A critical fiction is a piece of fiction* where form (story) and critical content are inseparable (and which explicitly addresses itself as a critique of another work of literature)
* or poetry
A reader asked for a definition of critical fiction in plain speech, and offered the following :
— Would an even simpler definition be : “a story written in the style or form of another story, with the aim of commenting on or illuminating that earlier story” ?
To which I answered :
— But that’s just it, a critical fiction need not be in the style or form of the work it critiques (but it must address or reference the text). In fact, it is sometimes in the collision of differing styles or approaches that an unexpected insight emerges. This exchange prompted me to state the definition which opens this post. I am the blacksmith pounding the steel to make it stronger and more flexible.
And, for now, enough of definition ; the next posts will discuss examples of critical fiction.