The much missed J.G.Ballard wrote back years ago after we asked him to speak at a CCS workshop on Cultural Fictions:
Thank you for the invitation, but I’m afraid that age and the pressures of work mean that I have to decline.
But I wish you all the best – I’m not sure whether you see me as inside or outside s-f, and either way a victim of its overreaching success. In fact I think you’re rather stretching definitions if you include recent novels like Super-Cannes and Millennium People as s-f. But calling something s-f is a traditional way of defusing the threat, and academia, especially the Eng Lit departments, has a lot to feel threatened by – its beloved mainstream is now a parched riverbed – no great novel has been written in English since – Catch 22? – more than 40 years ago. I wonder why?
(transcription SF, thanks)