Once he was on a roll, McCalmont deconstructed diversity as it currently plays out in science fiction, or in general speculative fiction, to look at the broader field. I already mentioned that he thinks diverse writers are not really permitted to write from their own worldview, but are instead channeled into the popular format for speculative fiction. They’re allowed to write about their own culture, but only within strictly defined parameters.

Presumably this is because publishers don’t want to rock the status quo boat. It’s one of those things that might invite controversy, for one thing, which might end up hurting their bottom line. Another reason is that some of these ideas might come across as subversive.

If you’ve never read Thomas Kuhn’s brilliant book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), then you should pick up a copy. This deserves its own blog, but a quick summary of what he says is that changes never come from within the prevailing paradigm. Because the people who are successful there have too much invested in the old ways of doing things, they’ll always attempt to stamp out new ideas. This means genius lies on the fringes—while the center is rife with mediocrity.

This isn’t to say that all current speculative fiction is rife with mediocrity. However, it’s definitely infected hard SF.