Genres

I am fascinated by a genre I have only just discovered.

Slipstream.

What an amazingly cool name! But the problem with it is this: the slipstream writers and fans are falling into the trap of refusing to define what slipstream means as a genre. As I understand it, slipstream seems to be a post-modern surrealism. That’s what it looks like to me, at any rate. That said, a genre that refuses to define itself may be destined to disappear.

So, how would I define my writings? Horror and dark fantasy (leaning towards horror), predominately. I have also written some science fiction, and I would retro-define some of my work (“Pyramids”) as slipstream.

Your thoughts on the matter would be welcome!

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2 Responses to Genres

  1. Olderladygeek says:

    I have not heard the label Slipstream before, but if your Pyramids is what you think is an example then stuff like this has been around for a very long time.
    Your story reminded me of some of the more avant-garde writings like Slaughter House Five, which is Historical, political, sci-fi and off the wall all rolled into one (sliping through different streams).
    But go back further… it had the tone of a book of short stories I once read… it was my grandmother’s and had been given to her by her mother. Published in the late 1800’s it was by a then not well known writer and contained political satire and humour as well as what were definitely not mainstream writings of the time.
    His name was Edgar Allen Poe and there is nothing new under the sun only new names for old things.
    Yes I come from a very cool family.

  2. Chris says:

    I totally agree! When I wrote “Pyramids” I considered it surrealist. It certainly has elements of that, as well as science fiction. I wanted to create a sense of the disjointed; that something was out of synch between the main character and the rest of the world. Honestly, I would still generally call it that! Nothing new under the sun, indeed.

    Slipstream as a genre loosely defined as post-modernist surrealism… You know, I think of slipstream right now as less of a full blown genre on its own, and more as shorthand for post-modern surrealism with a hint of nihilism! Honestly, more than what the term defines, I like the word itself. “Slipstream.” It sounds very reality-bending. Maybe I am attracted to the marketing aspect of it than what it actually entails! I do like the slipping-through-different-streams line, though. I’m not sure it will actually stabilize as a full blown marketing genre, complete with its own real estate on the bookshelves, and suspect that it will always befound under sci-fi, horror, or just general fiction. When you refuse to define yourself, you get what people give you.

    Poe! Yes, that does make for a very cool family! Poe was amazing, which goes without saying. He inspired Lovecraft, amongst countless others, who in turn inspired me (again, amongst countless others!). I wonder who inspired Poe? I’m sure the line probably goes back to when we all sat around campfires telling strange stories about a largely unknown world. Some things never change!

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