Defending SF

Michael Chabon Attacks Prejudice Against Science Fiction | Underwire |

Author Michael Chabon co-wrote the script for John Carter. Photo: Jennnifer Chaney

Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Chabon writes a dizzying variety of fiction, from contemporary realism to supernatural horror to alternate history. His most recent project, however, was crafting the screenplay for Disney’s John Carter, which was something else entirely.

But his work wasn’t always so varied. His early novels and stories are uniformly realistic. “I wondered about that,” says Chabon in this week’s episode of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Why does my backlist look so monochromatic, when the spectrum of my reading is so multicolored?”

His father raised him on superhero comics, and at the age of 11 Chabon developed such an intense obsession with Edgar Rice Burroughs , the creator of John Carter, that he took to signing his name “Mike Burroughs Chabon.” But when he began college, he found that writing workshops required him to rein in his imagination.

“I had workshop leaders who just out-and-out said, ‘Please do not turn science fiction in to this workshop,’” he says. “That was discouraging, obviously. If I had had more courage or integrity I might have stood up to it more than I did.”

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