Dear Dame Snark,
I've noticed that the speculative fiction winning the big awards these days seem to be thinly disguised literary pieces. I keep reading stories about silent characters who softly reflect on their lives as they sip tea. At some point, something mildly otherworldly happens to qualify the story as sf or fantasy. Then it ends. But the stories I love to read (and write) have Action! Suspense! Adventure! They're heaped in either technology or magic but anchored with realistic and complex characters. Not pulp by any means, but far more exciting than "literary" work.
Please tell me, O High Priestess of Words, what is the state of today's speculative fiction? Will high action win out in the end? Or must I learn to write riveting prose about contemplating the wild stalks growing on the edge of a rippling lake if I'm ever to be published?
You're asking the wrong person. The only thing speculative in the fiction I read is whether someone will set their hair on fire or kill someone in chapter one or wait too long and do it in chapter two.
I don't read anything remotely resembling speculative fiction as far as I know. I'm cleansing my palate for Against The Day (St. Marks, Monday, midnight, be there!) right now, but normally you can see what I read by looking at my Library Thing list on the right.
If anyone cares to weigh in on this, have at it.