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Slipstream SF

Entry updated 10 August 2012. Tagged: Theme.

A term devised, apparently by Bruce Sterling – in part as a pun on, or echo of, Mainstream – to designate stories which make use of sf devices but which are not Genre SF. The image is either nautical or aeronautical: a ship or an airplane (either of which stands for genre sf) can create a slipstream which may be strong enough to give non-paying passengers (Paul Theroux, say) a ride. As a description of commercial piggybacking, the term seems apt; however, when used to designate the whole range of non-genre sf here called Fabulation (which see for discussion), the term – which implies a relationship of dependency – can seem derogatory. [JC]

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