Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Doris Lessing--Nobel Prize

I didn't feel, initially, that I'd have to say anything about Doris Lessing winning the Nobel Prize...it's the Nobel Prize, after all. Surely everyone knows. And this is an author who wrote science fiction, so certainly her winning should be sparking some dialogue here and there within the SF Internet community, right? Well, nothing I've seen so far. Now a part of me says my basic stance on literature, on speculative fiction, etc. means I shouldn't be making any bigger deal out of this than any other Nobel winner. I don't consider my allegiance necessarily to SF as a genre but to great writing regardless of genres and labels. I personally am more likely to prefer the speculative works, but that's where my allegiance is there, to the speculation whether it gets labeled as genre or not. But I guess my response to myself is that we should be paying attention to the Nobel Prize winner every year anyway--so why does no one even bring it up?

To be honest, I read (part of ) Lessing's Canopus in Argos series earlier this year and didn't care for it, and that's the work that's most clearly science fiction. But I read another of her books a few years ago--The Fifth Child--and enjoyed it. It's certainly speculative...though just as certainly doesn't belong classified with other genre works. It's probably closest to horror, I suppose, which is usually a type of story I don't like as much. I'm far from qualified to give an in-depth response to her winning or analysis of her writing. But I'm just disappointed that the Nobel Prize for literature (any year) goes by with so little acknowledgment in the speculative community. So now at least you're aware of her win. What you do with that is up to you.

3 comments:

Fred said...

Little acknowledgment? Really? I'd say the speculative community has been falling over itself to acknowledge Lessing's win and mention that she's "one of us"-- even though her science fiction works, by many accounts, aren't terribly good. (The Golden Notebook, by comparison, is supposed to be much better. I've sadly never read any Lessing.)

Maybe I'm just hanging out in a different corner of the community.

Daniel Ausema said...

Huh, I guess we must be hanging out in different corners of the Internet. Funny. "One of us"--I hate that. It just perpetuates the us vs. them mentality that's too strong as it is.

Fred said...

Well, I'm over-generalizing, but I've definitely seen choruses of "A science fiction writer won the Nobel! A science fiction writer won the Nobel!"

I've got to say, I think I maybe prefer Lessing's reaction.