Author John Crowley is interviewed by Ed Halter in the new issue of The Believer, on newsstands now.
"Crowley’s skill at transcending genre has had its pitfalls, too, as illustrated in the publishing saga of the Ægypt cycle, his four-volume opus that navigates through both the intricate romantic affairs of an Aquarian-age cluster of upstate New Yorkers and an occult re-reading of Western history. Though the original books were slowly released over two decades by various publishing houses—some parts marketed as fantasy novels, others more as literary fiction—a complete, definitive edition of the series was finally published between 2007 and 2009 by Overlook Press."
THE BELIEVER: Your novels exist somewhere between fantasy and science fiction and naturalistic fiction. Do you have any interest in the way the term slipstream has been circulating in the last few years to describe this kind of moving among genres? Would you ever think of yourself as a slipstream writer?
JOHN CROWLEY: I think this is something for critics to determine rather than for writers to do. I mean, I just write books. If they have names for them, the names can seem more or less convincing to me. I think the difficulty with slipstream and interstitial fiction and all those kinds of terms is that they tend to be used only by people who are in one of those sub-branches of fiction. They’re used by genre writers who are interested in adopting mainstream techniques or adopting mainstream values or getting mainstream readers to read their books. You will notice that it’s mostly genre writers who even use the word mainstream. Mainstream writers don’t use the word mainstream—they don’t know there’s a mainstream and these tributaries or whatever they are.