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Let’s Get Serious

On the heels of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Jim Crace, yet another award winning seriously literary writer coming out with The Pesthouse, a novel which like The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic future where all of civilization has come crashing down and refugees wander amidst the ruins of civilization.

These brilliantly original plots of course are Science Fiction, right? Wrong. Serious literary writers and critics don’t acknowledge they’re writing Science Fiction– even when they’re blatantly writing Science Fiction. Consider John Irving’s At The End of Time– yet another novel on a similar theme of the kind actual SF writers have been churning out non-stop for decades. Yet claim it as SF and get your nose bitten off as an uncivilized barbarian. It’s like the boy from the farming village who grows up, goes off to the city, becomes the Royal Astronomer and you had better not remind him that he’s not doing much more than what he did back home when he and the other boys were counting stars in the sky and naming the constellations after haystacks.

Because you see being taken seriously is all about reputation or all the reputation you can work on manufacturing for yourself. That in the end is what serious literature or serious film is. Pretentiousness. Of course there’s usually some talent and real work in there, but there’s talent and real work everywhere.

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