On Being Labelled

I found this excerpt, from a Bryan Appleyard piece on science fiction, to be quite telling:

In the 1970s, Kingsley Amis, Arthur C Clarke and Brian Aldiss were judging a contest for the best science-fiction novel of the year. They were going to give the prize to Grimus, Salman Rushdie’s first novel. At the last minute, however, the publishers withdrew the book from the award. They didn’t want Grimus on the SF shelves. “Had it won,” Aldiss, the wry, 82-year-old godfather of British SF, observes, “he would have been labelled a science-fiction writer, and nobody would have heard of him again.”

Well, who knows, buoyed by the award, Rushdie might well have gone on to write Midnight’s Cyborgs. Wouldn’t that have been such fun?