A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about Harlan Ellison's challenge to the SF community at the 2006 Nebula Award Banquet. I countered by pointing out that what was dangerous in 1968 is commonplace in 2008. That said, where do I think the genre is going?
The New Wave movement in Ellison's heyday was a transition stage where writers were challenging the boundaries of the genre. Today, with the boundaries over the horizon in all directions, where do we focus our energy?
One small but vocal group clambers for what is known as "mundane" SF. This is an artificial subgenre, defined by restricting the speculative element to what is possible today. But mundane SF is nothing new, only the name is new. This is not our future.
As I mentioned the other day, pretty much all the boundaries have been pushed out so far there isn't much chance of pushing them anymore. I don't think so, but horizon-pushing is going to become more and more rare. If not mundane or dangerous, what then?
Newer writers are migrating to the past, but taking the lessons of the new wave along with them. The focus has returned to good story. Writers like Tobias Buckell and John Scalzi are returning to the spirit of Robert Heinlein, writing good stories with sympathetic characters.
That's what it's all about--writing to entertain. There's still room for dangerous visions when we can find them., as long as we keep the reader satisfied.