The newest issue of American Book Review (July/August 2009) takes on the issue of Fiction’s Future, and includes a plethora of “Words, Sentences, Quotes” from three dozen or so writers on the issue – each its own starting point for further consideration.
Jeffrey R. Di Leo and Tom Williams, Focus Editors, start off their editorial with one of the greatest exchanges in all of film – from The Graduate, between Ben and Mr. McGuire (one word – plastics), and create their own exchange with their own “one word” (I’m not telling what it is – go read the editorial).
In relation to the future of fiction, Di Leo and Williams write: “While Ben didn’t ask Mr. McGuire about the future (Mr. McGuire volunteered it), we did ask over three hundred writers, critics, and scholars about the future of fiction. Responses varied from one word (James Whorton, Jr.’s “C-SPAN,” Stephen J. Burn’s “Neural,” and Vanessa Place’s “Conceptualism”), to a quote (Brian Evenson quotes Glenn Gould and Samuel Beckett, and Lance Olsen quotes Franz Kafka and Jerzy Kosinski), to a sentence—and sometimes many more (hey, just in case we’re paying by the word, right?).”
ABR also includes “Elaborations” on Fiction’s Future, as well as, of course, a slew of book reviews.