Friday, November 09, 2007

Bless This Man !!

From the, IN CONVERSATION . . . With Michael Chabon, an interview conducted by Julie Phillips (NBCC and Hugo Award winning author of James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon.)

Phillips: Gentlemen of the Roadgives me the impression that you had a lot of fun writing it but aren't entirely convinced by the world you've created. Do you think you will ever really break into science fiction? Or are you doomed to keep coming back to literature?

Chabon: I believed every single word of it with every fiber of my being, actually! Writing it wasn't just fun, it was deep and magical -- I traveled. As for science fiction, it is literature, as you very well know, my dear. The gates between the kingdoms are infinitely wide and always open!


justinistired said...

And he's not that bad a writer either. Yiddish Policeman's Union is a pretty solid read, I must say.

A more central point he raises is why creative endeavor is so fiercely, and wantonly, categorized. The very act is against the nature of creativity.

At least, that's how I can sleep at night.


Lou Anders said...

Yes, and relates to his statement that "I'm not trying to educate people or bring them along or hold their hands as they leap into the imaginary piranha tank of genre (though I would like to think those are all possible results) so much as clarify my own thinking, to let my history and experience as a reader shed light on my history and experience as a writer, and vice versa."

I think that's why the respect for genre is on the rise in the mainstream, because the generations for which it was new are fading and the generations for which it was just a part of the overall culture are moving into the fore..

justinistired said...

Perfectly right. And I'm not even limiting that to the vast number of times I've heard people remark on the notable absence of flying cars and jetpacks in their lives.

Also evocative is Chabon's fascination with secret knowledge. It's one of those concepts that lie at the nexus of resonance and wonder and speaks directly to such a wide variety of people.

Rather than a device or a trope, it's a psychological meme that opens the mind for storytelling. Science fiction utilizes it more baldly than other genres, but labeling differences therein smacks of the hypocritical. It's part of what makes the storytelling phenomenon powerful.

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Tim Akers said...

I wonder if this goes both ways? I wonder if an established genre author can then go mainstream and get the attention they deserve? For that matter, can a genre author go mainstream, and then write genre again and not get flayed by the press?

Lou Anders said...

Well, Jonathan Lethem was an established genre author who went mainstream. And both Gibson and Gaiman's latest were reviewed outside the SF section in Publishers Weekly.

Meanwhile, hasn't Neal Stephenson said that his current novel-in-progress is set on another planet? Interesting to see how that's received after the mainstream attention of his last trilogy.