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Po? Mo? Me?
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So yesterday my boss was telling me that Rangergirl is a postmodern novel more than a fantasy novel. He made a good case, though I don't entirely agree -- despite a certain interrogating-the-text quality in Rangergirl, I don't think it's all that different from stuff done by Charles de Lint, say, or Peter Beagle's contemporary fantasies like Folk of the Air. I tend to think of myself as a core fantasy guy. My boss says that my most successful stories have not been my core fantasy pieces, but my more postmodern ones, and he says "Hart and Boot" is postmodern. My boss says I have more in common with Jonathan Lethem than with core fantasy people (but maybe he just means elfy-welfy fantasy? I'm not sure). So now I've been wandering around for a day thinking about whether or not my work is postmodern. "The Frozen One" certainly is, though I didn't approach it that way consciously -- it's a story about the nature of stories, and it has some meta stuff going on. I guess maybe my story in Twenty Epics, "Cup and Table", could be considered pomo, since it's more about connective tissue and the moments between momentous events than it is about the events themselves -- more about the ripples than about the moment of the stone striking the water, like the stories Virginia Woolf preferred to write. I've had this idea for a story that actually matches perfectly with one of the definitions my boss gave for postmodernism -- that is, stories where people are not privileged over objects or setting, where human characters don't have any more inherent importance than rocks or trees or cars or chainsaws. I've been thinking about writing a story in which there are no human characters, just animals and objects. And while the animals act like animals, not Aesop's fable animals, I do have some fantasy stuff going on in terms of the objects/sentience/etc. Now I’m all self-conscious about the idea, though.

I just want to tell cool stories. I shouldn't be thinking about whether my stuff is pomo. I got neck-deep in lit crit in college, and applying that kind of thinking to my own work would be suicidal. I'm not an experimental writer. When I futz with traditional narrative forms, it's for one of two reasons: to better serve the story, or to try to jostle myself out of my rut-tendency toward strictly linear point-a-to-point-b plotting. If I'm pomo sometimes, well, so be it. I'm lots of other things, too, probably. As long as I concentrate on telling neat stories about cool shit, I guess I'll be okay.



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