She uses the term "mimetic fiction" to refer to all that other stuff, which immediately makes me like her argument more. (It's a term I like to use myself, in part because -- as Claire points out -- it yokes together a whole bunch of disparate genres like Western and bildungsroman, romance and kitchen-sink drama.)
However, I do think any flat map will somewhat misinterpret the territory, and I have some mild complaints about this one. Putting Spec Fic in the middle is a nice trick for pedagogical purposes, but I don't think a bull's-eye is the right shape to begin with. (On a more minor point, I'll add that Alternate History can be Fantasy as easily as it can be SF -- and, as practiced under the name "counterfactual" by historians, can also be even more like non-fiction.)
I generally prefer to pull out two or three axes (not binary choices, but continua along which a work can fall) at a time -- there are probably at least a dozen that could interestingly sub-divide the world of literature -- and use those to present any particular case, while being clear that any such interpretation is a very simplified view.
Some of those possible axes include:
- Fiction vs. Non-fiction
Question for Discussion: Place the work of James Frey, and modern "memoirs" in general, on this axis.
- Prose vs. Poetry
Not always either/or as well; many of Shakespeare's plays contain both. And some kinds of poetry are more prose-y than others (and vice versa).
- Mimesis vs. Speculation
- Plausible vs. Impossible
This incorporates the SF/Fantasy dichotomy, but can be expanded -- satire often ranges far out into the realms of the impossible, as does metafiction.
- Literary vs. Popular
- Comedy vs. Tragedy
- Historical vs. Contemporary
If there was a single word that encompassed past and future history, I'd use it here -- the world-building and estrangement of historical fiction can be closely related to the same skills in SF. I do intend to include both in "historical."
- Romance vs. Nihilism
So, thanks, Claire, for making me think about this yet again, and inciting me to try to define what I really think about the subject.