Can Science Fiction Be a Sub-genre of Boomer Lit?


Last week I asked our Boomer Lit Goodreads Group: can science fiction, a fantasy genre normally set in the future, be considered a sub-genre of Boomer Lit? That started an interesting discussion.

I maintained it could, someone else called David disagreed. I argued that not all of Science Fiction falls under Boomer Lit, to maintain that would be silly. But certainly some of it, the kind of Science Fiction stories that place aging and death front and center just as Boomer Lit does. Books that ask how our society will handle aging and death in future.

As anyone who read our Friday Boomer Lit Blog Hop last week knows, I've just published a new book, a serial novel à la WOOL (the famous Sci-Fi best-seller that is seen by many as a successor to 50 Shades of Grey). Called 2213: Forever Young, it is set in a time when scientific advances have solved the problem of aging. In Part One, I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU BEHIND, beautiful Emma who's 122 years old learns her time is up. She's going to die within the next 10 hours...but she's in love with a handsome 99Percenter, a Swiss ski instructor who doesn't know how old she is. They are madly in love, but now what will she do?

Curious? You can get the book here, it's currently available at the promotional price of 99 cents (hurry, won't last long!) and I shall shortly give you a further snippet, as required by the rules of our blog hop. For more snippets of great Boomer Lit reads, go to http://boomerlitfriday.blogspot.it

Before you go there, let me tell you what a fellow Group member called David said, he strongly disagreed with me and I think our exchange illuminates the definition and confines of Boomer Lit:

Claude: Can we seriously consider Boomer Lit a book where NONE of the protagonists are boomers? I think we can. Boomer Lit is a frame of mind that's why I went ahead and classified 2213:Forever Young as "Boomer Lit Science Fiction"

David: With all due respect, being a Baby Boomer is not a frame of mind. It defines a specific period of time in our history. It is my opinion that Boomer Lit needs to have at the stories core, a protagonist, antagonist or group of people that meets the definition of being a Baby Boomer. I may be in the minority but Boomer Lit is written by boomers and so, the authors experiences find their way into the stories. It is something the boomers and often their children, can relate to.

Claude: Ah, you're for a strict definition of Boomer Lit! Good, here we have disagreement, I love that! My argument is that if science fiction deals with issues of immediate, profound interest to boomers,like in the case of 2213:Forever Young that deals with aging and death, then it is boomer lit...even if it is also Science Fiction. The whole story takes place 200 years from now, but the issues are Boomer Lit issues!

David: Could you then apply that definition to King Lear. It deals with aging and death...and madness. lol. My point is that just because a book deals with issues of interest to Baby Boomers that in itself, in my opinion of course, does not meet the standard of being Boomer Lit. 

I thought his comments were extremely interesting, here we found ourselves standing at the very confines of Boomer Lit. Can ANY piece of Science Fiction be considered Boomer Lit? I maintain that if the central issues of that said piece are those of Boomer Lit, then it is Boomer Lit. King Lear, in my view, is simply Boomer Lit ante litteram. There is such a thing or you wouldn't have a Latin sentence for it!

It just so happens that with a whole society aging suddenly - and it is inevitably sudden, after all it's a wave: baby boomers were a "bulge" of births in the otherwise smooth demographic trends - then something happens. There are tears in the cultural fabric that is suddenly overstretched. There is a sudden, renewed, intense interest in matters that King Lear deals with: aging, death and madness. Yes, madness too - senile dementia, Alzheimer's to use today's medical terms. 

After all, baby boomers represent about 28% of the total American population, a huge proportion and they control 75% of American wealth. This is a big market and one that reads and as they retire (at the rate of 10,000/day) they have increasingly time on their hands to read...Why would they not be interested in the fate of modern King Lears or of future ones?

And now, for another quick snippet from 2213: Forever Young:

Staring at my face, familiar and unchanged for a hundred years, I suppose I should have felt grateful there was not the slightest sign of damage from aging. Yet for the first time I regretted it. If only I had had some kind of warning. Time to prepare for Death like my mother had.  But no, I had lived my life fully to the very last day, as if it would go on forever.

How could I’ve ever believed it wouldn’t stop? Looking young and feeling young had made me forget that we are all mortals.

And my love for him? What would happen now?


Let me know what you think. Can this book be considered Boomer Lit?



Enhanced by Zemanta
8