kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
when I am not typing while the dog eats her dinner and am about to leave to bring the kids to taekwondo, but:

The reason "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" is SFF is that the first time you're reading it, you don't know if it's set in a world where If The Velociraptor From Jurassic Park Were Your Girlfriend (for instance) could be real, and it's that tension about the possibility that gives the story some of its emotional weight.

(Yes, I know the second link came after, I'm using it as an example.)

Date: 2015-06-13 01:31 am (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hebethen
I guess I didn't really feel any tension like that when I read it. To make sure I understood, you're saying that the reader doesn't know, at least on first reading, whether that world *has* dinosaur-human relationships and the "if" is just referring to whether the narrator is actually in such a relationship, right? But the opening lines echo the sorts of what-if games that we play all the time. "If you were an elemental you'd be a fire elemental." "If I were in Hogwarts I'd be in Hufflepuff." "If we were gems and we fused, what would the fusion be?" So no, there was not even one instant when the thought crossed my mind that the narrator was referring to the possibility of there being actual, existing dinosaurs.

It's a valid interpretation of the text, I think, no matter if it's the first or fiftieth time you read the piece. I don't know if it was the intended one, and I'm doubtful that it is a widespread one.

Date: 2015-06-13 08:27 pm (UTC)
tavella: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tavella
Kim Stanley Robinson's _Ridge Running_ is a mountain climbing story with one paragraph of near-future SFish stuff stuck in which could be deleted without changing the story at all. It got a Hugo short story nomination in 1985 without all this hysterical whining and bitching.

A scientist imagining how life would be different if someone was a dinosaur is far closer to the heart of SFF (which is about imagining how the world, past present or future, would be different if X was true) than that. The Puppy hysterics are because it is by a woman and anti-gaybashing, and we all know how dearly John C. Wright loves his gaybashing.
Edited Date: 2015-06-13 08:30 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-06-16 01:48 am (UTC)
hebethen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hebethen
Nah, I am the one who has miscommunicated; that is what I meant. Like saying to someone IRL, "If you were rich" or "If you were a game designer", right? Like this could be a universe in which "If you were a dinosaur" was as reasonable a what-if as "If you were a woman"?

Your point about the venue makes me think of another story which I read in an SFF mag that didn't strike me as particularly SFF -- Tobler's "Once, Upon a Lime" in SH. That one *does* have echoes of another "genre"(?) tradition/history, the fairy tale/folktale, which SFF (at least the second F) often (re)mixes/plays with -- which in turn made me think of how The Girls at the Kingfisher Club was passed around SFF circles a bit, and that book's origin in/relationship to fairy tale.

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