Okay - so I'm posing a question that I'd really like your opinion on.
Devastation has hit many places in the world so far this century. Devastation on a scale that's been seen before, but perhaps not so much at once (or am I too young to understand how much the wars last century devastated in a similar way?).
Places have been irrevocably lost - or are irreversibly changed - and yet in contemporary books they're still there. In fact, in many thousands of books, thanks to the talent of the writers, they're alive and thriving, vivid and exciting places, not touched by the horror - or even the inkling of horror - that's in their future.
How does that work for a reader who knows better? Can the reader slip into the world of a book - even though there's the fresh knowledge that a place no longer exists, and therefore realism can't be pretended?
Is that where historical and sci-fi/paranormal/steam punk have a much longer shelf life - because today's reality is already suspended?
What is the affect on those who write contemporary?
The disaster in Japan is on a scale of terrible that I find difficult to comprehend. I'm not sure how it would affect me if I was to sit down and read a beautiful romance, sited in Miyagi.