Science Fiction Novel Wins Pulitzer Prize

As reported here in The Guardian, Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a bleak vision of a post-apocalyptic America, and has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

What is SF becoming when it is merely degraded to the state of literary fiction like this? What's more, Oprah has gone SF too, by featuring this on her book club. Are we going to stand by and watch SF get knocked down to this appalling level of couch-potato-ness, degraded by people who simply don't understand and appreciate the true literature of ideas? I think this sort of thing weakens the state of science fiction, dilutes it's power... (Apologies for the use of sarcasm and irony here. I had wanted to work talking squids in space into this, but couldn't think of that without coffee.)

I like this little review which intelligently likens The Road to the Mad Max films, close enough for it to seem very close to a rip-off. Not read the book myself, I hasten to add, just find the debate interesting.

UPDATE: Lou Anders has some more analytical thoughts on the matter, rather than my attempt to be ironic. Once again, he points to all the talk around the blogosphere about the image of SF as seen by others outside the genre, but in an optimistic light. It isn't too far from these discussions we get on to SF and the ghetto. People can get pretty irate about this.

I, for one, think people should be a little more chilled about the ghetto. There is no other form of literature with a fan base quite like SF and fantasy, one that allows authors to get coverage and admirers no matter how big or small they are. No other form of literature has conventions on this scale, has such activity on blogs or general fan pages. In SF/F fandom, you can walk up to your heroes and have a beer with them.

Chill, people. Don't be so angsty. The ghetto has a very protective fence around it, keeping authors in the spotlight and on the shelf, and interacting with readers in a way that no other genre can offer. It ain't all that bad. Sit calmly within these walls, reflect on the book in your hand and know that you're probably holding a worthy tome indeed, no matter what others say.

— Mark N

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