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Comment from the book world in July 2024

July 2024

'Science fiction, as a genre, is finished'

1 July 2024

‘I've been thinking for some time that science fiction, as a genre, is finished. The world it once imagined has arrived, and interest in the future and new technologies is widespread. Instead of appealing only to a niche audience, sci-fi has been absorbed into the mainstream of fiction. And as fantasy enjoys a boom in popularity - the "Romantasy" subgenre in particular - much of what is now published as science fiction has a fantasy element to it: space opera, alternate histories, sagas set on alien worlds.

Cyberpunk was perhaps the most important trend in science fiction in the 1980s and 90s, but since then it's often reduced in memory to a particular aesthetic of future-noir thriller represented by Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. So The Big Book of Cyberpunk, edited by Jared Shurin is a huge, eye-opening, mind-blowing surprise. Two fat volumes with more than 100 stories, by authors from at least two dozen different countries (some published here in English for the first time), ranging from proto-cyberpunk stories from the 1950s and 60s through genre-defining tales by William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, Neal Stephenson and many newer names, right up to 2021 with a post-cyberpunk story written in collaboration with AI.'

Lisa Tuttle, author of 18 novels for adults and children, including My Death, A Nest of Nightmares, The Mysteries, The Bone and The Flute, Dolphin Diaries, a series for children, various short story collections and several works of non-fiction, in the Guardian.