Wars, hot or cold, are also missing from standard science fiction versions of the future. Interplanetary wars don’t count, and neither do wars with robots or zombies. I mean wars among nation-states or global alliances or regional blocs. George Orwell’s 1984, inspired in part by James Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution, imagined a world divided among three totalitarian blocs: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. I can’t think of any other well-known examples of geopolitics in science fiction.

Michael Lind. Everything that Lind says is missing from SF may be found in, to cite just one example among many possible ones, the work of Ursula K. LeGuin. Given that LeGuin is one of the most famous SF writers in the world, and Lind appears not to be familiar with her work, then perhaps his declarations about what SF does and does not do should be taken with a truckload of salt.

So, then. Is literature the serious stuff you have to read in college, and after that you read for pleasure, which is guilty?

Mr Krystal doesn’t say this directly. But he says nothing about the non-guilty pleasure that both literary and genre novels can afford. And what he says about genre fiction all fits into the familiar modernist mishmash of Puritanism and reverse snobbery.

I don’t want to join the group still huddled together in a corner of a twentieth-century lunchroom smirking over a copy of Amazing Wonder Tales because it’s “bad,” and flipping off the stuffy teacher who wants us to read A Tale of Two Cities because it’s “good.” I don’t want to be there any more.

Le Guin’s Hypothesis | Book View Cafe Blog. Ursula LeGuin has been the smartest person in the world on these issues for about forty years now. So when are self-proclaimed “literary” people going to start giving her the deference, or at least the attention, she so obviously deserves?

When there began to be such a thing as books written for children, in the mid-19th century, fiction was dominated by the realistic novel. Romance and satire were acceptable to it, but overt fantasy was not. So, for a while, fantasy found a refuge in children’s books. There it flourished so brilliantly that people began to perceive imaginative fiction as being “for children”.

The modernists extended this misconception by declaring fantastic narrative to be intrinsically childish. Though modernism is behind us and postmodernism may be joining it, still many critics and reviewers approach fantasy determined to keep Caliban permanently confined in the cage of Kiddie Lit. The voice of Edmund Wilson reviewing J R R Tolkien is still heard, bleating: “Oo, those awful Orcs!” There should be a word — “maturismo”, like “machismo”? — for the anxious savagery of the intellectual who thinks his adulthood has been impugned.

Ursula K. LeGuin