jueves, 21 de mayo de 2015

Kris against The Guardian

First, before anything else, I'm using her as an example. An example as untainted by previous SF fights against/for the Guardian as I could get. Kris has not prior knowledge of this.

Now, The Guardian tends to tire me sorely. British press has gone really downhill the last 20+ years. Possibly like any other national press, but with them I have the advantage of distance and familiarity. That decline is the only way you can seriously write about "The tyranny of the mega-novel", latch it onto GRR Martin (known, in the small circles where he was known before, for short fiction) and then "refute" said article with "Fantasy cannot build its imaginary worlds in short fiction" [*].

If the first article is bad, the second sets an illustrated standard.

"High fantasy of the George RR Martin kind hinges on world-building."

Not so long ago, this very sentence, and the ideas of the first article too, would have been used almost exactly, simply naming JRR Tolkien. That's the power of the double-R.

But, to put an example, I've only read the short novellas in the world of A song of Ice and Fire (aka. Game of Thrones), and the world came brilliantly. One of the examples in the article is Harry Potter. Who creates the whole world by chapter 7. The rest is commentary. Great commentary, but, nonetheless.

Also, those examples show several glitches. One is that the world does not need as many pages as it hosts. Lord of the Rings is 6 books, yes, but it does not need them all to worldbuild. If I wrote 20 more books in that world, it wouldn't suddenly need 26 of them to set the background.

It's called background for a reason. By the same token, you could say a novel takes so-and-so many pages because it can't describe its characters in less.

So... Kris.

I have the hardcopy version of "Broken Windchimes" right in front of me. 87 pages of fiction, in booklet form. It doesn't build its world any less than a multi-saga. It explores that world less, but it's built.

Or I could get into the Retrieval artist world. It's built in the first novella. Sure, it keeps adding. A child's "built" in nine months; the rest is called growing.

But there's a specific blindness in those articles, still.

Readers. And off-Broadway productions. Sorry, off-Manhattan and wherever publishers are set in the UK.

These days "The tyranny of..." doesn't apply. Writers are myriad; publishers, Legion. Readers... we are like locusts. If YOU can't find anything besides mega-sagas, the only tyranny is inside your head. The rest of us are reading (writing) lots of other things. If your pet publishers don't put those things forward it's not the fault of short stories, novels, the genre or anything else that you can't see them.

Take care. [*] Search them yourself. They're crap. So not linking to that.

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