Good post on Genji Press on the problems that happen when SF authors and their readers don’t read nearly enough outside their own genre.
Most SF&F’s understanding of human nature seems to be derived not from life, or even from area outside SF&F, but from other works of SF&F, and that’s far too self-limiting.
I think that one of the big reasons Iain Banks was one of the greatest SF writers of his generation was that he didn’t just read outside the genre, he wrote outside it as well.
It’s not just confined to fiction, of course, it’s a problem in music. How many indie or metal bands are there out there who don’t listen to anything outside their own genre? And is it any surprise that their music ends up sounding like a derivative pasiche of other, better bands?