Two SF writers have been in the news recently.
The first, Alastair Reynolds, for securing a million pound publishing deal for his next 10 books…
The second, Chris Beckett, for winning the Edge Hill prize for short fiction…
At times like this, its tempting to say that SF is finally coming of age, that it is finally being accepted by the mainstream.
Of course we’ve all been here before. Every so often the media takes note of SF, it picks up on a new writer or trend, but the fuss soon dies down and SF is left back where it belongs, if not in the gutter, then beneath mainstream notice.
Should we care?
Well, yes and no. It’s nice to see two writers get the recognition they deserve. Actually, nice is not strong enough a word. I think most of us in the community are very proud of what they have done. But let’s face it, we don’t need the media to tell us that House of Suns or the Turing Test is worth reading, we knew that already.
It would be nice if there were a few more million pound contracts out there, it would be nice if there were more literary prizes being won within the genre, but the truth is Reynolds and Beckett were good writers without these things, I’m sure they will continue to be so afterwards.
The rest of us will continue to enjoy their work, and that of other writers within the field who have so far escaped mainstream attention.
And if the mainstream doesn’t know about those other writers, then that’s the mainstream’s loss, not ours.