Lem singled out only one American SF writer for praise, Philip K. Dick—see the 1986 English-language anthology of his critical essays, Microworlds. Dick, however, perhaps due to his mental illness, believed that Stanisław Lem was a false name used by a composite committee operating on orders of the Communist party to gain control over public opinion, and wrote a letter to the FBI to that effect.
Day Of The Dolphin, A Boy And His Dog, and Phase IV turned to the relationship between man and super-intelligent animals to comment on …
(from one of Phillip K. Dick’s last interviews, Twilight Zone Magazine 6/1982)
Now, if a book slots easily into its genre, it’s because it’s been designed that way by a writer who knows exactly what he or she is doing. That, I suggest, is an important difference between literary and genre fiction. Not that writers of literary fiction don’t know what they’re doing, but there is a difference in the level of planning. A genre novel is governed by limitations, and the whole of the writer’s skill is directed towards creating the best possible novel within those limitations. A literary novel is governed by nothing – nothing I can think of, not even the requirement to be comprehensible – and the whole of the writer’s skill is directed towards creating the best possible novel. This involves, at some point, a surrender to the unknown.
|—||Novelist Anita Mason attempts to unpick the distinctions between “literary” and “genre” writing. (via graemem)|
Google X, obviously, isn’t to blame for science fiction’s reactionary inheritance. But a science fictional imagination is prone to these sorts of myopia. I fear—especially when we talk about “science fiction”—that we miss the layeredness of the world, that many people worked to build it.