Colson Whitehead's new novel is a zombie story. Whitehead is, of course, a favorite around these parts. Here he is looking at the import of high/low collaborations:
What do "literary" fiction and "genre" fiction mean to you? Are these terms helpful to you as a writer, or are they just methods of bookstore organization?They don't mean anything to me. They're useful for bookstores, obviously. They're useful for fans. You can figure out what's coming out in the same style of other books you like. But as a writer they have no use for me in my day-to-day work experience. I was inspired to become a writer by horror movies and science fiction. The fantastic effects of magic realism, Garcia Marquez, the crazy, absurd landscapes of Beckett--to me, they're just variations on the fantasy books I grew up on. Waiting for Godot takes place on a weird asteroid heading towards the sun, that's how I see it. It's not a real place--it's a fantastic place. So what makes it different from a small planet in outer space? What makes it different from a post-apocalyptic landscape? Not much in my mind.