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Clavain

But is it Science Fiction?

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I enjoyed the book [Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel] but didn't connect with any of the characters other than Arthur. Kirsten I wish the author had developed more, seemed to me a grab at youth fiction with tattoos and comics.

Like you say there are some massive coincidences and so much left to fill in yourself. Lots of ideas spread thin.

For me it was a book that tried to be both literary and science fiction but just came short on both.

Best science fiction book I've read this year so far  :) Amazon also classify it as science fiction. This in the right place on the forum?

Edited by Grammath
clarificaion when splitting into new thread

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Best science fiction book I've read this year so far  :) Amazon also classify it as science fiction. This in the right place on the forum?

 

I don't think it's what I would imagine to be Science Ficttion. Plus, when I look at it on Amazon, it says: Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Literary

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I don't think it's what I would imagine to be Science Ficttion. Plus, when I look at it on Amazon, it says: Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Literary

 

I agree it's not classic science fiction but post apocalyptic which I think is a sub branch. Strange on Amazon UK definitely classed in science fiction.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Station-Eleven-Emily-John-Mandel-ebook/dp/B00JQ9FYAM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1429257737&sr=1-1&keywords=station+11

 

Where it says 

Edited by Clavain

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Whereas when you look in the paper version on Amazon UK is also says: 

 

 

 

 

As far as I am concerned, I go with the definition of Science Fiction as being what you are pointing at when you say "that is science fiction". And I wouldn't be pointing at Station Eleven.

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Well it's definitely a post apocalyptic/dystopia novel which are generally classed as science fiction/fantasy. You only posted the position on the fiction chart like I did on on charts where it's higher..

Reminds me a little of The Stand by Stephen King (Horror) and The Passage by Justin Cronin both of which I wouldn't say are science fiction.

Christopher Priest calls this genre slipstream.

Confused :?

p.s I love how you admins can change your posts and nobody can see

Edited by Clavain

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I worry that this discussion about classification is starting to detract from discussion of the book. Could I suggest that if people want to discuss the definition of sci-fi it takes place in Central Library - and I would propose we hide a lot of these semantic posts in a couple of days. 

 

Oh, and Mods can show their edits if they want, but since most edits are just to clear up people's formatting errors, I guess the default is that it doesn't show. 

Edited by MisterHobgoblin

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Oh, and Mods can show their edits if they want, but since most edits are just to clear up people's formatting errors, I guess the default is that it doesn't show. 

 

If a mod chooses to specify a reason for the edit, as I have done with clavain's first post on this thread, then the fact the post has been edited will appear.

 

This thread has been created following splitting the discussion on Emily St John Mandel's novel Station Eleven. There was some question as to whether this novel should be classified as science fiction or not. The same could be debated about many other novels, so it seems worthy of discussion when a sci fi novel is a sci fi novel and when it might be "literary fiction", "speculative fiction" or something similar.

 

As a sci fi reader myself, this is a topic I have opinions on, so when I have more time (whenever that will be) I'll be back to post some thoughts. 

 

If you want to talk about Station Eleven, the original thread is here.     

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Did a little research on this subject, since it's still bugging me.

The author herself was a little shocked when it was classified as science fiction, for her it was literary fiction. Interestingly her previous novels were classed as crime when again she classed them as literary fiction.

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/10/15/sorry-emily-st-john-mandel-resistance-is-futile/

 

In this article the author very interestingly argues for multi genre novels. So the book could be argued to be both literary and genre fiction. Which for me makes it even more confusing.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/joshua-rothman/better-way-think-genre-debate

 

The admin comment was because I thought I was going crazy. A few times I have read an admins post, to puzzle the next day when I was sure it was different but there was no edit on the post. Mr HG when he altered his post made it all come clear since I had made a copy to check the chart positions. Was a relief :)

Edited by Clavain

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It may not be decisive what the author thinks but where the sellers think it may be easiest to find. They need some labelled shelf after all where they can put it on and where the buyers will hopefully look for it. I find myself occasionally shuffling the classification of my books on Amazon to see in which category they attract more attention.

 

And yes, if the story is set in the future, it is inevitably classified as Sci-Fi. In the German Democratic Republic, even Stanislaw Lem's autobiography was sold as Sci-Fi because, heck, the guy is a Sci-Fi writer!

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It may not be decisive what the author thinks but where the sellers think it may be easiest to find. They need some labelled shelf after all where they can put it on and where the buyers will hopefully look for it. I find myself occasionally shuffling the classification of my books on Amazon to see in which category they attract more attention.

 

And yes, if the story is set in the future, it is inevitably classified as Sci-Fi. In the German Democratic Republic, even Stanislaw Lem's autobiography was sold as Sci-Fi because, heck, the guy is a Sci-Fi writer!

Agree the seller would want to put it on the right shelf but doesn't that reflect the human need to classify and pigeon-hole? Waterstones and all book stores I've been in put the book in the Sci Fi section.

It's very hard to know which section a book in libraries and book stores should go but so easy when digital, since it can be in every section/chart depending on sales.

Not checked but probably 1000 + on the Amazon Romance chart.

Agree with Mr HG that it's not a science fiction book but surely has to be classified as one? 

Edited by Clavain

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This announcement was made on 8 April 2015. This Award is the most prestigious Science Fiction award in Britain and is highly acclaimed and considered to be one where careful selection and diversity is respected.

 

 

 

 2015 Shortlist Announced

29th ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED

The six shortlisted books for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year published in 2014 are:

 
The Girl With All The Gifts - M.R. Carey (Orbit)
The Book Of Strange New Things - Michel Faber (Canongate)
Europe In Autumn - Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
Memory Of Water - Emmi Itäranta (HarperVoyager)
The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August - Claire North (Orbit)
Station Eleven - Emily St John Mandel (Picador)

 

The 6 shortlisted titles were selected from a list of 107 individual eligible submissions, put forward by 36 different publishing houses and imprints.

Award Director Tom Hunter said:

“This is a quintessentially Clarke Award kind of a shortlist of exactly the sort that we’ve become known for over the years and always love to celebrate. Congratulations to all of our shortlisted authors, their publishing teams and, of course, a big thank you to everyone on our judging panel this year.

“We’ve got six authors who have never been nominated for the Clarke Award before and while the subject matter may often be dark, when we think about what this list says about the strength of science fiction literature itself, I see a future that’s full of confidence, creativity and diversity of imagination.”

The judging panel for the Arthur C. Clarke Award 2015 are:

  • Duncan Lawie, British Science Fiction Association
  • Nicholas Whyte, British Science Fiction Association
  • Sarah Brown, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Lesley Hall, Science Fiction Foundation
  • Leila Abu El Hawa, SCI-FI-LONDON film festival

Andrew M. Butler represents the Arthur C. Clarke Award in a non-voting role as the Chair of the Judges.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday 6th May at an exclusive award ceremony held at Foyles Bookshop, London, and taking place as part of the activities leading up to the SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival.

The winner will be presented with a cheque for £2015.00 and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend.

 

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Hello GH - good to see you back.  Thanks for the list of the Sci/Fi books - may have a look to see what they are about.  

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Hi momac, I have had Station 11 on my TBR for some time, but the pile isn't  going down very fast.  I also have the First Fifteen Lives of Harry August  which sounds a worry, I have enough trouble keeping one life under control :)

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Just had a look at the outline of Station 11 and it isn't something that I would like to read.  Sounds a wee bit of a downer.   :hmm:

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This award is a good example of trying to challenge and expand the boundaries of what is considered sci-fi. Of this year's shortlist, Faber and St John Mandel have not been previously been considered as sci-fi authors. Scanning the list of nominees for the 2015 award, I can see Peter Carey, David Mitchell and Nick Harkaway on there, although the latter two have previously been shortlisted.

 

Since all would have been nominated by their publishers, it is interesting that they want these books to be considered for this award, but don't want them pigeonholed in the science fiction sections of bookshops and websites.     

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Phew I've read 3 of those and currently reading another

Grammath agree it's interesting - maybe publishers are waking up to science fiction can be relevant and serious authors want to be involved.

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This award is a good example of trying to challenge and expand the boundaries of what is considered sci-fi.      

 

But at the risk of stating the obvious, the purpose of defining a genre is to narrow things down - then trying to expand the horizons of the category seems to be counter intuitive. If you want broad, just look at fiction as a whole.

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