Well, I am getting around to cleaning out my inbox and came across this unfortunately forgotten tidbit. I have been slacking on my own blog (Philosophy that Bakes Bread) and will shortly return to that, but wanted to stomp around a little in Space to Simplify. Expect a few copied posts from Philosophy that Bakes Bread and some conversational contributions within, oh, let’s say a week.
I noticed that Lauren posted some literature she has delved into recently and I wanted to make a few comments on that. I plan on having a movie night next week for the recent A&E adaptation of Ursula K le Guin’s “The Lathe of Heaven.” Le Guin is a widely recognized and loved feminist SF writer who really picks up on the concerns, social movements, and unspoken issues of the day. The her novel The Lathe of Heaven is not my favorite of her works (see The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia), it does capture so many of the issues burgeoning into the socio-political sphere in the early Seventies. Not only that, it manages to be an SF novel that pokes fun at the common SF tropes through the nonchalant wit of her characters.
Anyway, what I want to get to is mention of those works of fiction that capture ideas more accurately than essay-based prose. Lauren has spread her love of the Dune series with me, for which I am appreciative, but there are many more. The works of Philip K Dick describe a world only slightly different from our own but shifted such that we can see it differently, more clearly in a way. Trying to watch an adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, a bizarrely delicious SF read by Ray Bradbury, brought back some of the ethereal and prescient charm of the book. I poked fun at my non-“genre-fiction” reading friend for loving Flowers for Algernon, which uses a theoretical surgery to change narrative voice and create a dynamically intelligent persona while attempting to maintain a cogent, solid personal character. You can also read my post on Avatar and the review futurist Ray Kurzweil gave it if you’d like.
I focus on SF because it gets such short shrift when the devices of SF can be so subtle so as to be missed entirely. What we see is never what we get, but reliable SF writers are happy to point this out to you, only to provide you with many more layers than critics and naysayers would expect at all. I do not want discussion to focus exclusively on SF, but it is something like a forte or passion for me right now. Returning to the point, what fiction have you read that has made you think more sharply, more astutely, and distinctly differently because of how and that the narrative is told?