Something you don’t see too often: science fiction in the New Yorker magazine. Take the time to listen to this reading of Stuart Dybeck’s “The Red Lantern.” It takes a master to write about adultery this beautifully. This has just a minimal amount of science fiction in the set-up to give it that special ingredient. You can hear the story, and some interesting follow-up commentary, at the New Yorker.
At some point, every science fiction and fantasy story must challenge the reader’s experience and learning. That’s much of the reason why the genre is so open to the experimentation and innovation that other genres reject–strangeness is our bread and butter. Spread it thick or slice it thin, it’s still our staff of life.