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skyknyt: (today I'm going to fly)
[personal profile] skyknyt
So Lise gave me some topics to talk about in my journal, and since I've wanted to get back into the whole, you know, writing stuff that other people actually read thing, here they are:
1. More Madoka analyses!
2. I remember you saying a while ago you were leaving your job to work on a comic script. But I also know you're working at Blizzard again. So what happened in there?
3. What are you writing lately?
4. Books/anime/TV/movies that have caught your interest recently
5. Why so many anime have Neal Stephenson endings.
6. Skyrim is awesome, but still not as awesome as Morrowind - and why
7. Why people should read Michael Swanwick

Why people should read Michael Swanwick

Okay, this is an easy one, but it's also kind of a hard one. Michael Swanwick probably isn't for everyone. His work is gritty, his main characters tend to be people who make bad or unethical decisions, decisions the audience probably disagrees with, and his writing has been criticized as nihilistic.

Phew, that's a pretty harsh statement! I also think it's a short-sighted, unfair one, spoken more in defensiveness than it is grounded in wisdom. Swanwick ultimately cares about placing realistic characters in societies that are reflections of the ones we live in, based on a wider set of traditions than are acknowledged by genre fantasy. As such, it involves unusual people doing unusual things that make complete sense within the sphere of their lives and world, motivated by the same kinds of things that inspire us to behave like we do.

As such, his scifi and fantasy works are more interested with reflecting how people live than they are with how genre fiction is supposed to work. His characters hurt each other, love each other, fuck each other, and tell lies as if they didn't have magic spells or time travel or nano-constructors close at hand. Which I suppose is an underlying theme of his work - that people will be people regardless of what technologies they've got to work with.

But it also means that his work is consistently surprising and unusual - finding out an elf princess's worst memory is standing over her mom strapped to an iron lung for a thousand years. Not knowing if the fox spirit a bureaucrat meets in the woods is a drug fueled dream or a representative of a dying race or his shapeshifting opponent and/or merely his spirit animal. Realizing at the end that there have been no coincidences, no wasted scenes, that even what seemed like filler, what seemed throwaway, had been vitally important all along. It's the story structure that a good short story writer knows intuitively, but most novelists can't deliver on successfully.*

He's not quite Gene Wolfe, but that's a tall order for most folks, isn't it?

*Because it's hard, see topic 5

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