The The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) appearing on the teevee has once again (for the umpteenth time) prompted the tedious debate of whether the book is "science fiction".
I can't sigh heavily enough. I can't roll my eyes hard enough.
Denying that The Handmaid's Tale is science fiction is nothing but an elitist marketing ploy to avoid the "stigma" of the label. Any other debate is nothing but pompous obfuscation. The publishers simple want money out of the people who only know the genre by the fun, but low-calorie, low-nutrition, movies like Star Wars. That is "science fiction" to those people.
People who do read science fiction place the title in the genre without a second thought. (But most agree that the book doesn't generate much voltage on the imagination power meter.)
A good book is a good book. Choosing one should be like ice cream.
"This is tasty ice cream!"
"Oh, what flavour is it?"
"Oh, I prefer strawberry, myself."
Nobody says "Euww...only the dregs of the geeks eat chocolate!" Nobody sneers a condescending sneer at someone eating butter pecan.
That's how it should be with books. If the quality is there, the flavour is irrelevant and a personal choice.
It's a beautiful dream, but it will never happen. The snobs will only recant when a "Handmaid's Tale Convention" announced, featuring hundreds of fans dressed in homemade costumes lining up for admittance.