Slipstream (genre)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction/fantasy and mainstream literary fiction.

The term slipstream was coined by cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling in an article originally published in SF Eye #5, July 1989. He wrote: "...this is a kind of writing which simply makes you feel very strange; the way that living in the twentieth century makes you feel, if you are a person of a certain sensibility." Slipstream fiction has consequently been referred to as "the fiction of strangeness," which is as clear a definition as any others in wide use. Science fiction authors James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, editors of Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, argue that cognitive dissonance is at the heart of slipstream, and that it is not so much a genre as a literary effect, like horror or comedy.

Slipstream falls between speculative fiction and mainstream fiction. While some slipstream novels employ elements of science fiction or fantasy, not all do. The common unifying factor of these pieces of literature is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely-real, or the markedly anti-real.

In 2007, the first London Literature Festival at the Royal Festival Hall held a Slipstream night chaired by Toby Litt and featuring the British authors Steven Hall and Scarlett Thomas.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Slipstream (genre)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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