Monday, January 18, 2010

How to read science fiction... or fantasy?

A piece to ponder from boingboing today. Cory Doctorow is reflecting on Jo Walton's essay about how to read science fiction. It could be just as easily applied to fantasy, since, despite assertions the two are quite different, they mingle readily enough.

I do like Walton's assertion that the zombies are just zombies. True, there probably is a metaphor or two in there, but first and foremost, they're zombies who like to eat people's brains.

I'm discovering a great deal in my own fairy tale research by sometimes simply taking a shoe as a shoe, a hood as a hood. Sometimes, the storyteller really is working with what the thing is, rather than what it represents.

Of course, I am skimming a theoretical minefield here, but I'm afraid I haven't had a second cup of coffee yet.

P.S.: One of the comments describes Star Wars as fantasy. It's fairy tale. That's why it's been popping up on this blog rather a lot lately.


Anonymous said...

Of course Star Wars is a fairy tale - it's a frikkin' space opera in three acts!

There's the magician, the farm boy, the princess and the pirate... yep. That looks like a fairytale to me. How about some comparisons with Princess Bride right there?

Anybody who says otherwise should have their heads examined. :)

titanium said...

Woah! my brain just exploded a little!

I never realised that Fairy Tale was it's own genre, though in hindsight it is obvious that it is different to both SciFi, Fantasy and Children's literature!

though of course authors like to be special snowflakes and use bits of each in their books.

There goes my argument that Star Wars is more fantasy than scifi because of the Force, which isn't technological in nature.

Does this mean we get to study Star Wars next semester in Fairy Tale traditions?

Doc-in-Boots said...

Well, genre is a slippery thing, but magical old chap, farm boy, apparently dead father, princess, scruffy, opportunistic Puss in Boots (Han Solo)... yes, fairy tale, as artificiallymythic says too. You can still make the fantasy argument, though, since fairy tale is one of the core roots of fantasy. That's the thing about genre.

As for studying Star Wars... there's a thought...

And there are retellings... this being one of my favourite:

titanium said...

I have now spent at least half an hour looking to see if I can get my hands on a typewriter. :)