Vector #230

Another scene that would be read as mystical or magical, is the initiation ceremony where Eyvind becomes a Wolfskin, and again I’ve tried very hard not to spell out what happens in that scene. While there is something that is supremely mystical and life-changing, I don’t spell out how much of it is physically real and how much of it is in his head. Even towards the end, where the magical harp plays its music, I’ve tried not to say how it sounds, just that it’s different for each person. It’s not overtly magical, but that magical thread is there throughout.

Juliet Marillier

Litt, on the other hand, made the familiar argument (hey, I’ve made it myself enough times) that fantasy and horror is the tradition, and realism the genre-come-lately. I suspect the fantastic as a term does not make sense until you get a highly developed notion of imitative realism to contrast it with, but I more than take his point. He also riffed nicely on the engraving with the words “the sleep of reason produces monsters,” and discussed the monsters of reason, reasonable monsters. He, like the chap from Time Out, seems to be labouring under the misapprehension that science fiction is about the future, which I don’t find convincing. And because science fiction actually has a rather poor record when it comes to prediction — stopped clock being right twice a day — it only allows you to dismiss the genre. He rightly notes the technomelancholia in Gibson, but melancholy is there in many sf writers, especially the new wave and post-new wave — in particular post-imperial melancholy. Indeed, one of the tones of cyberpunk is nostalgia.

Andrew M. Butler