‘The Building’ by Ursula K Le Guin
This is the sort of anthropological science fiction Le Guin is famous for and this is a particularly good example. Our unknown narrator sits outside the story reporting the evidence to us in a voice that is both scholarly and companionable:
I am not comfortable with the phrase “specific obsession,” but “cultural instinct” is worse.
That “obsession” is to build the Building, a gigantic ever-growing stone structure that is thousands of years old. There are no characters, just the warm, academic voice of the narrator half-explaining, half-tasting the culture. Excellent stuff.
Again Sarrantonio uses the introduction as an opportunity to inform us that all he is really interested in is good storytelling and this is a virtue above all others for writers. He tells us nothing of the story itself. I am begining to think I should just skip these.