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Elizabeth Hand

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I never think about genre when I work. I've written fantasy, science fiction, supernatural fiction, and am now working on a suspense novel. Genres are mostly useful as a marketing tool, and to help booksellers known where to shelve a book.
--
"Elizabeth Hand on Mortal Love at HarperCollins (2004)

 
Elizabeth Hand

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As far as I'm concerned, some of the best literature of the last hundred years has come out of the genre tradition and of course the best of it challenges expectations just as the best of literary fiction challenges those expectations. But it's not that genre fiction is any more a constraint than mimetic fiction. So I see myself very much as a genre writer. I love the fantastic genres. I see what I'm doing as a development of them but very much a part of them. I never feel that I'm leaving them behind. I try and be as experimental and avant-garde and stretching as I can be but I don't see that as turning my back on the genre at all. Genre has always been able to encompass that.

 
China Mieville
 

I think that for science fiction, fantasy, and even horror to some extent, the differences are skin-deep. I know there are elements in the field, particularly in science fiction, who feel that the differences are very profound, but I do not agree with that analysis. I think for me it is a matter of the furnishings. An elf or an alien may in some ways fulfill the same function, as a literary trope. Itís almost a matter of flavor. The ice cream can be chocolate or it can be strawberry, but itís still ice cream. The real difference, to my mind, is between romantic fiction, which all these genres are a part of, and mimetic fiction, or naturalistic fiction.

 
George R. R. Martin
 

Why do so many people dislike science fiction? The answer goes like this: You have to think of science fiction in contrast to its nearest competitor, heroic fantasy. In heroic fantasy, by and large, things are pretty stable, and then some terrible evil comes along that's going to take over the world. People have to fight it. In the end they win, of course, so the earth is restored to what it was. The status quo comes back. Science fiction's quite different. With science fiction, the world's in some sort of a state, and something awful happens. It may not be evil, it may be good or neutral, just an accident. Whatever they do in the novel, at the end the world is changed forever. That's the difference between the two genres ó and it's an almighty difference! And the truth is science fiction, because we all live in a world that's changed forever. It's never going to go back to what it was in the '60s or the '70s or the '30s, or whatever. It's changed.

 
Brian Aldiss
 

I write fantasy. The only science fiction I have written is Fahrenheit 451. It's the art of the possible. Science fiction is the art of the possible. It could happen. It has happened.

 
Ray Bradbury
 

Yeah, the mythology is kind of a pattern. I'm very taken by mythology. I read it at a very early age and kept on reading it. Before I discovered science fiction I was reading mythology. And from that I got interested in comparative religion and folklore and related subjects. And when I began writing, it was just a fertile area I could use in my stories.
I was saying at the convention in Melbourne that after a time I got typed as a writer of mythological science fiction, and at a convention I'd go to I'd invariably wind up on a panel with the title "Mythology and Science Fiction". I felt a little badly about this, I was getting considered as exclusively that sort of writer. So I intentionally tried to break away from it with things like Doorways in the Sand and those detective stories which came out in the book My Name Is Legion, and other things where I tried to keep the science more central.
But I do find the mythological things are creeping in. I worked out a book which I thought was just straight science fiction -- with everything pretty much explained, and suddenly I got an idea which I thought was kind of neat for working in a mythological angle. I'm really struggling with myself. It would probably be a better book if I include it, but on the other hand I don't always like to keep reverting to it. I think what I'm going to do is vary my output, do some straight science fiction and some straight fantasy that doesn't involve mythology, and composites.

 
Roger Zelazny
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