I realize that I have said this in comments here and there on other people’s posts, but I haven’t made an official announcement on my blog, so here goes:
I have decided that I am not a Science Fiction writer.
It’s a conviction that has been growing for a while, but recent events have clarified my position. Reading the posts by luminaries in the field who explain why being “inclusive” requires excluding anyone they disagree with (and in the process preforming indignities on Dame English that would make Ana Steele safeword) has brought me to the conclusion that they want Science Fiction to be their own private club, and as far as I am concerned they can have it.
Now, it could be argued that Science Fiction should be free and open to anyone who wants to self-identify with the genre, and to those who choose to argue that I have no rebuttal. You are right, that is what it should be.
However, we live in a fallen world, and there are some battles that are just not worth fighting. For me, this is one of them.
It’s easier for me, I suppose, than for many other authors. My work is a type of Science Fiction that the mainstream kicked to the curb years ago. I don’t use starships and blasters and alien worlds with multiple suns and numbers in their names. Not, I hasten to add, that I object to such things on aesthetic grounds, but because those are not the metaphors that come readily to hand. Nor do I do the High Fantasy thing with pre-industrial civilizations who have problems with orcs and whatnot.
My antecedents are people like Phillip Dick and Kate Wilhelm and Samuel Delany, writers who took our world and subjected it to abnormal stresses to see what would pop out of it. So I have less to lose in terms of audience by eschewing those genre titles. If you’re looking for Yoda or Gollum, don’t look here.
What, then, am I? I am a fabulist and a tragedian. I would also say satirist and surrealist, but I fear both those terms have become diluted by chronic misuse. I tell stories about things that didn’t happen and that couldn’t happen, and I do my damnedest to make you believe that they are happening as long as you’re reading the book.
I will graciously permit David Gerrold, George Martin, et. al. to draw their circles in the sandbox to include me out. They have earned the right to define Science Fiction, if anyone has, and I have a policy of not arguing against authority. Ignoring them, yes, arguing with them, no.
I am going to keep writing what I write. I will be releasing Gingerbread Wolves soon, and have already begun work on the next volume in The Book Of Lost Doors, World Edgewise. I’m just not going to call it Science Fiction. Labels aren’t worth fighting for.