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(Did you mean a Kaufman and Tompkins fanzine?)

Mainstream, an adjective, applies to things non-stfnal, non-genre, mundane — things part of the popular culture of the macrocosm.

The term is typically said of books or media, e.g. "Magical realism is typically packaged as mainstream literature rather than fantasy." Or "Science fiction has become increasingly mainstream."

Jack Speer called mainstream literature mundane fiction and defined it, in Fancyclopedia 1, as “that which takes place in the present or the historical past, involving only the operation of known natural laws, and with the events lying within the bounds of what we know happened in the past of our history or is true of the present day,” as opposed to fantasy, which is all fiction that lies outside of any of these boundaries.

Some mainstream authors of sf have very carefully tried to distance themselves from science fiction as a label, notably Kurt Vonnegut, who was extremely rude about it, and Margaret Atwood, while Harlan Ellison tried to use speculative fiction as a term to shoehorn himself into the mainstream category.

The borders between science fiction and mainstream are fuzzier than ever, but people are still arguing about it. There is snobbery on both sides of the divide.

The literati claim, “Science fiction retains a rather juvenile set of associations — ‘heroic captains in black and silver uniform ... mad scientists with nubile daughters,’ as Le Guin put it — that can make readers embarrassed to enjoy it. One way to deal with that embarrassment is to decide that, if you liked it, it’s clearly too good to count as SF,” Sarah Ditum wrote in The Guardian in 2019. Meanwhile, the dyed-in-the-wool stefnists criticize mainstream sf writers for ignoring (or being ignorant of) the genre’s tropes and building blocks.

This is a fanspeak page. Please extend it by adding information about when and by whom it was coined, whether it’s still in use, etc.