Monday, 10 April 2017

Ghost Ships And An Otherworldly Castle

Hard sf writers can hint at fantasy. See here and when SM Stirling's Sir Nigel Loring looks up at Mount Angel:

" this light it seemed otherworldly... the pale whitewash shining as if carved from a single opal and lit by some internal glow."
-SM Stirling, A Meeting At Corvallis (New York, 2007), Chapter Fifteen, p. 379.

When it rained:

"...the fortress-monastery vanished like a castle in a dream." (p. 380)

Poul Anderson could write about Ivar Frederiksen sailing a ghost ship across a dead sea and SM Stirling could write about Sir Nigel entering a castle in the Otherworld but they don't happen to be writing that kind of fiction right now.

Fantasy and sf connect in the characters' minds. In Anderson's "The Saturn Game," astronauts exploring a very hard sf environment, an outer moon, lose themselves in a fantasy role play with dramaric results - but the fantasy does not become literally true. This is not that kind of fiction.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

This is as good a place as any to comment that the role playing of the characters in Stirling's Change books is NOT role playing. Which is what I think you seemed to say in some prior blog notes. How could it be when medieval technology and its military applications (such as massed archery, use of armor, castles, etc.) WORKS? Nor could it be "role playing" when the characters (Bearkillers, Protectorate, Mackenzies, etc.) BELIEVE in what they are doing. And are transmitting such beliefs to their children and grandchildren.

Rather, the truly archaic types are aging survivors from before the Change who persist in thinking in late 20th century ways.