There’s an old saw from Mark Twain about how truth is stranger than fiction, and I think it’s fair to say we’ve lived through a very strange reality this past year. With all the chaos and change, we’re led to a foundational question: what’s the purpose of speculative fiction and its adjacent genres of science fiction and fantasy when so much of our world seems to already embody the fantastical worlds these works depict?

So I got our occasional fictional columnist Eliot Peper and the author of Veil, the three part Analog Series and other speculative fiction novels on the Gmail for an epistolary conversation on digesting 2020, the meaning of speculative fiction, and the future of art.

This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

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