It snowed a couple of days ago, but there was no accumulation.
The reading at Dreamhaven went well. All the chairs were filled, and I sold some books. Ruth Berman gave me a ride home, which was wonderful, and I am very grateful.
Science Fiction, Science, Politics, Economics, Art and Bird Watching
I read SF as a kid, because it was about the real world, which included nuclear holocaust and McCarthyite witch hunts. I guess one of the appeals of good SF is horror and despair, and the roughness of SF, the lack of polished style, may have contributed to a sense of reality. Would you polish your sentences, if you were dying of radiation sickness? --I don't like genre horror, maybe because the horrors in horror are not usually real ones. But since I don't like genre horror, I haven't read enough to be sure why I dislike it.
"The landscape of realism has narrowed. If you think of the straight literary novels of the past decade—The Marriage Plot, The Interestings, The Art of Fielding, Freedom—they often deal with stories and characters from a very particular economic and social position. Realism, as a literary project, has taken as its principle subject the minute social struggles of people who have graduated mainly from Ivy League schools."
Decades ago I was reading the novels of Alice Adams and Laurie Colwin. They are both good writers in a New Yorker way. At a certain point, I think while reading Colwin, I realized I was reading about the emotional problems of people with trust funds. So I went back to science fiction.I need to set myself a test. How long can I go without mentioning Iceland or the Icelandic sagas? How long can I go without mentioning my own writing?
I suppose I could see the current literary situation as the triumph of science fiction, with all these elite literary writers pillaging SFF for ideas. I don't like it, though I have no trouble with the triumph of SFF in popular culture. I suppose I ought to see a therapist re my dislike of the American upper middle class and their art. I want them to keep their sticky fingers off my beloved space ships and trolls.
What I remember about Adams at this distance in time was -- her writing had some tics that bothered me. She began too many sentences and paragraphs with 'and.' If the 'and' is actually needed, use a semi-colon instead of beginning a new sentence. Most of the time, it wasn't needed. It was there to make the style sound smoother. No. Never use words that are not needed.
Come to think of it, my ideas of style are probably shaped -- at least in part -- by the Icelandic sagas, which have a very spare style. Though they have a couple of interesting tics of their own. The sagas love prepositions, as do Minnesotans. Why say 'take hold' when you can say 'take hold of?' And like Minnesotans, the saga writers use a lot of pointer words. I don't know what the right term for these are. Words like 'there' and'then.' 'That's a nice car (or sword) you have there.' 'So how did you like the concert (or battle) then?'