Transcending the Genre and Other Polite Insults

Friday Mar 25   01:00 PM to 02:00 PM (1 hour)
Room 6
LiteratureWelcoming the Unwelcome
We all know that classifying work as 'genre' can be a touchy subject. For some critics, there is no higher praise than to say that a genre novel has transcended its origins; for some publishers, the notion that books like Cormac McCarthy's The Road or Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale might be considered SF is baffling; and for some authors all labels are shackles to be avoided. To what extent are these reactions rooted in snobbery and/or ignorance, and to what extent are we in fandom too forgiving to the literature we love? Does the recent explosion in "literary apocalypse and dystopia" novels by writers such as Emily St John Mandel and Michel Faber work to reinforce the situation, or break it down? What happens to the discourse when Zadie Smith talks about reading Octavia Butler, or Marlon James says his next novel will be "an African Game of Thrones"? And at the end of the day, do we really want all the walls to disappear?

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