Sunday, 9 April 2017

Fictional Narratives

A text published in the real world describes events occurring in a fictional world. Sometimes that same text is also published, or at least is written, in the fictional world, e.g.:

Dr Watson's narratives;
the first ten of the twelve James Bond novels, revealed to have been written by a former friend and colleague of Commander Bond;
the twelve works collected in Poul Anderson's The Earth Book Of Stormgate;
Anderson's "The Star Plunderer," introduced as perhaps a work of fiction about the Founder of the Terran Empire;
the text of Anderson's Operation Chaos, which is transmitted between universes;
I think that Steve Matuchek tells us that he is writing, but not immediately publishing, Operation Luna?

Within their fictional universes, these texts may be accurate accounts or partially fictionalized or entirely fictional. Thus, without having to change anything in "The Star Plunderer," Anderson could have written an entirely different account of Manuel Argos to be included in the Technic History. And that is rather odd.

8 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I took a quick look at the beginning and end of OPERATION LUNA but I saw no mention of Steven Matuchek WRITING that book for future publication. I think I have a vague recollection of him saying that somewhere in OL.

    And you now have me wondering what kind of story about Manuel Argos Poul Anderson might have written if he had decided not to use "The Star Plunderer" as the apparently quasi fictional account of the Founder's origins.

    Sean

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    Replies
    1. Sean,
      Yes, the remark is somewhere in OL and I have referred to it somewhere on the blog.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      It only goes to show OPERATION LUNA is one of the many books I should reread. Including some of Stirling's books.

      Some time ago you happened to mention the works of Robert Hugh Benson. I got interested and looked him up. That led to me buy a copy of his LORD OF THE WORLD. Even the first few pages interested me because of him using such SF concepts as an early form of water beds (something later thought up by Heinlein). I would classify Fr. Benson as belonging to the second generation of modern SF writers, in succession to Verne and Wells.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      LORD OF THE WORLD is Benson's dystopia. THE DAWN OF ALL is his version of a Utopia - with heretics executed.
      Paul.

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    4. Kaor, Paul!

      And I would disagree with executing heretics! Better to simply excommunicate them. Since THE DAWN OF ALL is a NOVEL I think it is fair to point out that does not mean HE personally would approve of executing heretics. SF writers like Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, and S.M. Stirling have repeatedly declared they don't always agree with what their characters say or do.

      Sean

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    5. By "HE" I meant Robert Hugh Benson. Drat my tendency to write too hastily!

      Sean

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    6. Sean,
      And sometimes the author does express his own values. See what you think when you have read LORD OF THE WORLD.
      Paul.

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    7. Kaor, Paul!

      Of course many fiction writers WILL include ideas and beliefs they agree with in their works. Including the authors I listed above. I'll let you know what I think of LORD OF THE WORLD once I finish the book.

      Most of what I know about Fr. Benson came from reading the Wikipedia article about him. I know Wiki has to be used with caution, but the author of the article seems to regard him as a kindly and decent man.

      Sean

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