As a writer though you aren’t just trying to fit into a megatext. You’re trying to do something original. The concept of genre interferes with this.
I’ve got to run to teach a class, but I wanted to weigh in briefly. I’m not entirely sure, but I think I believe the opposite of Paul: I think we are usually very aware of genre when we write–in fact, it’s usually the basis, conscious or unconscious, on which we create actual work–but that categorizing a work’s genre when we read or criticize, though it can offer insights, runs the risk of causing us to miss its individual qualities.
Paul Di Filippo
Lately, after a professional lifetime of employing every critical term possible, I feel like just lumping every relevant piece of fiction under John Clute’s label “fantastika,” and letting it go at that!
One big stew pot where all the tastes can blend, and somehow you can decant an infinite number of flavors from the same kettle!
It’s the Everlasting Gobstopper of critical terms! As you turn it over in your mouth, it becomes everything you need.
There’s more enterprise in walking naked.
Paul Di Filippo
Plus, if you assemble a multipart golem/Frankenstein’s Monster labeled “Fantastika,” it can then go head-to-head with the similar Patchwork Creation dubbed “Mainstream” in the literary boxing ring. No longer do “science fiction” or “fantasy” have to duke it out alone and unfairly with that big bully Mainstream, who always concealed naturalism, minimalism, maximalism, etc under his trunks!
Ten rounds, no holds barred cage match, winner take all (the readers)!