If anyone has any doubt that genre fiction has crossed over — not just into the mainstream but also into more alternative corners of the culture — New York’s St. Marks Bookshop offers indisputable proof. I made a quick visit there this morning, and a good half of the featured new and noteworthy titles were mystery and science fiction: Walter Mosley’s “Blonde Faith,” the anthologies “Manhattan Noir 2” and “Steampunk” — all on the shelves where volumes of Lacan and Derrida used to preside.
Don’t get me wrong: St. Mark’s hasn’t dumbed it down, just widened the lens.
This, it seems to me, is the real draw of books — not escapism but real (if temporary) escape. If the scene at St. Mark’s this morning is any indication, I’m not the only one who needs that in the midst of these confusing days.