Often, it isn't a question of the writer's being snobbish about their own book. It's a question of their not wanting the book's readership and ad campaign to be marginalized, particularly if they intended
the book for a larger audience from the beginning -- one which includes science fiction readers without being confined to them exclusively.
Then, too, if a book is "clearly science fiction" (as you put it) but the writer was concerned with focusing on some aspect of present society and culture or exploring the ramifications of preexisting ones, I don't blame them at all for wanting to talk about that and nothing else. SF lends itself particularly well to satire, parable and cultural criticism. And if a book takes a meta approach to genre, I don't blame an author for wanting to clarify they take up the lens of SF here and the western or detective novel there, but the book itself is meant to explore something larger. Seen without prejudice, genre is merely a limitation of subject, theme, unities, conventions and/or kinds of characters. Saying that something you've written doesn't follow the circumscriptions of a given genre is hardly a condemnation of the genre itself.
Every work of fiction involves an acceptance of certain limitations and a rejection of others.
What would you call Calvino's Cosmicomics
and T Zero
? For all I know, he called the books SF even when his publishers did not. But if he called them something else, I can see the justification for that as well.
When Joss Whedon was asked whether he intended Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be for a larger audience or a specialized one, he said it was "made for the zeitgeist" from inception. Given the scope of cultural references in that show, its paradigmatic setup of young adulthood as existing in a state of enforced purgatory, and its satire of the undermining of personal identity in mass culture, I can see why he didn't think of the show or its audience as confined to the vampire genre he was exploring even as he respected and enjoyed that genre himself.
Originally Posted by Crowl
The thing I find worse than people who are snobby about what somebody is reading are those authors who try to deny their book is in a particular genre as they are snobby about that, it is something that you see particularly often when it comes to books that are clearly scifi and then an author or reviewer tries to use some convoluted argument for why it is something else.