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This Business of Publishing by Richard Curtis

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22

The Two Worlds of Literature

 

ABOUT ONCE A DECADE, SOME member of the intelligentsia launches an attack on one literary genre or another, setting off vitriolic debate about the legitimacy of popular fiction. Perhaps the most famous of these outbursts was critic Edmund Wilson's assault on mystery literature, "Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?" In October 1985, the conflict fulminated again with a particularly nasty broadside aimed at science fiction and published in Harper's magazine. The writer termed the genre "detritus" and "the domain of hobbyists and hacks," and argued that "science fiction has become a dead zone useful for dumping space travel, extraterrestrials, weird inventions, time warps, extrasensory perception, biological mutations, ...

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