I was reading through an old batch of Interzones and New Worlds while Ann and I selected stories for the New Weird anthology, and I thought I caught a glimpse of something different. Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps it’s a myopic nostalgia for some golden age that never existed, but just bear with me for the sake of argument.
What I seemed to find in those old magazines sometimes overreached, or crashed into and sank on the rocks of evangelical experimentalism…but, at its best, that fiction was altogether more adult than much of what I’ve read recently. It seemed sharper and more balanced between intellect and emotion. There was ample intelligence behind it, sometimes a cruel and frightening intelligence. It was often bracing, unexpected, and jagged.
I feel that I should comment on the subject, but can’t seem to bring myself into it. Do I think he’s right? I probably do. Do I think we live in the age of sales and marketing and supermarket shelves of books and massive publishing houses with massive sales expectations? Surely we all know that, yes? When I worked in bookselling you could see this happening in slow motion across the whole store, every section, a kind of post-modern destruction that J.G. Ballard could write a good book about.