, down at the airport Ramada
10(8.3%)
their stories are too well-written, seem faggy
16(13.3%)
all fail to claim victim status as geeks; must therefore be "Cool Kid" oppressors
20(16.7%)
Junot Diaz works at MIT, where no self-respecting science fiction writer would ever be seen
3(2.5%)
not one story about overweight libertarian supermen saving the universe from the Insecto-Negroids of Sector 7G-Alpha
11(9.2%)
fifth-columnist Nick Mamatas agitating on behalf of the New Yorker; brain parasites at work somehow
22(18.3%)
I get nothing but form rejections from the magazine and these people get in! Conspiracy!!!
7(5.8%)
I've never heard of these people because I don't read very much.
11(9.2%)
it's just not a science fiction magazine if there aren't any space whales getting raped on the cover
16(13.3%)
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