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The Literary Weird: Murakami, Borges, Burroughs, et al

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angelslayah
(@angelslayah)
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Topic starter
 

I recently wrote to an aspiring sci-fi writer, who had just discovered Iain M. Banks, that his "mainstream" works (dropping the middle initial) are also well worth reading -particularly his breakout novel The Wasp Factory, which could hardly be more weird, yet has no elements of sci-fi or fantasy.

This got me thinking about writers and creators who work in a literary manner at the edges of genre, carving their own unique paths through that territory:

• Haruki Murakami, who will bring in a character like "Colonel Sanders" who is not quite a god, not quite an inter-dimensional being, but something like an embodied "abstract concept" 

• Anna Kavan and Doris Lessing who may be writing sci-fi/fantasy... but really maybe not

Jorge Luis Borges with his infinite library and eternal tigers, William S. Burroughs with whatever the hell he's doing, (re)writing reality with scissors and tape recorders...

I think of David Lynch, his various weird little people coming and going between the worlds

I wondered if anyone wanted to talk about these kinds of writers, what they're trying to accomplish, how they attempt to accomplish it and where they succeed and why they sometimes fail. 

If no one jumps in after the first couple days of the new year, I'll give it a go, starting with, maybe, Kurt Vonnegut!

 

Appears in the current issue
Volume 4 of The Antihumanist (Page 9)
Commits random acts of journalism

 
Posted : January 1, 2022 12:05 am
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Joe Benet
(@joe-benet)
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Joe Benet ( AKA, me Smile ) who writes in light sci-fi but explores different questions than most ask. For example, in my as-of-yet unpublished first novel, EARTHSHIP AUDACIOUS: KEEP HOPE ALIVE, the first ever colony ship launches on her one and only journey to a nearby star, and no one alive today will ever know the final outcome. It will take 10,000 years to reach her destination: more time than humans have recorded history on Earth. However, instead of finding strange new aliens and worlds, the question that launched the idea in my mind was "what if we go and don't find anything?" What does that mean for the journey, for the motivation, for the results? Would we be disappointed, depressed, or would the journey be its own reward? Would we stop behaving as humans?

KEEP HOPE ALIVE takes the roles of faith, science, and conventional wisdom, stirs them together, then pours out a distinctly human tale from that first crew of brave adventurers.

HMx6
SHMx1 (Q2'22)

 
Posted : January 1, 2022 6:33 pm
angelslayah
(@angelslayah)
Bronze Member
Topic starter
 
Posted by: @joebenet

It will take 10,000 years to reach her destination: more time than humans have recorded history on Earth.

I've always wondered, thinking of millennial voyages, how human beings learned to keep ships functional for "longer than recorded history" but not people?
How long do the folks on your ship live? 
Why not longer than that? 

Appears in the current issue
Volume 4 of The Antihumanist (Page 9)
Commits random acts of journalism

 
Posted : January 1, 2022 8:57 pm
storysinger reacted
Joe Benet
(@joe-benet)
Bronze Member
 
Posted by: @angelslayah
Posted by: @joebenet

It will take 10,000 years to reach her destination: more time than humans have recorded history on Earth.

I've always wondered, thinking of millennial voyages, how human beings learned to keep ships functional for "longer than recorded history" but not people?
How long do the folks on your ship live? 
Why not longer than that? 

Initial crew of a few hundred work in "shifts" of probably a few months each, and they are in cryosleep the next several months. So, they'll live the typical 80-ish years, but due to that stasis time, they'll be a few hundred years into the journey by the time they die.

That stasis reduces the resource load at any given time (less food to grow, oxygen to recycle, waste water, etc.) plus meant less to build in the initial ship (fewer living quarters, common areas, labs, etc.) The living quarters, for example, become someone else's when you go to sleep, and they take over for their shift.

The crew is filled with high-quality people, a very select, non-politically chosen group focused on science, math, engineering, art etc. The science they do helps fund the journey ("internet" connection back to Earth, building a second colony ship to follow later, payments to families back home, legal bills due to some subplot stuff, etc.) Plus, the science builds the awareness and public relations needed to encourage applications for the second ship. Maybe that science helps extend lifespans too; who knows?

Scout and Collector drones find gas clouds, asteroids, rogue (yes, I initially wrote rouge Smile ) planets, etc. and mine them, shooting a beam of raw material into the path of the colony ship so they can collect it years later on the journey. That raw material is processed in plasma furnaces and molded into raw chemicals which in turn are built up into materials for maintenance, new construction, art, etc.

HMx6
SHMx1 (Q2'22)

 
Posted : January 2, 2022 7:13 pm
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