2) I'm thinking about realism at the moment, partly as a reaction to having just written about postmodernism, but also because I am finishing up Swords and Dark Magic (which I will post a review of when I finish it) and pondering how fantasy writers deploy certain sorts of realism, or specters of realism, to create effects of suspension of disbelief and emotional resonance in their work. This essay by Clark Ashton Smith gave me some food for thought.
3) Margaret Atwood admits that she writes "speculative fiction." MWAHAHAHA!!!! I am amused by the admission, and by how she contextualizes it. I was pointed to this via the September 2010 edition of Ansible, which just won a British Fantasy Award. Tip o' the hat to Mr. DeNardo at SFSignal for highlighting Ansible.
4) Jaym Gates has a brief, provocative call-to-apocalyptic-arms up at the Apex blog. I responded, and the more I think about it, the more I believe that the apparent paucity of such writing is because we are so close to danger, and would rather have stories of unlikely or displaced apocalypse than ones that directly echo what is happening now. I think there is rich material for stories here, but will people want to write it?