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On the impossibility of fiction

(Note: Kari and Charlie are both at Chicon 7, the world science fiction convention, this week. Replies to direct questions might be sluggish. ]

The weirdness of the real world is a permanent problem for the jobbing novelist. You simply can't make up stuff half as weird as what you read in the news:

Bride dies at 'trash the dress' photoshoot (killed by the wedding dress, no less)

Rembrandt lost in post by gallery (they tried to save the cost of a courier and insurance)

A lion is reportedly loose in rural Essex (if the climate there warms, could they go feral and start breeding?)

There are two ways to look at this. One is to synthesize — to pick a bunch of seemingly disconnected news reports, file off the serial numbers, and use them to seed your fiction with arbitrary existential noise, to provide a backdrop of excessively odd but realistic randomness behind the highly structured machinery of plot and character. And another is to take a bunch of disconnected news reports and to articulate them in some way, spinning a story out of found objects. (It's not a Rembrandt, but the last photograph — on glass plate, not digital — of the drowning bride, who was pulled under water by not-a-lion-but-a-crocodile escaped from the municipal sewers ...)

What can you do with these three random Rorscharch-test news items? (Or contribute your own high weirdness items to the mix.)

[ Discuss here ]



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on August 30, 2012 4:40 PM.

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