A Tossed Salad of Replies...

Paul Andinach pandinac at ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au
Tue Dec 7 21:07:00 EST 2004

On Tue, 7 Dec 2004, Dorian E. Gray wrote:

> Moving on to the book that (apparently) dare not speak its name...

It's not that I dare not speak its name; it's more that I don't
respect it enough to bother speaking its name. With perhaps a nod to
the fact that in my more emotive moods just the thought of the thing
makes me feel like swearing profusely.

> Paul added to the controversy...
> > I read it because of a talk Tim Powers did on writing secret
> > histories at Swancon this year[1], where he said that one of the
> > signs of a bad secret history is a notice at the front saying
> > "This is all true"
> ...and this reminded me of Mary Gentle's "Ash: A Secret History".
> But that book does not state outright "this is all true"; it simply
> gives notes and attachments and editorial bits that *sound* as if
> they are genuine - and it's only when you're well into the book that
> you realise that these notes and things are actually part of the
> story.

Yes, but in 'Ash' it's the *characters* telling you that it's all
true, not the author; which is something quite different. A notice
saying "This is all true" is fine as long as it's part of the story;
it's when the notice is trying to say that "this is all true in the
world that you, the reader, live in" that it's a problem.

Anyway, the frame narrative of 'Ash' is explicitly set in the future,
which is kind of a hint that it's just a story.

[1] (legacy footnote)

"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

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