Instead of the philosophical question “what exists?” fiction asserts without question that something exists, it is coming on the next page. When the writing is good, fiction absorbs the reader rendering the “I exist (writing, reading)” at best a mildly interesting corollary. The hero and the story take centre stage and words are quickly stolen from underneath themselves as if by surprise. This is not about the immanence of the act of writing or reading, but about a secret covenant between author and reader that “there is” indeed something besides ourselves and that it is worth turning the page to find out about it and this, without asking any question.

As such, fiction is always an opening onto the future, even if the story is darkly dystopian. This does not mean that fiction has a predicative quality; this only means that the edges it creates know no end. Even if it is just a passing memory, there is always more after fiction; an indelible image, a personable or unbearable character, a frustrating finale, for example. In this way, fiction is necessarily the affirmation of reality as potentiality. As William Carlos Williams once said: “As birds’ wings beat the solid air without which none could fly, so words freed by the imagination affirm reality by their flight.” (Imaginations, 1947)

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