Genre prejudice

Charles Butler hannibal at
Wed Jul 16 12:16:33 EDT 2003

> I think one could reasonably make a case that _Hexwood_'s story _is_
> told in order. We go from "characters know nothing", though "characters
> learn about their situation and what they're trying to do", to
> "characters triumph over adversity". The fact that this is not strictly
> mapped to linear time - because, in effect, some of the characters have
> undergone the journey twice -  is not as important as the narrative
> flow.

This distinction between the order of the events being described and the
order in which they are related is often offered as the distinction between
'plot' and 'story', isn't it? Or it could be the other way round: I have a
blind spot about that - but it is a useful distinction all the same, and I
suspect it underlies this disagreement.

Either way, narrative flow is the important thing, to be sure. Flashbacks,
nested narratives, narratives begun in media res, and flashforwards, all
seem to me quite legit if they are used to serve the narrative rather than
to interrupt it pointlessly. DWJ often uses effects of this kind - not just
in Hexwood, but in Archer's Goon, say, or Time of the Ghost, and in F&H,
which is mostly told in flashback (in imitation of the Odyssey, yes? And
that Homer was no storytelling slouch...)


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