Independent author Misha Burton had a good Twitter thread (starting here) that identifies why contemporary fiction sucks harder than a Hoover on overdrive. Reproduced below; emphasis mine.
There is a significant difference between fantastic fiction of the form "what if I fought a dragon" and "what if I were a dragon".
For this discussion I don't mean "dragon" literally--it could be magic spells or handwavium mutant superpowers.
But the old form of SF/F fiction pitted essentially ordinary people against extraordinary threats. The protagonists might be considered unrealistically competent by today's standards, but they were essentially human beings driven to achieve the impossible.
That has changed. The likes of the Vampire Lestat, the X-Men, and Harry Potter have become the new normal in fantastic fiction. The heroes no longer battle dragons, they are the dragons.
And I believe that we are poorer for it. The old heroes triumphed through their own efforts and so inspired their readers to greater effort. A child who grew up wanting to be like the Lone Ranger or Conan or even Batman could work harder to become great.
A child who grows up wanting to be Harry Potter sits and waits for a letter from Hogwarts. One can't become Phoenix through study and hard work, all you can do is wish for mutant powers. It's Lottery Ticket Fantasy, a dream that something will happen to you.
The winners are not those who get good at the game, the winners are those who get handed the cheat card. And in my opinion that's why so much modern fantastic fiction lacks any real tension. It's not about the character's efforts, it's about the character's identity.
This follows a rant I had earlier this week on how the Right routinely misses the true value of university education where colleague Rawle Nyazi pointed me to an article a few years back in a lefty rag about how the SJWs are a thing arising out of the very middle class that SJWs--being tankies--routinely claim to attack but actually serve because it's in their interests as a class.
Which, in turn, follows a common thread of commentary at Anonymous Conservative regarding Cabal moves to destroy everything merit-based (i.e. who you are) in favor of ID-Pol schemes where what you are determines if you get in or not. (Hint: Cabal's cohorts are not the bright bulbs; destroying meritocracy makes it easier for them to mask how utterly incompetent they really are since they rely on birthright to network their way through life, and they let competent plebs do the work they steal credit for.)
In short, what we're seeing here is a vast machine of patronage from top to bottom, start to finish, by one class--whom the lefty linked rightly calls "the professional managerial class"--against the rest. They adopted Lefty politics because it gets them in front of the threat of a worker's revolt, use SJWs as weapons to confine and control the rest, and don't give two shits about competence so long as they remain in control. It's r-selection made sentient, and can only arise in environments where r-selection is viable on a mass scale.
The literature Misha decries is this class's psychology in literary form. They win because it's their birthright to win; they are selected from above, not elected by peers or from below, so they don't need to put in any work other than what is required of them by their patron- and then only as directed by said patron. No amount of work put in by any outsider will avail them unless and until it violently crushes the network and they can't buy off the outsider.
It's no surprise, then, that the network simultaneously attacks all forms of social cohesion for outsiders while maintaining it themselves among their shot-callers and mitigating it for their chief assets. They fix the game from the start, execute double-standards with shameless aplomb, and laugh at the outsiders all the while behind closed doors as they mouth the platitudes aimed at keeping the rubes (us) in line.
And they get a perverse glee at symbolically smearing your faces in it such as by that very literature Misha decries. This ain't accidental at all, not after what they used the CIA to do decades ago (and still do to this day, via other means). Yes, even the famous ones, because humiliating the outsiders is part of how they exercise their power.