Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)


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The other day Kim Stanley Robinson said several things, one of which was: “Science fiction. Yay! Historical fiction. Boo!” Why can’t we all get just get along? Well, we almost can:

Why stop there though? There is a more fundamental synthesis: prehistoric fiction! Dan Hartland reviews The Fire In The Stone by Nicolas Ruddick:

The Fire in the Stone is the first comprehensive study, in English, of its subject (though see Angenot and Kouri’s bibliography of the genre). Nevertheless, on the relatively minor planet of his topic, Ruddick places himself between two poles: between on the one hand Charles DePaolo’s position that prehistoric fiction should be judged on the extent to which it properly adheres to the paleoanthropology of its time, and on the other Joseph Carroll’s that emphasises quality of characterisation and the rigorous attainment of empathy. Ruddick is by his own admission closer to Carroll in this debate, but he neither holds that scientific accuracy, or a thorough simulation of consciousness, is necessary if prehistoric fiction (or “pf” as he calls it) is to succeed. Ruddick simply holds that pf must use the basic concepts of paleoanthropology to enlighten the reader: “Good pf [. . . ] tells us about ourselves today [. . . ] by reminding us of the great journey in time that we have travelled to get here” (p. 3).

Written by Martin

25 September 2009 at 16:06

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