Tuesday, November 6, 2007

More Unclassifiable

My roommate at WFC, Neile Graham, left a copy of Jonathan Strahan's new anthology, ECLIPSE, lying around our room, and during a failed afternoon nap I started reading it. This was because (1) it looked interesting, (2) it was there, and (3) I owe a story to ECLIPSE 2 and so it seemed a good idea to get a sense of what the editor wants. Eventually I bought a copy in the dealers' room, and I still have no idea what the editor wants. But it certainly is interesting.

The three stories I've read so far are definitely not SF, but they're not any recognzable (at least to me) subgenre of fantasy either. No magic (maybe). Andy Duncan's hilarious "Unique Chicken Goes In Reverse" is funny and sad with a punch at the end, but he's riffing un-magically on things far removed from spells, swords, or gritty urban wizards. This story is wonderful; I'm recommending it for a Nebula. Peter Beagle's "The Last and Only, or Mr. Muscowitz Becomes French" is as far from his last year's award winner, "Two Hearts," as it is possible to get. It's a compressed biography of a strange life written mostly in exposition (which I tell me students is a no-no!) and frustrated sadness. And Ellen Klages's "Mrs. Zeno's Paradox" uses the equipment of SF (linear accelerators, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle) to slyly turn the world of philosophical premises feminist.

I love that these stories are so genuinely weird, so completely unclassifiable. They expand my mind, which is more than nearly all space opera does -- including the space operas I've written myself.

What does that say?


bluesman miike Lindner said...

It means fine fiction gets the reader into a better place. I agree with Colin Wilson's view that Samuel Richardson's CLARISSA, the first modern novel, was, uh, "one giant step for mankind. (And womankind too!") (This board really needs smileys.) We are all trapped in the day-to-day. Yet something deep within us demands more. A first step on the walk towards transcendence. Fiction, like music, poetry, wine, or love, ties the shoestrings.

Derryl Murphy said...

Y'know, I had such a great time at WFC, and then I discover that someone was there I really wanted to see or meet and didn't, dammit! And so here you casually mention that Neile was your roomie, and I only know Neile online and would love to meet her. Rats.

Nice seeing you, though, however briefly it was.