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Back 23rd January 2005 Forward

Matt Cheney has a response to a Trent Walters piece about the rules of fiction. I think they are talking slightly at cross purposes but I am more sympathetic towards Cheney's viewpoint. In the comments Harold Torger Vedeler says:

Each of us has a different story to tell, and to restrict how such stories are told both limits them and detracts from the wonderful variety that literature is supposed to represent.
This is my big problem with Walters's Mundane SF movement, that its constraint is overly limiting. On the Mundane SF blog there is a list of:
Writers who may have accidentally committed Mundane SF, pending further review
The coy equivocation grates but what is most troubling is the list of writers themselves. Some like Kim Stanley Robinson clearly do work in the mundane area finding it serves their social and political inclinations well. There are others however who may well have "commited" Mundane SF but who have also produced great works far from its shores: Michael Swanwick's industrial fantasy masterpiece The Iron Dragon's Daughter; Bruce Sterling's postmodern slipstream novel Zeitgeist; Philip Dick's gnostic novels such as VALIS that certainly don't engage with the world through science; Aldiss and Ballard's many stories from the New Wave period that explicitly reject the precursor to Mundane SF; Ryman's own work of magical realism, Was. Why should we privelage and prioritise one type of work by these authors over another? The only answer to this seems to be a vaguely defined moral obligation to direct all one's energy as an artist to the socio-political problems of the world. This is not something I can agree with.

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Back 23rd January 2005 Forward