c is for cat

Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule


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Yes. If it has something that couldn't exist, it is at the least fantastika.

Unfortunately in America we don't believe ghosts and a quasi Christian afterlife is non-realistic, hence The Lovely Bones not counting as horror.

My dim memory of the novel is that Burke rather clearly tries to leave the reader with the option to interpret the "ghost" as a figment of Robicheaux's stress and circumstances (social and bio-chemical). The movie does try to offer some presentation towards this interpretation as well (and then pulls a weasel-move right at the end which, to my mind, is completely unwarranted and a cheat).

But the narrative isn't really about ghosts, although it might examine the notion of the effects of ghosts upon people.

To me, it's a straight-up detective story with psycho-social overtones, and not really a fantastic tale at all. But I could be wrong.

And I'm not sure I agree with your assertion that "in America we don't believe in ghosts"... your media is so filled with ghost tales, of varying stances of verisimilitude, because it's a mythworking? (i.e. "we know these tales are lies, but we pretend they are true because the pretending has social function")

My (perhaps naive) understanding was that a large portion of the western world population (especially in America) explicitly does say they believe in supernatural phenomena like ghosts, angels, psychic powers, and so forth...

You read my sentence wrong. I said we don't believe ghosts are non-realistic. America totes believes in ghosts.

Anyway, holy crap, almost all SFF is about things other than their SFF element!

Ah. Yes, I did. My apologies.

And agreed that almost all SFF (or "non-realistic fiction") is about things other than the non-realistic elements (either exclusively about other, or inclusive but "about more than").

But the suggestion of an element that might not be able to exist, but could if understood a certain way, isn't to me thematically the same as the "yes, all things are true" approach. Robicheaux's ghost might not be a ghost, or it could be. To me that's solidly different to "all the things in Prester John are real". It might be an attempt to examine the same theme-coin from two different sides, or it might not be.

I guess, I don't think that "the Electric Mist" is a "ghost story" that's using the tactic of "of course we all know that there aren't any such things as monsters, best beloved, except there are" like one would find in modern horror (which the mainstream nobbins seem to want to call "psychological thrillers", viz Repulsion and Fight Club).

I thought that late in the novel Robicheaux finds a book illustration of the photograph that was being taken in his timeslip/vision/hallucination/whatever and sees his own face in it? Or am I imaging that memory? Of course, it could have been an ancestor, I suppose.

It won a Bram Stoker award.

There's a great reason for TLB to not count as horror: it wouldn't have been ordered by most bookstores were it labeled horror.

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