If an intelligent and sensitive writer would rather communicate with the general public, let him learn the conventions of popular fiction and turn them to his purpose. As John le Carré, Isaac Asimov, Peter Beagle, Curtis Harnak, and many others have shown, one need not be a fool or a compromiser to write a mystery story, a sci-fi or fantasy, or a book about growing up in Iowa. The fool is the man who arrogantly denies the worth and common sense of the people to whom he pretends to speak. In short, another test of creative energy is the test of efficient communication: to what extent does the artist know whom he is dealing with, telling him what he needs to know, not less.

– John Gardner, On Moral Fiction (1978)

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