Quotes / Sci-Fi Ghetto

"SF's no good", they bellow 'til we're deaf,
"But this looks good."
"Well, then, it's not SF."
Robert Conquest

It is not interesting enough for the general reader, and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.
— Publisher rejecting H. G. Wells' The Time Machine

The whole association of fairy tale and fantasy with children is local and accidental. I hope everyone has read Tolkien's essay on Fairy Tales which is perhaps the most important contribution to this subject that anyone has yet made. If so, you will know already that, in most places and times, the fairy tale has not been specifically made for, nor exclusively enjoyed by children. It has gravitated to the nursery when it became unfashionable in literary circles, just as unfashionable furniture gravitated to the nursery in Victorian homes.
C. S. Lewis, On Three Ways of Writing For Children

English people of the present day are apt, I know not why, to look somewhat down on incident, and reserve their admiration for the clink of teaspoons and the accents of the curate. It is thought clever to write a story with no plot at all, or at least with a very dull one.

It is far easier to believe in a million fairy tales than to believe in one man who does not like fairy tales. I would rather kiss Grimm instead of a Bible and swear to all his stories as if they were thirty-nine articles than say seriously and out of my heart that there can be such a man as you; that you are not some temptation of the devil or some delusion from the void. Look at these plain, homely, practical words. 'The Dragon's Grandmother,' that is all right; that is rational almost to the verge of rationalism. If there was a dragon, he had a grandmother... Can you not see that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and straightforwards; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is in its nature essentially incredible?
G. K. Chesterton responding to a critic who believed fairy tales were for children, "The Dragon's Grandmother"

I don't write fantasy novels. I write stories with important human themes.

I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled 'science fiction' ever since [publishing Player Piano], and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.

You have a murder mystery up there, you have a horror book up there, you have all kinds of genres on the bestseller shelf, why not Terry Pratchett's book? And the response was 'we don't let them out of the science fiction section'.
Terry Pratchett (quoting his literary agent), interview with Mark Lawson.

I sunk into a proper old gloom. I didn’t even tell you about it because it was foul. Peter Morgan is such a fine writer, damn him. His Longford script is so fine and subtle, so deceptively simple, heartbreaking and true, and I was so powerfully jealous. I thought, I’m sitting here typing 'INT. SPACESHIP'. What am I doing with my career? The answer is, having a wonderful time, with absolute freedom, I know, I know. All the same, looking at Longford, the real tick and bat and pulse that goes on between people, the sheer epic quality of ordinary life, even the lives of Lords and murderers, made me ache... That’s why I turned down the opportunity to meet George Lucas the other day. The thought of more years typing ‘Int. Spaceship’ and playing with other people’s toys…
Russell T. Davies (yes, that one), The Writer's Tale

Patrick said to me, 'You used to be in Doctor Who didn't you?' and I said 'Yes, I still am actually,' and he said 'why do you do all this television, why don't you do proper stuff like theatre?,' and I said 'Well I love it actually, I love doing Doctor Who.' 'But science fiction, I mean why would you want to do science fiction?' I said, 'I don't know — I think partly because you learn so much technical stuff, it's really interesting,' and he said 'Oh, I wouldn't want to do that sort of stuff.'
Lalla Ward on working with Patrick Stewart

In the days leading up to the pilot episode airing, we were doing a lot of press, and I became increasingly irritated by the suggestion from the media, that given my my background with the Royal Shakespeare Company, that I was in a sense ‘slumming’ by doing this syndicated science-fiction television series. Until one day I lost control and I said "listen no only am I proud and delighted to be playing the captain of the Enterprise, but all those years of working for the Royal Shakespeare Company which you have referred to again and again, sitting in the throne of England, was nothing but a preparation of sitting in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise.
Patrick Stewart

I have nothing to say about it. I did that years ago and I mostly denied I ever did it...Otherwise, all I would get would be Star Trek questions for the rest of my natural life — and probably my unnatural life. You ever see those people who are Star Trek fans? The same people who go to swap meets.
Teri Garr (right before hanging up the phone) in an interview with Starlog

[The Handmaid's Tale] is certainly not science fiction. Science fiction has Martians and space travel to other planets and things like that.

Here is a woman so terrified of sf-cooties that she'll happily redefine the entire genre for no other reason than to exclude herself from it.

I'm not saying anything new here, but mainstream fantasy tends to be a socially conservative genre. Go grab any of the obvious Moorcock or Mieville essays, and I'll basically agree with them. And frankly? Science Fiction writers are just much cooler. I tended to think of myself as a speculative fiction writer until a particularly wise ex called me on my bullshit. If your speculations are basically "what if music were magic?" you're a bloody fantasy writer, dick.

The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular.
Tim Brooks, an executive at the channel now known as Syfy.

Speaking of desperate pleas for legitimacy, the first dialogue of the movie: "This is no fantasy… no careless product of wild imagination."
Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Superman

Also departing in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth" was Carole Ann Ford’s character of Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter. Ford was frustrated with her character’s collapse into generic peril monkey, and wanted to pursue meatier dramatic roles, which, as was the fate of most Doctor Who supporting cast members, never really panned out.

A chastity belt is a harness that is made to fit around the waist, blocking access to the naughty parts, thus preventing sex. Kinda like wearing a Star Trek belt.

This is not a criticism of this episode but of the sort of people that suggest that because this is an episode of Star Trek this isn’t a drama that is entering dark territory like ‘real life’ dramas do. The horrendously underwritten and overpriced Trek review book Final Frontier suggests this and it made me want to use the breeze block of a book and use it for toilet paper but I wouldn’t assail my arse with such disagreeable scribblings... We’re not talking about one planet but an entire Quadrant. One man's soul is the tipping point between saving billions of lives and throwing them away.
Joe Ford on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "In the Pale Moonlight"

Pssh. I still can't believe that there were aliens in what was clearly supposed to be the next Once Upon a Time in the West. I'm sorry, but the stick up my ass prohibits me from enjoying a movie called Cowboys & Aliens.
The Cinema Snob, mocking pretentious film critics

There's no denying the truth of it. These assholes gave a Best Picture award to Titanic, a loud, big budget film depending on overcoming technical difficulties and populated by character ciphers that broke all box office records, but gave half as many awards and no Best Picture to Star Wars, a loud, big budget film depending not only on overcoming technical difficulties, but pioneering the techniques that other films would use to overcome them, populated by character archetypes that broke all box office records, and helped to shape many aspects of the film industry. They also snubbed the classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind that same year. And let's take 1982, where we had E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, that drove critics to compare Steven Spielberg to Renoir for the incredible achievements of his film, and then gave the award to Gandhi. Why Gandhi? Well, the same reason Titanic won, because at that age, only a bit of historical pathos can cause these twisted old farts to achieve an erection.
SFDebris, introduction to RedDwarf

I know, I know, the term all the smart people are using these days is "post-modernist" or "magical realist," but those phrases are bullshit. They're parsley on a Hot Pocket: They exist only for pretentious folk to try to fancy up something they like but think is beneath them.

BBC Exec: Science Fiction — is it really that popular?
Sydney Newman: Last time I looked.
BBC Exec: For the juvenile boys, perhaps.
Sydney Newman: (under his breath) I like it...

"Science fiction is the lowest of all possible literary genres," said ICE-500 into the hover-mic, as he slowly rolled past the vast hordes of mutant alien book critics.
Justin Goudey, Newton, NJ, The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2016