Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trees and Bolts

Orson Scott Card once wrestled (as a teaching exercise I seem to recall) with the entire definition of what constitutes Fantasy and what is Science Fiction, raising many of the arguments Matt mentions in his essay. Finally, almost in frustration it seemed to me, he pared it down to its most basic structure: Fantasy has elves and trees, while Science Fiction has bolts and metal.

That's it. Everything else is fodder for academic debate, which has nothing to do with actual writers telling stories.

And yes, I agree that the Dune books are a lovely mix of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Such fine books. Too bad they're being spoiled by those wretched pre-Dune novels, which now outnumber the originals, if I recall correctly.

I can't say that the Dune books inspired me to write. More they inspired me to give up all such hopes. How could I ever hope to compete in a field that had these treasures in them? The trick though, at least for me, was in not trying to write like Frank Herbert. I can see his influence all over in Matt's writing though -- at least when he's really on his game.

Above and to the left you can see that my new Fables prose novel, Peter and Max, is getting some nice, front-of-store, placement. This pic was taken by Chris Ryall (he who wields mucho power at IDW publishers) while on a trip to Seattle.

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