If you treat it as non-fiction, does that make it so?

Rob Heinsoo relates an entertaining anecdote about classifying D&D books, and, I gotta say, it rings true. There are two sorts of books that I never know where they’ll be in the book store, and often have to resort to asking someone: RPG books, and Le Guin’s non-fiction. The former i’ve seen in “games,” “comics,” “fantasy,” “scifi/fantasy,” and occasionally in their own section. And, I suppose, given the fact that they are instruction manuals more than they are narratives, saying “they’re not fiction, so they must be non-fiction” isn’t the most ridiculous decision I’ve seen. Even sorta makes sense–if predicated on a sorta narrow definition of “fiction”. But, I gotta admit, “self help” definitely takes the cake for absurd classification.

As for Le Guin’s non-fiction works, particularly her books of essays, I’ve found them in Women’s Studies, Lit Crit, Memoirs, and filed with her [adult] fiction in Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Fantasy/Science Fiction. (I’ve also found her young-adult and children’s stories filed with her adult SF/fantasy works, but that seems rather less strange, given the fact that they all seem to have a fantastical element, at the least.)


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