Jeff VanderMeer lamenting the state of fantasy short fiction


…the more I’ve thought about it, the more I feel that my general apathy when reading a lot of fantasy short fiction today comes from finding in it a profoundly disturbing, if sturdy, middle class professionalism. The magazines and anthologies are dominated by what I’d call centrist fiction that simply drowns in competence. It’s good – it’s just not great. It’s clever – it’s just not trying to do more, or it does reach for more, but in familiar ways…. Words for what I was reading were more like twee, comfortable, recycled, reasonable, well-rounded, whimsical, unoriginal, well-behaved, and fuzzy.

With all due respect to Jeff VanderMeer, who I assume is a talented writer, the problem with VanderMeer’s thoughts on the matter is that his post is as weak as the fiction he decries: It’s essentially “twee, comfortable, recycled, reasonable, well-rounded, whimsical, unoriginal, well-behaved, and fuzzy” – quite far from what he would like to see, fiction that is “rough and wild and pushing and punk and visionary” – let alone even more culturally vital fictive art.

Who will publish renegade, progressive, even revolutionary fantasy fiction like the examples below? Here’s an entire issue for free of such fiction, new fiction – plus more at Tropetopia:

Liberation Lit – short fantasy

Plan USA
A Pragmatic Policy
Error Incorporated
Killing Private Aaron
The Publisher
Slide to Barbarity

Remedial Crucifixion

The Shape of Tomorrow – Deadline Iraq

Liberation Lit – criticism

Orwell’s Problem and Partisan Fiction [with links, clear quotes, see here]
Progressive Political Fiction 
Write a Political Novel?
The Power of Political Fiction and Mainstay Press – Interview
A Few Notes on the Literary Establishment  
Against Vicious Injustice – An Interview with Mickey Z
Politics and Art – The Personal is the Public and Private
Other Posts

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