"Elizabeth Bear proclaimed that [science fiction] was the literature of testing ideas to the breaking point."--Lou Anders on Elizabeth Bear on SF, from Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy, edited by Michael Knost
Kudos to Elizabeth Bear. That's about the coolest definition I've read.
Lou Anders treats Mundane SF as a subgenre, mentioning Julian Todd and Geoff Ryman, which is cool, but didn't mention my contribution, which allowed for Anders' explanation of MSF differing from hard SF. Thanks to Ted Chiang and other critics--in and out of the group--I milled for years, chiseling out a solid ethos to ground Geoff's manifesto. Should it matter? Probably not. As Kurt Vonnegut said, "So it goes."
Since I'm on the topic of Mundane SF, my contribution to the subgenre in terms of story--workshopped with Gene Wolfe ye these many eons ago--is forthcoming in Eric Reynolds' Global Warming Aftermaths. Bruce Boston, Steve Ramey, Sue Linville, and Julian Todd critiqued it as well--probably others I'm forgetting.
Wiki: Mundane SF:
Trust the manifesto, not the description. We originally intended it to be projected into the far future as well as solar system developments (although a few only wanted it on Earth--you can't get everyone to agree on everything). Future technologies were acceptable as long as it adhered to today's science. Moreover, it was after Clarion that we discussed this, spurred by my idea for the need of experimental SF, and Julian Todd's idea that we don't explore oceans much in SF.
Mundane SF blog :
The blog is largely inactive these days. I had to stop posting when I started teaching, learning on the job. It appears I'd done about 80% of the posts up until that time. Since then, they averaged a post a month. We also had an explanatory website (now Chinese) that got sucked into the internet's black hole of oblivion. I may have access to rough drafts of the original posts if I dig around. UPDATE: Found some old posts from our original group, but Yahoo is a pain in the butt. Maybe I'll access them later when Yahoo irons this out. Leave a note if interested to remind me.We edited an issue of Interzone and Geoff did his own anthology as well, When It Changed. It's critique was that it was too science-y science fiction, but that sounds pretty cool to a science major/teacher.