Two notable items today from the Tor.com website. About stories; about crashed spaceships (loosely).
Tor.com, Jonathan Thornton, 15 Nov 2022: Shimmering Prose, Painful Truths: Where to Start With the Stories of M. Rickert
The writer quotes M. Rickert, a writer of fantasy over the past 20 years, whom I admit I’ve little read. (I met her briefly once, at the World Fantasy Con in Sarasota Springs, in 2007, while she was in Charles Brown’s tow.)
“The thing to understand,” she said, “is that all life is about the stories we tell. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Remember, if they try, that is a story too. The story of doubt. Choose carefully the stories you believe.” (The Shipbuilder of Bellfairie, 38)
Thornton goes on to explore her ideas, and the idea of stories as a way of understanding the world.
This of course is theme that has emerged in cultural and psychological discourse over recent decades. To the point where the psychologists point out that humans cannot escape interpreting everything as a story, as a cause and effect narrative. This is the source of all religion and myth, perhaps, but it can hobble our understanding of the actual, real, universe, that does not always operate that way. Some things happen for no reason; some things are random.
One of my concerns on this blog is how to reconcile the ideas of science fiction, which attempts to imagine how the world might work, with this understanding of how it actually does, via advances in science.
Tor.com, Lavie Tidhar, 14 Nov 2022: Five SFF Books About Crashed Spaceships
The Tor.com website runs lots of posts like this — lists of classic books on a particular theme — often written by various prolific reviewers, but this one is special because the writer is a major novelist. (Here’s his sfadb.com page.)
His five picks are all admirable: novels by Bester, Morgan, Brin, Pohl, and Reed. Though I think his rationale for calling these novels as about “crashed spaceships” is slender in most cases. Still, an excellent reading list.
And the photo at the top of the column, credited to Hao Zhang at Unsplash.com, is so striking I’m going to use it for this post. Even though it’s obviously not a crashed spaceship.