Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Babel Clash: The Babel is Blowing My Mind, Man!

The current discussion on Borders Books' Babel Clash blog between The Silver Skull author Mark Chadbourn and the Quantum Gravity series author Justina Robson has been just amazing. Some highlights:

"But there is a feeling that some writers lose sight of the ones they’re writing for. Fandom is hugely developed nowadays, a way of life with everyone linked by the net and navel-gazing, dissection and comment taken to the ultimate degree. It’s easy to get enveloped by the bubble and write books for all those people rather than the readers who exist beyond that glaring scrutiny. Fans are few and readers many and their tastes and instincts don’t always intersect. It can become a habit to feed increasingly rarified and jaded tastes and drag the stories out of the reference frame of many people’s lives." - Mark Chadbourn

"For the record I see realism as the poorer little country cousin of Fantasy. In my view realism is a particular subset of fantasy and not the other way around. Fantasy on the other hand is, as you say Mark, not to be analysed or atomised away. It is a mode of thought that operates intuitively and with great psychological richness and reward. This is true of all creative narratives though, not just fantasy novels. These features of it however, do make it unpalatable to people who prefer their universe served up as realism (ie under the illusion that no narrative creation is going on). We would all get along much better if this was acknowledged and everyone was left to get on with their own things in peace. There is no point in poking each other and whining. It can’t go anywhere because the conflict is at the personal level, where people feel threatened and insulted by one another. It doesn’t exist in the books or their genres. They’re just modes of narrative and ways of seeing. They can complement or they can clash." - Justina Robson

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