HB: You're also open to science fiction, and write about how parochial literary fiction is by comparison.
DL: Well, some of it. In England we have, as you probably know, the perennial English novel -- extremely good, wonderful,sensitive novels. And they come out every year and are suffocating as far as I'm concerned with their tight little horizons.
HB: You got savaged when you started writing your series of science fiction novels. John Leonard, in the New York Times,wrote about The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, that, "One of the many sins for which the 20th century will be heldaccountable is that it has discouraged Mrs. Lessing....She now propagandizes on behalf of our insignificance in the cosmicrazzmatazz." He felt you had ceased to care.
DL: What they didn't realize was that in science fiction is some of the best social fiction of our time. I also admire the classicsort of science fiction, like Blood Music, by Greg Bear. He's a great writer.
I have only read one of them--I forget which--very different, wild and challenging stuff.
Unfortunately the SF ghetto mentality often sneers at her kind of literary SF, but we should be open to all kinds of voices.