Sunday, 25 September 2016

Mundane And Exotic

We make an artificial distinction between the mundane and the exotic. The mundane is just the exotic that we have got used to. When Diana Crowfeather takes the Wodenite Axor to the Sign of the Golden Cockbeetle on the planet Imhotep, there are six outback miners (human), two joygirls (human) and one Tigery (a Starkadian refugee). To Diana, this is mundane. Axor was exotic when she first saw him but he soon becomes familiar. Diana's environment has a constant interface between the exotic and the mundane. But so does ours.

Early in the twentieth century, it was still thought that our galaxy was the entire universe. In the 1960's, it was still theoretically possible that planets were rare or even unique to the Solar System. Now we mentally inhabit an exotic expanding universe of many extrasolar planets, black holes, dark matter and dark energy. Contemporary novels refer to computers and the Internet in a way that would still have been science fiction until very recently. Indeed, sf anticipated such developments. See here.

I am still toying with the idea that, while characters in contemporary fiction go about their mundane business, Manse Everard of the Time Patrol lives in his apartment in New York. How can fiction adequately reflect this coexistence of the mundane and the exotic?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I agree with what you said about how WE live in a mixture of the mundane and exotic. But my view is we still have not done and gone far enough! Such as seriously getting OFF this rock. And not because we lack the means or knowledge for at least STARTING to do so, but the WILL.

I like the idea of a real Manse Everard equivalent living in his New York City apartment as WE go about our mundane lives! Altho a real Manse Everard would live mostly in NYC in between his assignments, missions, and investigations for the Time Patrol.