>I’ve just read through the NYT Book Review’s Top 100 list for 2008. I didn’t expect to find any science fiction or fantasy there, of course, especially since William Gibson has evidently stopped writing it. But–lo and behold–there’s an odd Russian novel there called The Sacred Book of the Werewolf. This book has to be considered, by any measure, speculative fiction:
So you don’t have to actually follow the link, I’ll give you the gist: A girl who appears to be a sex worker is actually a werewolf with a sort of magical foxtail who hunts investment bankers by night . . .
My theory, having also read The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Historian, is that mainstream readers secretly long for the fantastic, but are too embarrassed to admit it. So the industry sneaks a few spec fic books into its mainstream lists, and hopes no one will really notice! It’s kind of like snitching your kid’s french fries when no one’s looking.