Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir Sci-fi

From: Richard Moore (
Date: 26 Oct 2007

The term "sci-fi" is associated with Forest J. Ackerman, creator of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, who has promoted the use of the term for the last six decades. In the 1950s, "sci-fi" became identified with bad quality as in the grade-Z movies Ackerman often ballyhooed. Some top critics (Damon Knight for one) only used the term sci-fi when reviewing the most juvenile drek. Within the science fiction professional world, sci-fi became synonymous with poor quality.

If you Google "sci-fi + pejorative" you will get more than 30,000 hits and I imagine many more are out there under other combinations.

I don't feel strongly about it myself but some do. I found a fairly recent interview with writer Mike Resnick where he corrected an interviewer's use of the term saying that he was among the 90% of science fiction writers and editors who considered it a pejorative.

Richard Moore

--- In, DJ-Anonyme@... wrote:
> Richard wrote:
> ". . . sorry but the term "Sci-fi" is considered by some to be a
> pejorative . . ."
> I've heard this, but not being much of an SF reader, I've never
> understood why. I do understand why some might prefer the label
> Speculative Fiction because Sci Fi is too confining a term,
leaving out
> many of the subgenres, in much the same way Crime Fiction is
> by many over Mysteries (which seem from the inside to describe
> whodunnits, but not so much whydunnits). However, I don't
> why it's seen as insulting. Is it thought of as dismissive?
> Mark

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 26 Oct 2007 EDT