Science Fiction Earns More Respectability

I have long defended science fiction and fantasy as genres worthy of literary and artistic greatness, more than just the escapist simplicity that often overshadows them in the eyes of some detractors.  Bit by bit, sci-fi has earned the respect of critics, whether through the mainstream work of writers such as George Orwell or through the acclaimed cinematic achievements of directors such as Stanley Kubrick.  Still, the genre often continues to be marginalized and not taken seriously.  The naysayers, however, cannot deny its mass appeal.  Science fiction sells.

The National Geographic Channel, that bastion of science, travel, and real world adventure, will air a special called Chasing UFOs.  The New Yorker magazine, which still boasts a readership of the upper echelon of intelligensia, cultural tastemakers and trendsetters, this week published a "Science Fiction Issue."  It featured speculative fiction by Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan, and Sam Lipsyte. It was loaded with essays by Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, and even a previously unpublished piece by Anthony Burgess.  Regular contributors like Emily Nussbaum take a look at sci-fi topics, such as Doctor Who.

Fans of science fiction don't need anyone to legitimize the genre they already love, but hopefully this will make others give it a chance and discover all the greatness it has to offer.