One of the reasons I think I admire authors like China Miéville, who demonstrate a desire and ability to play in various genres, is that they seem to be creative in a deeper sense than an author who stays in an established lane.
Who are other authors you’ve followed because of their intentional motivation to explore new territory? (Often foregoing book deals in the process.)
To me fantasy can (and should) continue to explore new territory and continue to show how it is indeed Art in the sense that it is exploration.
Now, I may have conflated what an author can do and what a genre can do, although of course what happens in a book and between authors and readers is always an ongoing conversation.
This would get us into another line of discussion, perhaps, around what we as Readers look for. Are we content within an orderly space where certain conventions work or are we willing to peek outside the garden walls from time to time? Where does a balance of order and chaos enter into our field of vision and desire as Readers?
I also asked this question on reddit.com/r/fantasy