August 9th, 2007

modern lit

Realism Strikes Back

So something that has been banging around my head recently:

In most fantasy worlds, where worldbuilding is at least something considered by the author, there is a weird thing with the literature of that world. Where there even is a literature of that world, which is hardly a given. Obviously, this applies more to traditional fantasy than those kids what write weird shit. First of all, it's usually oral, or stuck in the "only monasteries have books" mode of the medieval monomania we fantasy authors sometimes slip into. No publishing apparatus. Second, practioners are usually bards, or bards that are called something not bardic, but are totally bards. Third, they tend to write only things necessary for the hero to know to progress the plot things which extoll the greatnesses of the world they live in, with dragons and magic and kings and such, usually sucking up to dragons and magicians and kings and such. Lay of Luthien stuff.

Which, in a world which has dragons and magic and kings and such, makes them realists.

What is the literature of the fantastic in a fantastic world? I am not accepting "stories about our world" as an acceptable answer. What do they dream is possible in a world full of mojo? Is it science ficiton for a fantasy world, fantasy for a science fiction world? I don't know, but it tickles me to think about the SFF author in a tower surrounded by a fiery moat full of rabid salamanders sucking her pen while griffin soar overhead and thinking...

"But what if...?"

(Also San Diego was lovely.)
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