- This is my new favorite quote of the week:
Being able to write is a remarkable gift. There’s none better, if you can also think.
–Edward M. Bernstein
- Paul Witcover reviews The Secret History of Science Fiction, and has some interesting observations about the difference between SF as practiced by genre writers and SF in mainstream literary writing.
Speculative fiction writers are apt to treat the subjects of their speculations as if they were real, no matter how outlandish and unlikely; thus, speculative fiction of the highest quality often has a unique reality to it. It employs the tools of mimetic fiction to ground and particularize its flights of fancy, whether they be technological or magical. It takes them literally. It concretizes metaphors. But when mainstream writers venture into speculative fiction, it’s all too often either a day at the playground, during which they feel free to cast aside the mimetic conventions they normally hold to in regard to plot, character, setting, etc., or a trip to the Olde Curiosity Shoppe, where they can pick and choose among exotic settings, objects, atmospheres, etc. to use as symbols and such in their own stories, which remain highly mimetic in a traditional sense. I don’t mean to suggest that this distinction holds for every story published by a mainstream or speculative fiction writer, only that it expresses something true and important about the unique quality of speculative fiction.
(I don’t think the latter approach is wrong or inferior, but I’m glad it’s not the only approach to speculative fiction.)
Wow, Joss Whedon fans are delicate. (I especially like the guy who compares a show getting cancelled to someone’s best friend dying: “Show some respect for the recently departed, or at least show some respect for the recently departed’s grieving friends.”)