Slipstream genre

Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. The term was coined by cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling in an article originally published in SF Eye #5, in 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."[1]


Slipstream fiction has consequently been described as "the fiction of strangeness"[2] or a form of writing that makes "the familiar strange or the strange familiar" through epistemological and ontological questionings about reality.[3] Science fiction authors James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, editors of Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, argue cognitive dissonance is at the heart of slipstream, and it is not so much a genre as a literary effect, like horror or comedy.[4] Similarly, Christopher Priest, in his introduction to Anna Kavan's slipstream novel Ice, writes "the best way to understand slipstream is to think of it as a state of mind or a particular approach, one that is outside of all categorisation. ... slipstream induces a sense of 'otherness' in the audience, like a glimpse into a distorting mirror."[5]