01 October 2004

A shortsighted, self-satisfied literary snob—the kind that refuses to see the value in any work that he (it's almost always he) wouldn't choose to write—has a long, overdone essay up in Saturday's Guardian on the revival of the short story. I can tell the he definitely doesn't read any speculative fiction, where short fiction frequently includes masterworks of equal value to whatever the "mainstream" is producing—and, as far as the late 1980s through 1990s "major" magazines in this country went, the best of short speculative fiction was of greater value and quality than the best of short mainstream fiction.

Leaving aside the snobbery and "not invented here" syndrome, I suggest that Mr Boyd educate himself by reading some collections from Ted Chiang, Ursula Le Guin (who even many outside the field recognize as a truly outstanding writer), Gene Wolfe, and Harlan Ellison (and I'd say that even if he wasn't my client). He might find some pleasant surprises; but, in the best of all possible worlds, these would not be surprises, because he would not have prejudged the books by the rocket ships on the covers. (Well, none of these actually have a rocket ship, but still…)

Of course, this is not the best of all possible worlds.