Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

27 views
Random Chatter > SFF Canon - Is There Such a Thing?

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (last edited Aug 30, 2020 01:29AM) (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3767 comments Mod
Another actively discussed topic, partially related to Retro Hugos, is whether such a thing as SFF canon exists and whether it should

Here are the posts of Nina Allan, Aidan Moher and John Scalzi on the subject.

What do you think?


message 2: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3767 comments Mod
There is a nice article by Chris Nuttall in Amazing that sums up my view of the subject quite well
https://amazingstories.com/2020/09/so...


message 3: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 546 comments This is an opinion I can sign!


message 4: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
A very accurate description of the genre's canon.
Haters will find counterarguments but every hating something for seemingly correct reasons still makes you a hater.


message 5: by TomK2 (new)

TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Kinda takes some of the fun out of it, if you ask me. I was just reviewing some Greek Mythology, and I was thinking that this stuff was really the original fantasy. But if it was put into the fantasy genre instead of the mythology genre, it would be widely condemned! LOL.


message 6: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3767 comments Mod
TomK2 wrote: "I was just reviewing some Greek Mythology, and I was thinking that this stuff was really the original fantasy. "

Yes putting works into boxes (genres) is hard, esp. if they belong to more than one. It is hard to put a clear divide between myth, fairy tale and fantasy.


message 7: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2132 comments Mod
Just prior to joining this group and using GR extensively, I resolved to step up my reading, and to have a working reading list, I gathered several “top 100” and “best of” lists from various web sites. I went through some ranking gyrations to compile a final composite top 100. (All of this is in my customized version of the master spreadsheet.)

There are a couple aspects of these results that I think defy the notion of SF canon. One is that the lists vary widely; there are many notable titles that are on only one or two lists. To me, this indicates a lot of differing opinions & viewpoints over what might constitute canon. It’s not solidly consistent. Secondly, one might think that the list of Hugo & Nebula winners, including Retros in this context, would form the central core of canon. This is not the case though; there many titles on these various lists, many so-called classics that have something significant about them, that never saw H/N nominations. If they didn’t make the short list, how could they be considered canonical? I use the example of JG Ballard, who wrote such notable works as High Rise, The Drowned World, Crash & The Atrocity Exhibition. I’ve noted this before. I keep finding books whose descriptions and often their wikis note their high status, yet they never won anything.

I can only conclude that SF canon is not a real thing. Readers pick up whatever appeals to them and that might be all over the map or it might be restricted. There are many views on what’s considered classics, including those who don’t care if they read them.


message 8: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3767 comments Mod
A very nice comment, Allan. However, I guess it is better to say that there is no universal canon in SFF, but there are individual ones, which led to the creation of above mentioned lists. Also maybe SFF is just too wide and diverse, so while no SFF canon, there can be sub-genre canons on which the majority agrees, like having The Time Machine in time-travel canon or The Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King as epic fantasy canon. Still, important to note that a reader can enjoy the sub-genre w/o reading canon works, but they to a some extent set up the sub-genre


message 9: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
I agree with what the both of you are saying. However I feel like I have to point out that technically it is impossible to deny the existence of sci-fi canon without assuming that every time-travel novel stems from an isolated imagination.

Then again some may fight against the actual term "canon" which to begin with is not an entirely accurate description of what is being talked about, we just all happen to agree on one of the word's meanings.


back to top