Looks like I wasn't alone in feeling that SF is losing its luster, but that just makes my job as a creator of same all the tougher.
SF&F authors shouldn't read just SF&F. Here's some other things to broaden your mind.
A look at making Cameron's blockbuster a little more thoughtful (and a little less annoying and predictable).
How I would have fixed Jon Favreau's cross-genre dud.
The hazards of making a story long for its own sake are not always obvious.
What will it take for SF&F and mainlit criticism to appreciate each other? New critics, I suppose.
What should SF criticism really be doing? Just catering to fans' tastes, or expanding our understanding of the genre? Why not both?
SF&F are always best when they're the voice of an individual observer's insight, not simply a reflection of market demands.
Fantasy, science fiction, or other? (Or multiple choice?)
How do we get out from under the shadow of our own idols?
The last thing we need with SF is a "humanism" that doesn't have any actual humans in it.
The "liteature of ideas" doesn't just contain ideas; it embodies them.
Writers should do more for each other than just supply cover blurbs; they should be honest critics, too.
On the idea that a canon is a spectrum of interpretation and interactivity rather than a fixed artifact.
Nothing new? Depends on how you see "new".
A complex surface doesn't always mean complex depths. Sometimes it just means ostentation.
This last slew of posts sparked some comments, some locally and some elsewhere. I wanted to touch on a few of these, and conclude my discussion of masscult in SF&F with some directional suggestions....
In my previous posts about Dwight Macdonald's concept of "masscult" and how it affects SF&F (part one; part two), I wrote about how the creation and marketing systems in place for SF&F have been affected deeply by the assumptions masscult...
More on how masscult has made SF&F into its lackey.
How a literary critic from the 1960s casts light on the dilemma of SF&F publishing today.
On looking forward (in SF) while at the same time looking around -- because that's all you really can do.
On why good SF&F should be concerned with details, not trivia.
On "escapism" vs. what's really often meant by that word: imagination.
When the biggest obstacle to a cultural phenomenon is the fans.
SF has its Jack Londons and Joseph Conrads, but where are its Virginia Woolfs or Thomas Manns, among others?
The classics aren't things to put on pillars. But neither is popular culture.