I’ve written a piece on SF and the Man Booker prize over at We Love This Book, a new-ish site run by the folks at Bookseller magazine. Reckon it should stir up a few thoughts, especially as I’ve made some suggestions over what SFF novels should have been up for the award.
Tomorrow sees the release of the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize for fiction, and, forgive me for jumping the gun, but I wanted to explore why science fiction and fantasy books rarely get the gold.
In fact, I wanted to start by exploring why sf and fantasy books are not included on the longlists at all, but I quickly realised what nonsense that was – sf and fantasy books have been nominated: Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go is about cloning, David Mitchell’s books often include elements of what many would call genre, Margaret Atwood is the reluctant fundamentalist when it comes to science fiction, Salman Rushdie’s magical realist tales are occasionally more fantastical than many fantasy novels.
However, despite a huge literary heritage of sf and fantasy books in the UK, very rarely do clearly marked “genre” titles make the longlists, let alone win. Some argue that there is, as sf writer Adam Roberts put it: “[a] literary apartheid keeping genre science fiction away from the respectable literary establishment” but I think the reasons are simpler than this.
Read the rest. My suggestions for the awards were more based on the spirit of some of the best genre offered at the time.