Interfictions 2 was designed not only as an anthology of genre-bending, boundary-crossing stories, but also as a text for literature and fiction classes and as a snapshot of possible ways in which literature develops new forms. To that end, editors Christopher Barzak and Delia Sherman, with author Carlos Hernadez and publishers Small Beer Press, have created a free, 16-page Study Guide for Interfictions 2.
This Study Guide provides questions on Henry Jenkins’ remarkable theoretical introduction On the Pleasures of Not Belonging, as well as four questions to encourage discussion about each story, focusing on its interstitial qualities. The last section features a series of questions aimed at working towards other theories of interstitiality, followed by a list of 40 additional texts recommended for Further Reading.
From the Study Guide’s introduction:
There has always been writing that is hard or impossible to classify, from Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy and Denis Diderot’s Jacques And His Master to Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. Sometimes such a work finds its way to readers from the genre side of the Great Literary Divide and sometimes from the literary side, but the earmarks are the same. An interstitial piece draws its inspiration, its form, and its conventions from several formal literary genres, creating a work that forces a reader how to approach it on its own unique terms.
By its very nature, interstitial writing is hard to pin down, especially as genres tend to grow up around very popular interstitial works. For instance, the current “urban fantasy” trend began with the popularity of Laurel K. Hamilton and Charlene Harris: very different meldings of the tropes of mystery, romance, paranormal, and regional fiction. When they first came out, there was nothing else like them. Now, “paranormal romance” and “urban fantasy” are recognizable marketing categories that have spawned subgenres of their own. However, certain books, both classic (like Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy) and contemporary (like Jeanette Winterson’s Art and Lies) will always be difficult, if not impossible, to categorize neatly.
How to Order Interfictions 2
Interfictions 2 is now available from Small Beer Press, Powell’s and Amazon, and via IndieBound. The book was published on November 3rd, 2009 from Small Beer Press and was named one of Amazon.com’s Top 10 Books of 2009: Science Fiction & Fantasy.
Those interested in teaching Interfictions 2 are encouraged to request an exam or desk copy.