Paul McEuan on the point of writing

"Writing is an act of exploration and creation, a journey to a new world. That someone will later read what was written is arguably irrelevant."

- Paul McEuan, writing in Nature

This gem of a quote comes from a book review of Neal Stephenson's latest novel Fail; Or Dodge in Hell. Although Stephenson is an occasional lab lit author, Fail is science fiction, involving as it does bringing back the dead. (As an aside, McEuan himself, a Professor of Physics at Cornell, is no stranger to the lab lit genre, having published a scientific thriller in 2011 called Spiral ,which is definitely on the LabLit List).

McEuan is speculating about Stephenson's attitude here, not necessarily offering his own views. We like the quote because it's a controversy that divides both authors and readers. Should authors cater to readers, or only to themselves? There is no right answer - though we're sure everyone has their own view.