belonging to or characteristic of the dominant or traditional literary modes, especially representational fiction
For the purposes of discussion we shall define mainstream fiction as any fiction which is not fantasy or science fiction, an arbitrary distinction made in the interests of clarity.
In its crystal-clear prose, its intense human warmth and its depth of psychological probing, it is a first-rate ‘straight’ novel; its ingenious use of telepathy, psychokinesis and other ‘psi’ powers make it admirable science-fantasy; and the adroit plotting and ceaseless surge of action qualify it as a distinguished suspense story. Symbiotically, these factors add up to more than their sum—add up, indeed, to one of the most impressive proofs yet of the possibility of science fiction as a part of mainstream literature.
Three of the best are the result of a serious attempt to graft the mainstream short story onto science fiction.
‘With These Hands’ is merely the lament for handcraftsmanship—already a cliche in the mainstream story—which Kornbluth has translated from book-binding to sculpture.
R. Moore in R. Bretnor's 'Modern Science Fiction'
Earliest cite in OED2: 1958. Earliest cite in OED3: 1955.
Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.