Friday, 25 September 2015

Issues In Fictions

I am extremely impressed with the range of issues covered by the posts so far this month:

time
history
prehistory
civilization
the Aeneid
Greeks and Romans
Tacitus
the sciences
AI
the creation of life
surviving the end of the universe
quantum indeterminacy
chaos
the Crusades
the Knights Templar
Odysseus
Frankenstein
superheroes
future histories

I have begun to reread Harvest The Fire (New York, 1997), Volume III of Poul Anderson's later Harvest of Stars future history. In the Prologue:

Jorge Luis Borges wrote Ficciones;
Harvest The Fire is a science fiction novel by Anderson;
in Harvest The Fire, Jesse Nicol, living in our future, experiences the interactive fiction of a virtual reality in which he converses with the simulated Borges;
Nicol presents his real future history to Borges as a work of imaginative fiction;
Borges comments, "'You seem to have invented a world as complete as Tolkien's...'" (p. 21);
Nicol reflects that his account almost is a fiction, "...as far short as it fell of the richness of reality." (p. 28)

How many fictions within fictions are there here? Within Anderson's novel, there is Nicol's virtual reality and, within that, there is Nicol's almost fictitious account of Anderson's fictional future history.

Anderson maintains the consistency of his future history, e.g. p. 6 of Harvest Of Stars (London, 1994) introduces a gadget called a "maintainor" and more of these gadgets appear on p. 10 of Harvest The Fire. Such background details give future histories body and verisimilitude.

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