I'm posting a brief note to show that I am in fact here, and to mention two thoughts that came to me in Barnes and Noble on Sunday. Why was I in a B & N? Because that's mostly what we have left, though two fine SF bookstores do survive in Minneapolis. But I was in Bloomington at the Magamall, and the B & N was convenient.
One thought was that fiction categories seem to be blurring more and more. I was thinking this as I tried to find books that might be in SF or mystery or even romance. My friend Lyda Morehouse, writing as Tate Hallaway, is doing vampire chick lit that can be shelved as either romance or fantasy. Liz Williams' wonderful Inspector Chen fantasies are shelved as mysteries in the Minneapolis Public Library. They are mysteries -- with Chinese demons and ghosts and gods. Jennifer Stevenson told me that she is writing fiction for an SF line, which is going to be published with romance on the spine.
The other thought was -- for me, SF is like literary or fine art or whatever you want to call it poetry. (I thought this as I bought a collection of Adrienne Rich's poetry.) My friend Ruth Berman has been selling to literary magazines for years. She says she always has trouble with her stories, because they aren't realistic. But her poetry is easy to place, even though it is often SF or fantasy.
In the US, poetry is not popular, but SF is. I suspect they serve much the same purpose.
I suspect categories are important or were important. What does it say that they are breaking down and have been breaking down for years?
Traditionally, there was a class component to categories. There were kinds of fiction aimed at working people and other kinds aimed at educated middle class people.
Blog posts should be short. I will stop here.
I know this post is obvious. Maybe I will find something insightful to say on the topic later.