I’m influenced by the kind of fiction that likes to play with multiple realities. Some people might call it escapism, and it is if you consider weird fiction, sci-fi, speculative, fantasy, magical realism as a way to escape the weight of the factual world, the unbearable heaviness of the Newtonian world that threatens to clog our every pore. (Plus these books help me escape myself — which is the biggest fiction around.)
What I’m after in fiction is a way to figure out what’s reality, what the hell is this stuff that we exist in. And I think genre fiction works get to the heart of this matter a lot better than literary fiction.
What really bothers me about realist fiction is that it’s the go-to place for social and political reality, which is literary bollocks, since sci-fi, weird fiction, speculative, and fantasy, the genres, all do this just as well. And the other thing about realist writers is that they just sneer their literary chops at imagination, experiment, playfulness, or some kind of personal search for meaning in fiction. In other words: genre work.
There are so many writers who can mix fantastic and factual and still be literary, writers like Italo Calvino, Angela Carter, Michael Chabon, Paul Auster, David Mitchell, Graham Joyce, David Benioff, Peter Carey, Tom Robbins, Cormac McCarthy, etc, etc, etc.
And fiction should be able to encompass everything, anyway, the unbearable lightness of being as well as the heavy Newtonian material world, but encompass it with a balance that satisfies as well as being solid.
And what is real realism anyway? The world is made of nothing at all, it’s all quantum physics, of empty space and points of light, the perfect building blocks for fantastical tales. What is the concrete world? Isn’t it only a part of our minds, a bit of the space-time reality, so why should it dictate our every fictional atom?