Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Brief Essays on Genre, Part 18: On the Canon



On the Canon


Only a generation ago, every ambitious science fiction writer read every important work of science fiction ever written. That’s not possible anymore. Consequently, there is no longer a commonly agreed-upon canon.


If someone today were to write the best science fiction story ever, to considerable acclaim, it might easily go unread a generation hence.


We simply have to learn to live with this.


--Michael Swanwick


1 comment:

HWW said...

Any (every) author, living or dead, needs a devoted, obsessive, and insightful reader or two. William Blake’s Auguries of Innocence survived in a single manuscript and was never published in the author’s lifetime. And yet now, nearly two hundred years later, his words are known (and can probably be found on a tea towel or tee shirt) :

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour


I’m sure there are more than a few excellent tales of the fantastic in temporary occlusion.