20 April 2009

A Response to Ted Gioia's "Notes on Conceptual Fiction"

Source: Gioia’s essay can be read here. I was originally linked to it from SF Signal. See some discussion about Gioia’s essay here.

I feel the need to respond to Ted Gioia’s essay “Notes on Conceptual Fiction” because it represents bad criticism, even if its heart is in the right place. Gioia’s terminology proves suspect and unstable, and his categories and grounds of judgement in the end commit the same fallacies as those he critiques. Most importantly, as much as Gioia argues for the importance of SF&F to fiction of the last century or so, which he is correct to do, he ultimately does a disservice to SF&F by attempting to value it on its own terms, in contradistinction to broader, traditional terms of literary merit.