BVC’s own Ursula K. Le Guin and Michael Cunningham talk about what’s going on with fiction in this dialogue at Electric Lit.
Here are a couple of quotes to whet your appetite:
I feel like the most prominent aspect of this period is what I suppose I’ll call “broadening.”
Broadening in the sense of a much larger collective conviction about who’s entitled to tell stories, what stories are worth telling, and who among the storytellers gets taken seriously.
There are very real differences between science fiction and realistic fiction, between horror and fantasy, between romance and mystery. Differences in writing them, in reading them, in criticizing them. Vive les différences! They’re what gives each genre its singular flavor and savor, its particular interest for the reader—and the writer.
But when the characteristics of a genre are controlled, systematized, and insisted upon by publishers, or editors, or critics, they become limitations rather than possibilities. Salability, repeatability, expectability replace quality.