Rick in Casablanca notices the vast implausibility of happenstance: “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Is serendipity a good thing in fiction ever? For me, one of the precepts of good writing has always been that coincidences are only permissible when the writer is setting up the narrative. Indeed, they’re often necessary: Circumstances have to come together in some way to launch an extended action. A sudden hailstorm brings man and woman together under the same awning, creating the necessary meet, and things can build from there, as it happened with Rick and Ilse. But, in my Tomus Primus of Good Writing wisdom says: “don’t use a coincidence to develop or resolve the plot.” It seems Kay forgot this cardinal rule.
If you're into SF, read on.
SF = Speculative Fiction.