Ven ven at vvcrane.junglelink.co.uk
Wed Aug 30 22:39:17 EDT 2000

Courtney wrote
> A quote:
> "Delany has proposed (in some of the essays in Starboard Wine [1984]) that
> the difference between genres is not content, but what he calls "reading
> protocols," the techniques a skilled reader brings to a text to unpack
> "meaning" from it."

I should have known Mr Delany had something apposite to say about this............. 
I was briefly in a local writers group, I left because I got fed up with 
always being the person who wrote the weird stuff, even when I 
conciously attempted something more mainstream. One 
assignment, to think of a way of walking, attach it to a character 
and get writing turned out (eventually)to be the first chapter of a 
fantasy novel. The tutor was boggled by it, she couldn't get a 
handle on the setting at all, yet no reader of fantasy etc who has 
seen it ever had any trouble.

Come to think of it when I had my planetary setting excludes high 
fantasy revelation I was writing for a role playing game, its 
interactive nature made me hyperaware of my audience and their 
readings (or what ever word is appropiate in an RPG). 

I wish my mail programme let me select more than one block of 
text to quote in a reply. Melissa enquired as to examples of the 
same story told in both genres (SF and Fantasy). I'm sure there 
are lots of examples where people have used the same myth or 
fairytale but the one that springs to mind is "The Picture of Dorian 
Grey" for fantasy and "Jekyll and Hyde" for SF. I got that one out of 
the encyclopedia of Fantasy too, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought 
of it before.

Mary Ann, of course everything comes down to taxonomy. I rather 
think I'm a nominalist at heart. You should hear the arguments 
cactus people have about taxonomy. There are currently thousands 
of named species but some people think there should be about 
eight! Thats no use to people who want to collect lots of cacti that 
look different.............

Shapeshifters and the conservation of mass: when I used to play 
AD&D our rather technically minded group were always trying to 
find scientific explanations forn how spells worked. One allowed 
you to fill a chest with heavy stuff then dismiss it somewhere until 
you wanted it again. We decided they must go to "the elemental 
plane of chests" which we made up (eventually one of the chests 
returned empty and we had to go there to find out who or what had 
nicked our treasure). Anyhow we decided that all sorts of 
inconvenient matter must be stored there, like the mass the 
shapeshifter wasn't using. Its one of the things I like about magic, 
you can find an explanation for anything.


You are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom.
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