[Today’s Mind Meld was suggested by an SF Signal reader. Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
Speculative fiction is always experimenting with new writing styles and creating new sub-genres. Some of the newish ones deal with shiny vampires, the inevitbale response to that, and steampunk. But there may be other areas speculative fiction hasn’t explored yet.
Q: In your opinion, is there a direction, or directions, you are surprised speculative fiction hasn’t taken yet?
Kelly McCullough writes fantasy and science fiction. His novels include the WebMage and Fallen Blade series and his short fiction has appeared in numerous venues. He also dabbles in science fiction as science education with The Chronicles of the Wandering Star —part of an NSF-funded science curriculum—and the science comic Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp—funded by NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope.
There are certainly things I’m surprised I haven’t seen more of, though given the impossibility of keeping up with everything that comes out in the field, I don’t know that I can fairly say that there’s anywhere speculative fiction hasn’t yet gone. That said, and given the success of mixing fantasy and romance, I’m surprised we haven’t seen more in the way of interstitial subgenres.
In particular, given the success of paranormal romance and the rise of steampunk, I’m rather shocked we haven’t seen much in the way of fantasy/western crossovers. Seriously, who wouldn’t be interested in the intersection where Deadwood meets Game of Thrones. The history and mythology of America’s western expansion provides plenty of scope for dark, morally ambiguous stories with tons of drama and very high stakes.
For that matter, I’m continually amazed not to see more in the way of cybermagic books. Including mine, I can only think of about a dozen, and that seems like a shockingly small number when you think about how much the web and the internet have impacted how we communicate and publish in the modern era. It’s nearly impossible to enter the field anymore without a good understanding of computers. Why people aren’t doing more with that I don’t know.
I know that some of that comes down to the difficulties of marketing hybrid works, having had some experience in that area myself, but given the vast untapped storytelling space that lies between the established genres I really am surprised that we don’t see more people pushing into those areas.