Monday, 27 April 2009

postscript and coming attractions

Also in Getting Medieval (p.196) I found this citation from Foucault, which basically sums up everything I believe in like twenty words. Well done there Michel.

'One "fictions" history on the basis of a political reality that makes it true, one "fictions" a politics not yet in existence on the basis of a historical truth'.

('The History of Sexuality', interview with Lucette Finas, trans. Leo Marshall, in Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-2977, ed Colin Gordon (New York: Pantheon, 1980), pp.183-93, p.193.)

Or, for those of you who think that science fiction writers do theory better than theorists:

I fell in love with realism because it deflates the myths, the unexamined ideas of fantasy. It confronts them with forgotten facts. It uses past truth - history.

I love fantasy because it reminds us how far short our lives fall from their full potential. Fantasy reminds us how wonderful the world is. In fantasy, we can imagine a better life, a better future. In fantasy, we can free ourselves from history and outworn realism.

Oz is, after all, only a place with flowers and birds and rivers and hills. Everything is alive there, as it is here if we care to see it. Tomorrow, we could all decide to live in a place not much different from Oz. We don't. We continue to make the world an ugly, even murderous place, for reasons we do not understand.

Those reasons lie in both fantasy and history. Where we are gripped by history - our own personal history, our country's history. Where we are deluded by fantasy - our own fantasy, our country's fantasy. It is necessary to distinguish between history and fantasy wherever possible.

And then use them against each other.

Geoff Ryman, Was (London: Gollancz Fantasy Masterworks, 2005 [1992]), pp.453-54.

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