Appropriately, this issue begins with Jan Wildt’s brief but interesting essay on the intersection between mainstream literature and science fiction. Justifiably vaunted writers such as Pynchon, Vidal, Atwood and Lethem have been shortlisted for the Nebula Award, yet few would label them as SF writers. Does genre fiction deserve a different standing in our contemporary canon?
Among the selections, Joseph A. Ezzo’s “The Strange Summer of Duke Bogardis” unfolds as pleasantly as a vacation, depicting the lamentable lives of two batting cage rats who rob tourists for a living. One of them, Graylin, athleticism running on fumes, finally finds a true challenger to his hitting prowess. Especially delightful is the way Ezzo crafts the first person narrator’s voice, immersing us in the milieu of those who live year-round around an ever-rotating cast of tourists. John Rubins’s “The Third War of Information” presents an experiment in perspective and tense, while Paul Walther’s “Splitfoot” boosts the horror quotient, illuminating the dangers of what happens when you don’t believe what’s taking place in front of you. Anil Menon’s story “Dialethia” takes full advantage of the editors’ cross-genre ambitions, managing to utilize mathematics in the same way science fiction uses science, possibly creating a new genre. And, finally, Jaime Corbacho’s “Honeymoon” begins as a straight literary story and evolves into a primal look at what humans may have lost after leaving the jungle and gaining civilization. Picking up a literary journal, readers are usually pretty clear what kind of stories they can find tucked between the covers. However, the stories lurking between the covers of New Genre are a horror/SF wolf in literary clothing that seeks to broaden the definition of both traditions.