This week (episode 3 of season 13) we return to our tradition of almost entirely unstructured rambling. Jonathan and Gary consider such questions as to whether a novel can be good SF, but not much good in literary terms, or a good literary novel not much good as SF.
While we recognize that many popular subgenres, from military SF to heroic fantasy, have plenty of readers loyal to the old traditions, we muse about whether many of today’s writers feel some pressure to meet both traditional literary and SF standards, and Jonathan namechecks R.F. Kuang. Some writers we mention, such as Arkady Martine, seem to effortlessly do both. On the other hand, why were several genre mystery readers of the 1930s and 1940s, like Hammett and Chandler, were later recognized as major literary figures, the same didn’t seem to have to SF writers of the same period.
Toward the end, we touch upon Paul Kincaid's provocative new essay, "A Taxonomy of Reviewing" and his book on Brian W. Aldiss, amongst other things.
As always, we hope you enjoy the episode.