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Dunderheads Ahoy!

This little news item almost passed me by, but Ken Macleod caught it and posted about it on his blog (see on the left below). The story goes thus – Kim Stanley Robinson criticised this year’s Booker Prize for having had no SF novels in serious running for the award, saying that British SF was “the best British literature of our time” and that “British science fiction is now in a golden age.” One of the judges, news anchor and political commentator James Naughtie, ‘admitted that Robinson “may well have a point”, but suggested that “perhaps his arrows could be directed even more towards publishers than to judges”.’

At which point, one John Mullan enters the fray. Mr Mullan is Professor of English at University College London, as well as being one of Mr Naughtie’s fellow Booker judges. In response to KSR’s intervention he said that he “was not aware of science fiction,” arguing that science fiction has become a “self-enclosed world” and “When I was 18 it was a genre as accepted as other genres,” he said, but now “it is in a special room in book shops, bought by a special kind of person who has special weird things they go to and meet each other.”

Aah, doesn`t that give you a nice, warm feeling inside? Thus I feel entirely justified in saying, Mr John Mullan – you, sir, are a dunderhead.

Have a nice day.

ps, here’s the link – http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/18/science-fiction-booker-prize