That’s the unpublished title for this review I wrote for Strange Horizons that came out last week. This review is long overdue, because the SF community’s neglect of Unbearable Splendor, to me, represents that weird, nonsensical disconnect and closed-mindedness that’s so prevalent among SF readers, reviewers, and publishers. That closed-mindedness is a phenomenon I and others had been commenting on throughout last year’s Shadow Clarke proceedings, and long before that, in decades of SF conversation and controversy.
Unbearable Splendor is a work that’s brilliant, exciting, very SF-y, but because it’s so unusual and does not conform to the language style and publishing format SF readers are used to reading, it bypassed all SF discussion last year. Thankfully, non-genre readers weren’t so biased, and it eventually caught my attention.
I’m not arguing that it should be a Hugo winner or anything like that (oh, but I am! and it should!), but dammit, how can it even be ignored? It’s a work that excites me and I hope SF writers will take note and recognize the value of electric prose, radical thought, literary fusion, and nonconformist style in SF publishing. I haven’t read or watched nearly as much SF as most of you, but I’m bored already. (And I just spent the past few months reading a big girl literary shortlist and, nope, that’s not where I want to be either.)
C’mon, SF. Getcha head outta ya ass.