Greg Cox wrote:
1) There is a matter of practicality and convenience here. Sure, it would be more accurate if every thread, article, blog, film festival, convention, and bookstore shelf was labeled "Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Miscellaenous Weird Shit, and Assorted Combinations and Permutations Thereof," but that's a bit of a mouthful. Sometimes it's just an easier to put up a sign saying "Science Fiction Section." In the immortal words of Saki: "An ounce of inaccuracy saves a ton of explanation."
It's symptomatic that horror is lumped in here. Horror doesn't have to have "weird shit" in it, nor are people actually putting horror novels as such in. The reprints in "SF" that include SF/Fantasy/Horror/Etc. aren't going to include Robert Bloch's The Scarf or Psycho, no matter what. There is no practicality or convenience in pretending to put them together, no matter what Locus says. Why claim that "practicality and convenience" are motives when they clearly aren't? That's just bullshitting us. Which is a little offensive, since we're feeling all sensitive today.
Greg Cox wrote:
Once in a blue moon, I stumble onto a bookstore that tries to keep the sf and fantasy books separate. It's always a mess, with the same authors (and sometimes even the same series) scattered across the store. Where do you shelve Gene Wolfe or Ursula K. Le Guin or Piers Anthony or Marion Zimmer Bradley or Andre Norton or Orson Scott Card or Poul Anderson or Ray Bradbury or whomever? And do we trust some poor clerk to figure out whether "Witch World" is fantasy or science fiction? What about "The Shadow of the Torturer" or "The Anubis Gates" or "Dragon Riders of Pern"?
Honestly, it's easier just to put them all in the "Science Fiction" section.
Obviously, you file authors alphabetically. However could someone imagine that it is a problem to have authors' entries in different genres scattered about? How could it possibly be tragic if Gore Vidal's handful of mysteries were shelved in the Mystery section, just like his essays aren't filed in general fiction or his plays are filed in drama?
Despite the alleged practicality of mixing them all up, the fact is that I personally can no longer keep track of the kinds of "weird shit" I prefer to read, particularly new authors, because they are buried in tired old novels and short story collections rehashing folklore for the millionth time. Even military SF tends to be more original than that!
The fuck you attitude towards SF fans trying to find SF is just about as offensive as any perceived snobbery.
Of course, as everyone well knows, since these discussions keep arising, part of the issue is the idea that SF should try to have some decent speculative science, an issue of standards. The fuck you attitude that it's all just weird shit is offensive, particularly since there's no reason for it beyond resentment at the implication that genuine literacy should include scientific literacy. Well, no one ever read SF for a text book, so no one should feel so intimidated.
And last, the fuck you attitude it takes to reduce all these concerns to SF fans' supposed snobbery is offensive. "Offensive" is relative, though. Maybe we should use annoyed.
And it doesn't matter how many people don't understand the definition of irony, Alanis Morrisette is still wrong.
True, but it's occurred to me that maybe the reason so many people use "irony" in that way is because we need
a word that actually does mean that (i.e. something that is unexpectedly and poetically appropriate) and don't have one. It's a concept in need of a word, and people use "irony" for lack of a better alternative. And it's probably a losing battle. Once enough people use "irony" that way, the dictionaries will have to adapt./QUOTE]
This sounds sensible, except that we then have the problem of what word to use when we really are talking about irony. It's the "theory" problem again, where the standard popular misusage is tied up with the repudiation of the concept expressed by the standard usage by the people who actually use the idea.