Posterity November 19, 2009
Today’s question was suggested by Barbara:
Do you think any current author is of the same caliber as Dickens, Austen, Bronte, or any of the classic authors? If so, who, and why do you think so? If not, why not? What books from this era might be read 100 years from now?
Without a shadow of a doubt, I would say that 100 years from now, Plum Sykes, Lauren Weisenberg, Dan Brown, and the lady who wrote the Twilight books will all be taught alongside Dickens and Shakespeare.
Actually, I'm not sure what will endure 100 years from now. Since there are novels that are valued a great deal as a document of the times, any one of the above authors *could* conceiveably last that long. I shudder to think.
There are a lot of wonderful writers out there today. E. Annie Proulx and Alice Munro both come immediately to mind as ones who might have staying power. But in looking at the rest of my favorites, I don't really think most of them will last. VC Andrews is already starting to fade, as is James Herriott (sadly). Laurie Graham, Tawni O'Dell and Sandra Dallas all write enjoyable books, but they're not powerful enough to stick around long-term. Wally Lamb is a fad, I think. People won't get a lot of Jasper Fforde's jokes in 100 years. George Saunders critiques modern society, which may or may not be interesting once society has completely transformed again. Historical fiction never seems to endure, and that's Margaret George's game.
JK Rowling, on the other hand, might still be popular. Maybe Phillip Pullman, too. Good fantasy books are like heirloom china and silver for geeks. Geek parents read them to their geek babies, who will one day grow up to bond with a fellow geek or geekette over their love for Tolkien or Ursula LeGuin, and marry and have their own geek babies and perpetuate the cycle. Since none of the stuff in the books can happen, they can never become too dated.
But other than these, I can't really think of anybody. How about you?