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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Martian: SF or Mainstream?

It took me a few seconds of thought to figure out how to classify Andy Weir's debut novel The Martian. It takes place in outer space and on Mars, so the obvious choice is to call it science fiction. But it wasn't marketed as a genre novel, and in fact everything that happens in the book is grounded in scientific reality; indeed, had space investment continued at a 1960s pace, such a scenario could have already happened.

I waffled, but in the end I called it SF - not because it's set in space, but because it'll eventually be alternate history. But then, every work of fiction is alternate history by definition, making everything SF..!

I guess this is why it's not always a good idea to slot works of art into various genre ghettos. 

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