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March 6, 2004
Van Vogt had an unusually fine-grained
theory of fiction which works down on
the level of sentences.
In the Romance genre, one must put emotion into
every sentence. A flat statement of fact "She
lived in a small apartment." should instead be
"Tears came to her eyes as she thought of her
And in the Science Fiction genre, Van Vogt
claimed that every sentence should contain
a "hang-up", something puzzling that needs
to be resolved.
Similarly, Samuel R. Delany also
tried to study Science Fiction at
a very fine-grained level, and So Delany takes the not-
for him the thing about science unusual view that science
fiction was that the wider fiction is about developing a
context of a hypothetical world skill at making inferences,
increased the available meanings at building up the structure
for words: of an imagined universe from
small hints and explicit
"Her world exploded." discourse...
"He turned on his left side."
When you come down to it,
Van Vogts's "hang-ups" and
Delany's multiplicities of
meaning are not so far
away from each other...
But then, I guess
that's why Charles
Platt put their Okay, so original
interviews insight may not
back-to-back in be my strong point.
his "Dream Makers"
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