Thursday, March 23, 2006

In the West, Seventeen Horns Blowin'


Patrick Samphire has some thoughts about metaphor in speculative fiction. I think he's right on, here; metaphor tends to get lost when you're writing about the fantastic. I think, though, that it's not always due to a fault of the reading. It can also have to do with the nature of SF, wherein things can be literal which would otherwise impossible. Even something as trite as "I gave her my heart" can be written as fact in certain sorts of stories. More subtle metaphors can get completely lost in the press of impossible become reality, and SF readers aren't necessarily trained to spot them. It's hard, I think, to read on both levels at once, which is why otherwise smart readers will sometimes fixate on the plot significance of something that's intended to be symbolic. Frustrating, no doubt.

Other stuff.

I love the Dixie Chicks, and I don't care who knows it. Follow the link to hear a brand-new song off their upcoming album.

In a letter dated Monday, 250 scientists protested a federal proposal to no longer protect grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area under the Endangered Species Act. Two days later The Wildlife Society and the National Wildlife Federation come out in favor of de-listing. You know what this means; the bears are now selling tickets to a Scientist Cage Match! BYOF. (That's Fish.)

In India, Clive the 250-year-old tortoise dies of liver failure.

Spiritists in Hell's Kitchen.

Worst fake Bigfoot video ever. I wouldn't even point to it, but it comes from Ely, Minnesota. I mean, that's even farther north than Embarrass, Minnesota. There isn't a lot for the folks to do up there, you know. Probably that's the latest in winter fashion.

Things That Can't Possibly Turn Out Well #3528: Bruce Lee: The Musical.

You may have already seen this, but this young man needs to be given his props for out-debating his Republican Senator on gay rights issues. Go read.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. I snerk at "I gave her my heart" because the apparently-not-to-be-published story for which "Vision" is the sequel begins: "I stole his heart before I left." And then there's a screwdriver, and the cracking of ribs.

And I'm reminded of the "Some Zombie Contingency Plans" kerfluffle, and the way that some folks insisted the zombies were metaphor _or_ real. (I still say they're both.)

But then, the ability to take a metaphor and treat it as literal is part of what I _like_ about fantasy (and sf? but mostly fantasy).

I don't think doing that makes it not a metaphor.

Just, it makes it a metaphor for something different, instead.

- H

8:34 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I think that perhaps the ideal is to make your metaphors do extra work; to make them signify in the story-sense and the symbol-sense. That is, if you're bothering with metaphors at all.

I say this in part because I agree with you about "Some Zombie Contingency Plans."

10:46 AM  

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