“Thus, traditional criticism’s charge that science fiction isn’t, in general, ‘literary’ because science fiction writers don’t focus on or have the artistry to deeply delve into character misses the point that science fiction isn’t about character, it’s about ideas. And therefore, science fiction should be judged by a different set of criteria than mundane mainstream fiction is evaluated.”
In “Saving the World Through Science Fiction - James Gunn, Writer, Teacher and Scholar” by Michael R. Page
Don't critics ignore SF because there's far too much of it, and the vast majority of it - like any sector of genre fiction - is a bit safe, geared more to selling to a niche of fans than the mass market? Certainly SF fandom is obsessed with genre distinctions (steampunk, space opera, mundane, whatever) that have absolutely no currency in the mainstream world - just like crime fandom (maybe to a lesser extent) worries about distinctions between golden age, hard-boiled, procedural and so on.
In both cases the really good stuff, the stuff that transcends the formulae and has something worthwhile to say - Atwood, or Houllebecq, or Alan Moore, Ballard, or Gunn - it "does" get noticed, it's just that people don't call it SF anymore.
If you're into SF Literary Criticism, read on.
Roxane gay is smart and astute and brave and candid and funny. The writing is accessible, clear, and thoughtful.
These essays, which cover a range of topics from racism to what makes an (imperfect) feminist to critiques of books like LEAN IN and movies such as DJANGO, are insightful and thought-provoking. Like the best essays, there's something here to make everyone a little bit uncomfortable, and Gay doesn't spare herself the discomfort either. How kind and clever or her to allow us to admit out own warts and wrinkles in the face of her own admissions of imperfection. Well done.
And, on a personal note, how delighted I was to find such a terrific critical essay on the topic of THE HELP, a book I loathed, and for which I have taken a great deal of abuse for loathing. Thanks, Roxane.
Reading these essays was like having a long conversation with the smartest and wittiest of friends. Highly recommended.