What do these critics and academics even mean when they call adult literature serious? This descriptor gets thrown around but never defined. Were I to make the same reductive assessment of all adult literature that the genre’s critics make of YA fiction, then the serious novel would be about a middle-aged person struggling with career collapse and sexual frustration. I don’t want to belittle these topics, but they’re only serious to sexually frustrated middle-aged people, coincidentally being the same narrow demographic that adult literature seems to serve. And they clearly don’t read as many books as their kids.
It amazes me that supposed experts in critical theory, textual analysis and semiotics cannot for the life of them recognize the use and societal relevance of large-scale allegory and metaphor in works of sf or YA. It’s almost like they, say, are a little biased. But that couldn’t be, right?
Do read the Guardian piece, though. The conclusion is just great.