May 21st, 2007


(no subject)

Yesterday I helped Mike K. playtest the D&D module that Thomas & I contributed to ages and ages ago. It was fun; I got to play the were-tiger. Played with people I didn't know, which is pretty unusual. We usually game within our group, which makes us spoiled because we don't have any 'problem' players. Not that anyone there was trouble -- quite the contrary. But it was different to game with folks I didn't know already.

Watched All About Eve for Movie Night last night. What a great movie! Bette Davis is a really spectacular actress. There were a number of scenes where volumes were conveyed, effortlessly, with a particular pause or a gesture. I wish that more movies were able to do that. It's packed with great witty and catty dialogue, and then when characters start to get downright evil... man. Good stuff.

Tonight we watched Eddie Izzard, who is a funny funny bloke. In a dress. There were only a couple lines that escaped me on account of British accent, but I had to listen pretty closely.

It's been pretty warm lately, but there were thundershowers today and it's cooling off considerably tomorrow. I'm taking the car in for service again, now that the part is in. Hopefully I won't pop another tire.

It's hard to figure out what to work on during weeks when I have a bunch of things scheduled. I don't want to waste a lot of spin-up time loading all the details of a project into the active memory part of my brain if I'll just be losing it all to the distractions of dentist appointments and meetings in a day. Today I ended up reconfiguring my fetchmail setup and sorting several hundred messages into storage.

I find that reading books can be like that, too; I've been holding off on the end of Rainbows End because it's starting to get complicated and I don't want to read it in little bits and pieces that'll cause me to lose track of what's going on and miss subtle clues about who's doing what and why and what the point of the whole thing is. Hopefully tomorrow at the auto dealership I'll have time to finish it.

SF subgenre

So, on the subject of speculative fiction, we've got our two big divisions, sci-fi and fantasy, right?

Sci-fi is often called the "fiction of ideas", and is all about exploring what the world would be like if X were true, and it has a particular set of tropes (starships, aliens, new technologies, etc.) that go along with that.

Whereas fantasy is about telling mythic tales about archetypes -- the trickster, the hero, the journey through the underworld, etc. -- and it has another set of tropes (dragons, magic, swords, etc.) that resonate with that kind of story.

Now, we have some stories (Star Wars being perhaps the best example) where the author uses the tropes of sci-fi to tell a mythic tale in the fantasy mode. The story doesn't explore the implications of space travel, it uses the spaceship as a substitute for the hero's trusty steed. These kinds of stories get called "science fantasy".

My question for you, dear reader, is what would you call the inverse of science fantasy? That is, a story that explores the implications of various speculative statements made involving fantasy tropes? A story that doesn't use the dragon as a symbol of greed and power, but inquires what are the consequences of dragons being top predators in a primarily thaumivorous ecology?

Because I think that's a lot of what I'm interested in writing.