Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Is Lost

'In “On the Road,” nothing stands in the way of the authentic, except the rules of formal life; when they have been overcome, the glittering night opens to anyone who desires to enter it. The naïveté of this is astounding, but so is the power.'
Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Saga, Part 1 
Which is also a pretty good description of that form of science fiction sometime called 'core'. But must be overcome, to write in that form? What is given up? What is lost?


Blogger Mark Pontin said...

[1] 'But what must be overcome, to write in that form? What is given up? What is lost?'

Are you intimating that doing the quality mainstream adult lit thing -- deep characterization, especially -- may be irreconcilable with the 'core' concentration on SFnal ideation?

I understand the thinking -- that to focus on one realm necessitates less focus on the other. But while the trick is achingly hard, some things by Budrys and Tiptree carry it off with aplomb.

Benford's TIMESCAPE and some of Stanislaw Lem -- think of Peter Hogarth in HIS MASTER'S VOICE -- don't do too badly, either. (Ironically, in Lem's case, since he admitted that he'd increasingly become disinterested in anything but science and his scientific ideas, and had thus dumped the regular human paraphernalia of fiction for the reviews and forewords to imaginary books.)

[2] I liked SOMETHING COMING THROUGH quite a bit, by the way. Looking forward to INTO EVERYWHERE.

February 26, 2015 10:55 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Every aesthetic choice in a text has its own accountancy of losses and gains.

What I'm asking (mostly in a rhetorical mode) is, As in On The Road, what has to be sacrificed for velocity, freedom of movement and 'otherness'? Is it a genuine loss - is there really something essential missing? Can something of equal value be gained from deploying that velocity and freedom? Interiority is, I suppose, an obvious example; it's not the only one, but it's become something of a marker for a certain divide. What's lost (or gained) by swapping that out for objectification?

February 27, 2015 8:53 am  
Blogger Mark Pontin said...

Ah. Thanks.

March 01, 2015 12:09 am  

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