Author: Chris Gerwel

Crossroads: The Challenge of Espionage in Speculative Fiction

Crossroads: The Challenge of Espionage in Speculative Fiction

If spy fiction uses SF/F techniques, then why doesn't speculative fiction feature more espionage? Perhaps SF/F’s world-building is too much of a good thing, preventing the genre from leveraging tension the way spy fiction does. Read More »

Crossroads: Society, World-building, and Estrangement in Spy Fiction

Crossroads: Society, World-building, and Estrangement in Spy Fiction

Growing up in a household where the legacy of Communism loomed large (my parents had fled Communist Poland during the ’60s), poison-tipped umbrellas and double-or-triple-agents were regular mealtime conversation. And with no James Bond showing ... Read More »

Top Secret

Crossroads: I Spy, with My Little Eye…Espionage in Speculative Fiction

Hello and welcome to August! I was away for much of July on a “blogging vacation”, and I very much missed you and our ongoing genre mash-up conversation while I was gone. Now that I’m back, this month we’ll be looking at the ... Read More »

Crossroads: Speculative Devices in Police Procedurals

Crossroads: Speculative Devices in Police Procedurals

Character, Context, and Procedure: The Cores of the Police Procedural One can’t analyze science fiction and fantasy without running into certain words over and over again: World-building. Sense of wonder. Neologism. Cognitive estrangement. Nov... Read More »

Law and Order: SVU

Crossroads: The Difficulty of Police Procedural Speculative Fiction

Police procedurals are a complicated genre to explore because they intersect so fluidly with so many other genres. On the one hand, they solidly rest within the mystery tradition: there is a crime that needs investigation, there is typically a primar... Read More »

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Crossroads: “Speculative” Literary Fiction and SF/F Techniques

Last week, we talked about how works of speculative fiction deploy techniques commonly found in literary fiction. This week, we’re going to flip that coin and look at how mainstream literary fiction employs techniques developed and refined in s... Read More »

Peace by Gene Wolfe

Crossroads: “Literary” Speculative Fiction and Literary Sensibilities

As I mentioned last week, trying to draw general conclusions about the relationship between mainstream literary fiction and speculative fiction is difficult at best. For every “general” hypothesis, a slew of counter-examples can be raised... Read More »

Venn diagram of Literary Fiction/Speculative Fiction along Character/Plot Spectrum

Crossroads: The Cores of Literary Fiction and Speculative Fiction

The relationship between speculative fiction and mainstream literary fiction is complicated by decades of group identity dynamics, mutual ignorance, and overbroad critical generalizations about both genres. However, if we try to put our long-held att... Read More »

Magic Realism vs Fantasy - Venn Diagram

Crossroads: Negotiating the Unreal in Magic Realism and Fantasy

Perhaps the most important insight I’ve gained from my research for my Crossroads series is that the borders between genres are very fluid, and the more one genre (or sub-genre) resembles another, the more contentious their relationship is like... Read More »

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Crossroads: Tensions between SF/F and Mainstream Literary Fiction

Welcome to the first week of May! This month, I’m going to be taking a look at the often-fraught relationship between speculative fiction and mainstream literary fiction. I’ve always found the love-hate relationship between devotees of ea... Read More »

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