Dec. 15th, 2012

philena: (Default)
I am firmly in the camp of people who read for escape, rather than exploring the human condition. I don't want to learn about how my fellow man feels in today's disconnected and narcissistic society. I don't care about how your misunderstood childhood informed your love of jazz and rescuing puppies, and I really have no patience while you explore new horizons in structure and feeling in your poetry.* I read because I want to depart from this world and enter a new one, and I've found that there are roughly three types of worlds that one can find in fiction.

Type A: Our world. )

Type B: World confined to story )

Type C: world endures beyond story )

It's my preference for Type C fiction---world over story, world over people---that explains my love of science fiction and fantasy. In order to write science fiction or fantasy, the author has to create a new world, rules that govern it, and then on top of that create a story. This is hard to do well! If the world doesn't stand by itself, it's bad science fiction. If the writer is lucky, such an incomplete world is classified as "magical realism"---which I never really liked, because it didn't make sense. I like my fiction to make sense. I just want the sense to be invented.













*I find myself especially disgusted with people who write best-selling memoirs describing their feelings about their young child's long, drawn-out death from leukemia. It seems disrespectful to the dead to use them as a source of profit. If you want to get the feelings out for your own good, write a journal. If you want to share your experience with others because you think it should be more widely known, write a blog or sell the book for no more than whatever it takes to recoup the costs of publication and dissemination. The moment you start using the tragedy to make money for yourself or a publisher, you lose all sympathy from me. (Unless you donate all the royalties to leukemia (or whatever) research. Then you have my full support.)

**I have not been personally affected by any of these issues. I say "escape" in the most general terms. Please do not read this paragraph as a comment on Mr. Philena, my employers or colleagues, my criminal actions (if they existed), my deforested section of the Amazon (if it belonged to me), or my dog (which I don't have).

***Avatar was an exception. That was a full-fledged Type C world, which overcame any deficiencies in plot or tendencies toward social commentary.

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philena

July 2014

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