Friday Fun: Walter Mosley on The Case for Genre

May 11 2012 Published by under friday fun, science fiction

Longtime followers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of genre fiction, and the more genres the better: science fiction, fantasy, horror, hard boiled and noir. And in a lot of ways those genre boundaries are fluid, and sometimes the authors themselves embody that fluidity.

Walter Mosley
is one of those authors, writing with great success in both the mystery and science fiction genres.

Here's what he had to say recently in the blog: The Case for Genre.

In my opinion science fiction and fantasy writing has the potential to be the most intelligent, spiritual, inventive, and the most challenging of all literary writing. A good book of alternative reality creates an entire world, a skin that one can walk into and inhabit just as surely as we might walk out on the street in front our home.


This is what I call realistic fiction; the kind of writing that prepares us for the necessary mutations brought about in society from an ever changing technological world. It is no different than when Marx warns us of an economic infrastructure designing our social relations; when Freud tells us that our most important mental functions are unconscious and nearly unapproachable; when Einstein says that what we see, believe, and even what we've proven is all made up when piled next to the real God of existence - Relativity; when Darwin says that we are cousins to the redwood and fruit fly, the woodpecker and wolf. This is what science fiction is all about. It's our world under an alien light that allows us to question what we see and who we are seeing it.

And I'm sure a similar screed could be written on the value of all the various genres!

One response so far

  • Navigator says:

    I love genre writing, especially science fiction. One of the main purposes of sf, to me, is the distance. The writer can delineate a problem that we face in our lives but in an imaginary world, so that the reader does not necessarily feel as threatened by it as the might if it was baldly stated here in the real world.

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