Episode 302: The State of Short Fiction

This week we welcome a record number of guests for a lively discussion of the state of short fiction. We discuss whether or not we’re currently in a “golden age” of short fiction; the welcome growth of multicultural voices; the economic realities of the short fiction market; and how authors can build careers in such a diverse and complex publishing environment.

Our guests are:

We encourage you to support each of their fine publications. We’d also like to thank Charlie, Irene, Neil and Sheila for making the time to be part of the podcast.

 

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1 Comment

  1. Enjoyed the podcast; wonderful to hear so many of the key editors in the field all together.

    But I have an alternative view concerning the term “Golden Age” (with or without caps). It is really unnecessary for this label to exercise SF commentators so much.

    The Golden Age of science fiction was the epoch during which Campbell’s Astounding completely dominated the field (roughly 1938 – 1950; many different variations of these dates have been suggested).

    Everybody knows that, but as soon as you mention it, dissenting voices are heard. That’s because “Golden Age” is assumed to mean the unsurpassable best of everything.

    In the science fiction context, it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) mean that. Few will disagree that the quality of science fiction writing today is much better than that of the 1940s. In fact, the quality of writing has improved with every subsequent decade. In terms of the quality of fiction, Campbell’s Golden Age is the worst, not the best, literary period the genre has seen (well, since 1938, anyway … if you go back further you’ll find worse still).

    But (here’s the point), it doesn’t matter. Golden Age in this context is a historical marker, a convenient label for reference, and a textbook chapter heading. It does not imply superiority to what came after, so let it be.

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