The latest SF Signal Mindmeld asked the following question: What Cultures Are Neglected in Science Fiction and Fantasy?
A number of SFF authors were asked to answer the question, and their responses make for interesting reading. I particularly liked Guy Gavriel Kay's reply:
I'm never contrarian (!) but it does feel a bit wrong to imagine writers cynically prowling in search of underexploited real estate in fantasy. (Maori! Toltec!). The key, surely, is to work from within, let research be guided by what engages, animates; for authors to be steered not by claim-staking but by passion. I am happier reading, say, another Renaissance-inspired work if it is genuinely inspired, rather follow a writer who has done routine due diligence on some apparently under-used time and place purely because there was no one else exploiting it. If a writer's intense engagement steers them to new settings, that's wonderful - for all of us. But intense engagement + talent will give us something wonderful, even in areas covered before.
Follow this link for the full article.