Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Important Public Announcement!

It's Wednesday, and this is quite important!

... It isn't entirely true, but it isn't entirely wrong either; and it is most definitely important.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Literature as a genre - asking questions of texts

It's Wednesday again...

Some of my dear readers may have noticed that I very often go out of my way to avoid using the term "literature", and instead talk about "written fiction". I'm not being eccentric, though. I have a point.

Literature is a genre all of its own, just like fantasy or science fiction or spy thrillers are.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

On the wrongness of hobbits

It is Hevensday today...

Fantasy and science fiction are characterized, more than by anything else, by taking place in worlds that are significantly different from the world that the writer (and reader) lives in.

The characters who live in such a world need to make choices; that's how personality is shown. That's what personality is: The values, morals, preferences and inclinations, of an individual, as seen in the choices that he or she makes.

The reader must be able to appreciate and evaluate these choices, form an opinion of them, and one criterion for good fantasy or good science fiction is that the choices must be dependent upon at least some of the ways in which the world of the story is different from the world that the writer (and reader) lives in1. In order to make this evaluation of the character, the reader must therefore know how the world works, how the new or strange or otherwise different things in the world works. The reader has to know the rules.

How can the reader come to know the rules?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Horror, the easy genre 1/2

It's Wednesday again... 

People often use the term speculative fiction, or the acronym SF, about the genres of fantasy, science fiction and horror, but horror is the odd man out. It doesn't fit. It has relatively little in common with fantasy and science fiction, whether from the perspective of the writer (or worldbuilder or GM) or the reader (or player or other consumer), whereas fantasy and science fiction have a lot in common with each other.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

On Knowledge

I know that today is a Wednesday

This is the first of two (or perhaps three) blog entries about the subject of knowledge, the way I deal with it, and some of my thoughts on it, such as one silly way that I see some other people dealing with it, knowledge of what to expect, common knowledge that is false, "levels" of knowledge, and so forth.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Classifications of fantasy?

It's Wednesday again...

There are several different terms used to classify written fantasy fiction, but they aren't used consistently.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Two ways in which a world can be high magic

So, it has finally become Wednesday again

For reasons I won't go into here, a weekly schedule is not possible as of now, so I'll strive for a new post every 2nd week for now.

One definition - but not the only one - of "high fantasy" is that it's fantasy taking place in a magic-rich world. More on high fantasy and other subgenres in this blog post, though. Here I'll look at high magic, by contrasting two very different fantasy worlds that, in spite of their stark differences, can both reasonably be said to be high magic.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Genre / Medium / Mood / Length part 2/2

It's Wednesday again...

... And this is the continuation of a previous blog entry.

In the earlier blog entry, I talked about genre, medium and mood. This entry will talk about length, and perhaps return to talk a bit more about genre, medium or mood.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Genre / Medium / Mood / Length part 1/2

It's Wednesday again...

This post is going to be about one approach of looking at and classifying fictions, be they non-interactive fictions such as literature written stories, movies and TV shows, or interactive fictions such as computer games or RPG campaigns.

There are three primary label tag types that one must assign to a fiction, and one secondary tag type that is sometimes somewhat useful, making for a total of four.

These four are Genre, Medium and Mood, with Length being the one usually of less importance.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

2011/04 Best reads 2/2 The Dawn Palace by Helen M. Hoover

It's Wednesday again...

In this blog entry, I'm going to talk about the other best read of April 2011, "The Dawn Palace: The Story of Medea" by YA science fiction author Helen M. Hoover. The first novel was le Guin's "A Wizard of Earthsea".

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

2011/04 Best reads 1/2 A Wizard of Earthsea by le Guin

It's Wednesday again...

In this kind of blog entry I'll write about the best novel or novels I've read or re-read in a past month, usually the month immediately previous, although sometimes I'll go back some months or a year or two, to highlight something really good that for whatever reason I haven't wanted to re-read. Or if it is a really long work, like the May's Pliocene Exile or Turtledove's Tosev timeline series.

In any month I might write one, two, three or zero such entries (often zero, I'd expect). If it's a series novel, just one long story told in multiple volumes, it'll get one entry although it may be longer.

This first is about the 1968 YA fantasy, "A Wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. le Guin. The second April 2011 entry, to be posted later, is about "The Dawn Palace: The Story of Medea" by Helen M. Hoover.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


It's Wednesday again...

In this blog entry, Jo Walton talks a bit about "incluing", a word she invented when she was in her teens, used for the (subtle and non-intrusive) way in which a fantasy or science fiction writer can convey important information to the reader about the world in which the story takes place.

She also provides a new and brilliant term, STP, from chemistry. It stands for "Standard temperature and pressure".

STP is about what's assumed to be normal. In chemistry, it is assumed that the experiment (or synthesis, or analysis) is conducted under "normal conditions", meaning a temperature not far from room temperature (20 degrees Celcius), and a pressure that's not far from 100'000 pascal. It's implicit, taken for granted. It's how it is unless stated otherwise.

When writing fantasy or science fiction, it is useful for the writer to think about what the STP for his world is, or what the STP is for particular in-world cultures (or for subcultures, or even for abnormal individuals) within that setting. What's considered normal? What's considered usual? What do they expect? What would surprise them?

The List(tm) of things you know cannot happen

It's Wednesday again...

Back in the early summer of 1987 (or possibly 86, when I was 9, but I have reason to bet on 1987), something happened to me. Up until some point before that, I had been stuck with just three television channels, Denmark's Radio (DR, now called DR1) and the two Swedish public service channels, but then the first competitor to DR arrived, Kanal 2, which could only be watched if you had a special decoder box (a little "research" suggests to me that Kanal 2 could only be received in the Greater Copenhagen area; it wasn't nation-wide as I had assumed).

And at one point, once a week for a very few weeks, Kanal 2 would show a Japanese anime film in the afternoon.

The novelty factor was extreme. I was like: "Wow!!"

I was like: "This is so super cool!"

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

delta World

It's Wednesday again, and this is the first post with actual content...

Now that I've gotten most of the boring formalities out of the way, it's time to begin using the blog for what - I imagine - blogs are for: Thinking out loud.

This post is going to be about a "measurement" that I call delta world or delta-W, tagged as deltaw with no hyphen (because I don't know - and won't trust - how this blog interface thingie copes with hyphens; more than 25 years of experience using various computers has made me justifiably paranoid about such things).

About this blog

It's time to post again

By choosing the title of my blog, I've pretty much locked myself in, as far as the update schedule is concerned. It'll be one post per week, and the dear reader might be able to guess which day of the week it'll be.

I plan on cheating, though.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The first post, ever

It is Wednesday...

In the good old days, back when people were not fanatically close-minded about the possibility of biological differences between humans, the year count was often updated at around this time, e.g. the 25th of March in much of White Christ-using Europe, which was a few days after the spring equinox, and also in some other places the year was reckoned to begin in early spring.

So, I'm thinking, this might be a good time to start my weekly blog.