2021/09/25

2021九月科幻奇幻私房推薦書單

 

四星:
(科)Isaac Asimov,《基地》[奇幻基地,2021/09](艾西莫夫百年誕辰紀念典藏精裝版)
(科)Isaac Asimov,《基地與帝國》[奇幻基地,2021/09](艾西莫夫百年誕辰紀念典藏精裝版)
(科)Isaac Asimov,《第二基地》[奇幻基地,2021/09](艾西莫夫百年誕辰紀念典藏精裝版)
關於基地系列的幾句話:https://tinyurl.com/y7rb5aj9
(科)Frank Herbert,《沙丘(1)》[大家,2021/09](電影書衣珍藏版)
(科)Frank Herbert,《沙丘(2)救世主》[大家,2021/09]
舊版心得:https://tinyurl.com/yp2byy67
(科)Frank Herbert,《沙丘(3)沙丘之子》[大家,2021/09]
舊版心得:https://tinyurl.com/6nv772ma

三星半:
(科)Isaac Asimov,《基地邊緣》[奇幻基地,2021/09](艾西莫夫百年誕辰紀念典藏精裝版)
(科)Frank Herbert,《沙丘(5)異端》[大家,2021/09]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUCvIQPh2XP/
(奇)Alex Landragin,《靈魂穿越手稿》[寂寞,2021/09]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CTpNTf2BXCM/
(華)星子,《乩身:黑蓮花》[蓋亞,2021/09]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUP-29-hf2V/

三星:
(科)Isaac Asimov,《基地前奏》[奇幻基地,2021/09](艾西莫夫百年誕辰紀念典藏精裝版)
(科)Frank Herbert,《沙丘(4)神帝》[大家,2021/09]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CT9jRKKFQBX/
(科)Yevgeny Zamyatin,《我們:反烏托邦三部曲》[野人,2021/09](精裝典藏暢銷二版)

二星半:
(科)Isaac Asimov,《基地與地球》[奇幻基地,2021/09](艾西莫夫百年誕辰紀念典藏精裝版)
(科)Isaac Asimov,《基地締造者》[奇幻基地,2021/09](艾西莫夫百年誕辰紀念典藏精裝版)
(科)Frank Herbert,《沙丘(6)聖殿》[大家,2021/09]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CUK97JphYcC/
(奇)姜泰植,《正常人的條件》[方言,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CTaM0Q_Bagg/

不推薦:
(科)尹異形,《兩封合格通知書》[麥田,2021/08]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CS_Temqly1o/
(臺)胡長松,《幻影號的奇航》[前衛,2021/09]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CT099fDllAH/
(華)凌小靈,《隨機死亡》[皇冠,2021/09]
https://tinyurl.com/2j37cnhp

2021/09/02

閱讀筆記:Darko Suvin, “Narrative Logic, Ideological Domination, and the Range of SF: A Hypothesis” (1982)


 

原刊於:Science Fiction Stories Vol. 9 No. 1 (Mar 1982), pp. 1-25

閱讀版本:Darko Suvin, Positions and Presupposition in Science Fiction (Kent, Ohio, The Kent State University Press, 1988), pp. 61-73 

我不敢隨意解讀 Darko Suvin 這種理論大神的論文,所以這一篇原則上只有重點摘錄。

筆記開始:

1.      NARRATIVE LOGIC AND INTERTEXTUALITY

p. 62

… The text is not an independent totality, a closed monad within or atom of social discourse. Rather, it is the frozen notation of a producing of meanings, values and structures of feeling, which results from the writer’s work on given materials within a given socio-historical context. Outside of a context that supplies the conditions of making sense, no text can be even read (as distinguished from spelling out the letters). Only the insertion of a text into a context makes it intelligible; that is why changing social contexts bring different messages out of the same text. Any reading ineluctably invents a more or less precise and pertinent context for the text being read.

p. 64

The presuppositions, the ideological givens, are thus both logically prior and analytically posterior to the text: its emergence as well as its interpretation is impossible without them. They are crucial factors of the context; but they are also among the materials with which the writer has to work, the building bricks which he can manipulate in the text. … Directly to the purpose of studying fiction, ideology is also a lived structure of feeling ‘which simultaneously organize[s] the empirical consciousness of a particular social group and the imaginative world created by the writer.

2.      IDEOLOGICAL DOMINATION VS. THE NOVUM: THE RANGE OF SF

p. 66

… I have argued in MOSF [Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (1979)Suvin的科幻定義 cognitive estrangement novum 概念的出處,正如本段下面所述] that SF in general – through its long history in different contexts – can be defined as a literary genre whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author’s empirical environment, and that it is distinguished by the narrative dominance or hegemony of a fictional ‘novum’ (novelty, innovation) validated by cognitive logic. At the same time, I suggested that the notion of an ineluctably historical novum implies that SF in any particular period will only be understandable by integrating socio-historical into formal knowledge. …

p. 67

If an SF narration hinges on the presence of a novum which is to be cognitively validated within the narration, then this novelty has to be explained in terms of the specific time, place, agents and cosmic-cum-social totality of each narration – i.e., in terms of its ‘possible world’. This means that, in principle, SF has to be judged -- like ‘realistic’ fiction and quite unlike mythological tales, fairy tales, and horror or heroic fantasy – by the richness, consistency and relevance of the relationships presented in any narration. In this chapter I shall focus on consistency, as an already fundamental criterion for analysis.

從這裡開始講述科幻的評價方式,不過 Suvin 首先整理 Wells 的說法:

… H. G. Wells’s, ‘Fiction About the Future’, in which he distinguished (to use present-day terms) between the SF story ‘at the lowest level’, a middle range of SF, and its highest form. Wells begins with the necessity of achieving ‘the illusion of reality … the effect of a historical novel … a collaboration [with the reader] in make-believe’. He then focuses on the propensity of the SF writer

p. 68

whose imagination breaks down to ‘pretend that all along he was only making fun’: this is why so much SF ‘degenerates into a rather silly admission of insincerity before the tale is half-way through’. The lowest level of SF, he ironically notes, stops at the superficial or defensive ‘first laugh’ which is implied in the strangeness of ‘every new discovery’:

The middle range of SF comes about if the writer carries out his hypothesis ‘to the extent of trying to imagine how such a possibility would really work’ -- … However, ‘the highest and most difficult form’ – and Wells wryly confesses that he has never written one – would be an account of the struggle between opposed opinions, values and social groups that constituted the change in human relations as a consequence of the novum (here, directed parthenogenesis). …

p. 69

… Wells, too – and who better qualified? – is here, clearly, pleading for logical stringency and consistency in developing the implications of the novum.

接下來就是 Suvin 自己的觀點:

To systematize such leads: there is an immanent aesthetics to (at least the novel-size) SF tales, which fuses formal and value criteria. It can be represented as a fan-shaped spread with two limits, the optimal and the pessimal (see Figure 1).

In the optimum, a sufficiently large number of precisely aimed and compatible details draw out a sufficiently full range of logical implications from the central SF novum and thus suggest a coherent universe with overall relationships that are – at least in respect of the thematic and semantic field associated with the novum – significantly different from the relationships assumed as normal by the text’s addressees. …

p. 70

… In such best cases, the balance or shuttling allows the SF estrangement to feed back into the reader’s own presuppositions and cultural invariants, questioning them and giving him/her a possibility of critical examination. In optimal SF, the interaction of the vehicle (relations in the fictional universe) and the tenor (relations in the empirical universe), makes therefore for the reader’s parabolic freedom: this freedom is rehearsed, traced out and inscribed in the very act of reading, before and parallel to forming a conceptual system. …

If there is only one ideal optimum, there are several ways of falling short of it. Here, these worst cases can be divided into the banal, the incoherent, the dogmatic and the invalidated pessimum. In the banal pessimum – probably the most widespread type of SF tale – the narrative details or elements that deal with the novum are too sparse or too circumscribed. They are drowned in the non-SF details and/or plot gimmicks of a banal mundane tale – adventure story, love story, etc. …

In the second pessimum, the narrative details may be too disparate, and then the tale is just not clearly focused. In that case, genological judgments become difficult, relying as they do more on

p.71

the writer’s guessed-at intention than on the incoherent execution.

The third, dogmatic pessimum is (in different ways) the obverse of the first two. In it, the narremes are too explicit or too repetitive, so that the reader’s return to the workaday world does not pass through an imaginary aesthetic paradigm. On the contrary, the environment (which, conversely, severely limits the possible Other in the tale, the kind and radicality of the novum employed). … In significant SF this means that the novum will, as explained above, allow for the reader’s freedom – in literary terms, that the story will be not a project but a parable. Any SF tale that is not a parable but a linear or panoramic inventory correlative to a general conceptual grid – most clearly the static utopias of the nineteenth century – thus to a degree partakes of non-fiction (of political, technological or other kind of blueprint) and loses to that degree the flexibility and advantages of fiction. If in the first pessimum the conceptual blueprint does not allow for interaction with the plot: the plot is here merely so that the reader should traverse the blueprint, and the narration has constant trouble with balancing events and lectures. (It follows from this that all uses of SF as prophecy, futurology, program or anything else claiming ontological factuality for the SF image-clusters, are obscurantist and reactionary at the deepest level – for example, all of Cabet and most of Bellamy, much of Gernsback’s and Campbell editorial policies, von Daniken and Manson, Scientology and Future Shock.

Finally, the invalidated pessimum is akin to the banal one and competes with it for the lead in SF statistics. However, it is more sophisticated: instead of the narrative details being quantitatively insufficient, they are qualitatively unsatisfactory in that they oscillate between a cognitive and a non-cognitive or anti-cognitive validation – in genological terms, between SF and fantasy, fairy tale or kindred metaphysical genres. The details are plentiful indeed, in a way too plentiful: for the strategy here is to induce in the reader an

p. 72

ambiguity concerning the status of the fictive novum inside the story. Is it explainable as a set of logical events on the same level as the story framework, or is it a delusion, dream or irruption of another level with different laws? An unambiguous decision for the second possibility would remove the story from SF and into delusional or horror fantasy, or into similar genres.


2021/08/24

閱讀筆記:Judith Merril, “What do you mean: Science? Fiction?” (1966)


閱讀版本:pp. 22-36 in Rob Latham (ed.), Science Fiction Criticism (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)

原刊於:Extrapolation (1966) 最早的科幻主題學術期刊(1959/12-now)

Judith Merril the Futurians 出身(1938-1945 活躍於紐約的科幻迷團體,包含 AsimovFrederik PohlJames Blish 在內等美東大咖匯集於此)。雖然具有作家身分,但她對科幻的最大功績在於編輯和評論。她是行內首創編纂年度科幻選的大編輯,而且取材不限於科幻雜誌,也因此擴展了科幻的疆界與眼界。她也是北美倡導 new wave 的第一人。她在 The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 雜誌的書評專欄(1965/051969/05)倡議以 ”speculative fiction” 取代 “science fiction”。本文則是刊載在學術刊物的論文。由於還是行內人寫的論文,學術氣息並不重,也代表科幻學術研究其實有尊重行內的傳統(大概也要看刊物,Science Fiction Studies 學術味就頗重)。

由於這裡由 Merril 賦與的定義基本上就是現行 “speculative fiction” 的解釋,所以本篇的重要性也不言可喻。只是大多數人閱讀本篇,還是著重於我做筆記的這兩頁。畢竟前面 Merril 從科學史和文學史拉哩拉雜講了何謂科幻,何謂小說,在中間賦與定義後,後面則是她觀點下的科幻發展史。由於治史先看立場立論,所以對我而言後面就可以不用再記。

筆記開始:

p.26

I cannot define science fiction, but I can locate it, philosophically and historically:

There is a body of writing of whose general outlines the readers of Extrapolation are, by common consent, already aware: that is to say, the “classical antecedents” from Lucian and Plato through, approximately, Kepler and de Bergerac: the “borderline” (both of acceptability and between periods) instances of Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe, terminating probably (in general acceptability) with Gulliver’s Travels and Micromegas; the “Gothic” vein which characterizes the first half, or two-thirds, of the nineteenth century, and continues as a major element well into the twentieth; the period generally considered as “modern,” beginning with Verne, and achieving general popularity in the last two decades of the nineteenth century; and the specific area of American specialty science fiction starting in the pulp adventure magazines of the 1910s, and being consolidated by Hugo Gernsback as a discrete phenomenon in his specialty publications during the 1920s. 先來一段 proto sf

Assuming this to represent some general area of agreement on what we mean when we talk about “science fiction,” (尋求讀者共識,並呼應 Damon Knight 的著名科幻定義:”Science fiction is what we point to when we say it.”I believe it is possible to distinguish within the broad area certain distinct and more reasonably definable forms:

1.      “Teaching stories”: the dramatized essay or disguised treatise, in which the fiction from is utilized to present a new scientific idea, sometimes (as with the Somnium, or the works of “John Taine” and other pseudonymous scientists) because of social, political, religious, or academic pressures operating against a direct presentation; sometimes (as with the typical Gernsbackian story, and a fair proportion of late nineteenth century work) as a means of “popularizing” scientific information or theories, or (hopefully) sugarcoating an educational pill. (科幻推廣科學,i.e. 科科)(This is what used to be called by literary snobs, “pseudoscience,” and should have been called “pseudofiction” – although in the hands of an expert it can become reasonably good fiction: Arthur C. Clarke

 

p.27

manages it occasionally, although his best work—Childhood’s End, for instance—is not of this type.)(所以總舵主當年似乎用錯科科,不過我傾向相信總舵主當時對Clarke的認識只有這一本和2001系列)

2.      “Preaching stories”: primarily allegories and satires—morally pieces, prophecies, visions, and warnings, more concerned with the conduct of human society than with its techniques. These are the true “pseudoscience” stories: they utilize science (or technology), or a plausible semblance of science (or technology), or at least the language and atmosphere, in just the same way that the scientific treatise in disguise utilizes fiction. And let me point out again (rather more enthusiastically than before) that some first-rate writing has emerged from this sort of forced marriage. (Perhaps the difference between the work of a marriage broker and a shotgun wedding?) Stapledon’s Starmaker falls into this group, as well as Ray Bradbury’s (specifically) science fiction and a large proportion of both Utopian and anti-Utopian novels up through the turn of the century.

3.      “Speculative fiction”: stories whose objective is to explore, to discover, to learn, by means of projection, extrapolation, analogue, hypothesis-and-paper-experimentation, something about the nature of the universe, of man, of “reality.” Obviously, all fiction worth considering is “speculative” in the sense that it endeavors to reach, or to expose, some aspect of Truth. But it is equally true—and irrelevant—to say that all fiction is imaginative or all fiction is fantasy. 重點來了 I use to term “speculative fiction” here specifically to describe the mode which makes use of the traditional “scientific method” (observation, hypothesis, experimentation) to examine some postulated approximation of reality, by introducing a given set of changes—imaginary or inventive—into the common background of “known fact,” creating an environment in which the responses and perceptions of the characters will reveal something about the inventions, the characters, or both. 

It is in this last area that the essence of science fiction resides; it covers a great deal of territory, shading at either end into the first two categories. Clearly there is hybridization all through the groups—as for instance in satire (such as The Child Buyer, or Player Piano) whose main devil actually is some specific aspect of science or technology. 

For purposes of this discussion, I am not considering the space adventure story, the transplanted western or historical, as science fiction at all. 所以 Merril 的定義還是含有價值觀與優劣偏好的。

 

整個看下來,其實 Margaret Atwood 版的 speculative fiction 或許符合 Heinlein 版或 Merril 版的若干符節,但感覺就是不太對,總是多了不少主流優越感。所以就想到了這張圖。這張圖的出處是 Darko Suvin, Positions and Presuppositions in Science Fiction (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 1988) p. 69,篇名:”Narrative Logic, Ideological Domination, and the Range of SF: A Hypothesis” (1982)Suvin 的標準很高,把 Good SF 畫得那麼小一塊(對照我的量尺大概四星吧 X-D),不過拿必勝客披薩做比喻,好歹除了芝心餅皮以外,其他好壞不論都可以算是科幻。然而,Atwood 給人的感覺就像是只有她寫的 “speculative fiction” 放在圖中的 Good SF+Optimum,其他「爛貨」就只是 “science fiction”。這麼一來,science fiction 行內人當然就不爽了。 



2021/08/22

2021八月科幻奇幻私房推薦書單


四星:
(科)Joe Hart,《遺忘效應》[奇幻基地,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSPQ1IhF4z0/

三星半:
(科)David Wellington,《最後的太空人》[獨步,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSJ18z5FG3e/

三星:
(科)Stephen King,《機構》[皇冠,2021/08]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CS4Q_EiFMJ3/
(恐)H. P. Lovecraft,《克蘇魯神話 III:噩夢》[奇幻基地,2021/08]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSwcrdhKIi3/
(短)Ursula K. Le Guin,《轉機:勒瑰恩 15 篇跨次元旅行記》[木馬,2021/08](新版)
舊版心得:
https://tinyurl.com/5fhhf88h
(短)村田沙耶香,《生命式》[時報,2021/08]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSmCbnlFjAb/

二星半:
(科)Jules Gabriel Verne,《地心探險記》[好讀,2021/08](法文全譯插圖本)
(奇)川添愛,《數之女王》[人人,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSZaBEzlo8x/
(奇)宮部美幸,《千代子》[獨步,2021/08](新版)
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSRml0nFs_R/
(恐)H. P. Lovecraft,《夢尋祕境卡達斯:H. P. Lovecraft 幻夢境小說傑作選》[堡壘,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CRy4s7Krr0G/
(非)楊海彥 等,《臺灣都市傳說百科》[蓋亞,2021/08]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CS1V_JSlTGh/

不推薦:
(奇)Yoav Blum,《巧合製造師》[春天,2021/08]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSedZmtFbs9/
(奇)Kenneth Johnson,《傳奇之人》[奇幻基地,2021/08]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSqTzalFhUU/
(華)托比寶,《訪客》[奇幻基地,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CST7MpCleS-/
(華)謝鑫佑,《百耳袋》[時報,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CSLtvwuFnUG/

2021/08/10

閱讀筆記:Robert A. Heinlein, “On the writing of speculative fiction” (1947)


閱讀版本:pp. 17-21 in Rob Latham (ed.), Science Fiction Criticism (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) 

本文是 speculative fiction 一詞在科幻文類(評論/研究)定名的歷史著作,最早刊載於 Lloyd Arthur Eshbach 編纂的座談文集,也算是探究現代類型科幻的第一本專書 Of Worlds Beyond: The Science of Science Fiction Writing (1947)。(PS. 《科幻百科》The Enclyclopedia of Science Fiction)考證該名詞最早出現於1899年,評論家 M. F. Egan 對於 Edward Bellamy《百年回首》的描述,但就類似於 Science Fiction,十九世紀首先發明的名詞到二十世紀才有真正定位與廣泛使用)然而,本文的最大歷史意義其實在於成名類型大作家現身說法如何撰寫科幻小說。

筆記開始:

p.17

There are at least two principal ways to write speculative fiction—write about people or write about gadgets. …… Most science fiction stories are a mixture of the two types, but we will speak as if they were distinct—at which point I will chuck the gadget story aside, dust off my hands, and confine myself to the human-interest story, that being the sort of story I myself write. ……

Heinlein 開宗明義就表明他寫的是人的故事,而非機關佈景。另外,這裡隱藏的重點在於在他眼裡,speculative fictionscience fiction幾無分別。

Heinlein講到很實際的問題:如何寫出可以刊登在高檔刊物(slicks)的科幻小說,畢竟 slicks 給的稿費比 pulps 要高出許多。首先,他強調,刊在slicks的要件是故事好,而非作者牌子大。再來:
A short story stands a much better chance with the slicks if it is not more than 5000 words long. A human-interest story stands a better chance with the slicks than a gadget

 

p.18

story, because the human-interest story usually appeals to a wider audience than does a gadget story. …… 

接下來,Heinlein闡述如何寫出一個好故事:

A story is an account which is nor necessarily true but which is interesting to read.

There are three main plots for the human-interest story: boy-meets-girl, The Little Tailor, and the man-who-learned-better. Credit the last category to L. Ron Hubbard; I had thought for years that there were but two plots—he pointed out to me the third type.
這一段是本文最常被引用的兩個部分其中之一:Heinlein human-interest story分成三類。接下來分別說明: 

Boy-meets-girl needs no definition. …… It’s the greatest story of them all and has never been sufficiently exploited in science fiction. …… It has great variety: boy-fails-to-meet-girl, boy-meets-girl-too-late, boy-meets-too-many-girls, boy-loses-girl, boy-and-girl-renounce-love-for-higher purpose. Not science fiction? Here is a throw-away plot; you can have it free: Elderly man meets very young girl; they discover that they are perfectly adapted to each other, perfectly in love, “soul mates.” (……)
這裡完全不需要解釋,然後最後那個點子Heinlein自己就回收了好幾次。

The “Little Tailor”—this is an omnibus for all stories about the little guy who becomes a big shot, or vice versa. The tag is from the fairy story. …… It is the Success story, or in reverse, the story of tragic failure.

The man-who-learned-better; just what it sounds like—the story of a man who has one opinion, point of view, or evaluation at the beginning of the story, then acquires a new opinion or evaluation as a result of having his nose rubbed in some harsh facts. ……

The definition of a story as something interesting-but-not-necessarily-true is general enough to cover all writers, all stories—even James Joyce, if you find his stuff interesting. (I don’t!) For me, a story of the sort I want to write is still further limited to this recipe: a man finds himself in circumstances which create a problem for him. In coping with this


p.19

problem, the man is changed in some fashion inside himself. The story is over when the inner change is complete—the external incidents may go on indefinitely. 

……

This is the story of character, rather than incident. It’s not everybody’s dish, but for me it has more interest than the most overwhelming pure adventure story. It need not be unadventurous; the stress which produces the change in character can be wildly adventurous, and often is.
Heinlein
說明了他想寫什麼樣的故事,事實上,他這一輩子都這麼寫。

接下來他開始分析兩種他認為比較不優的所謂科幻:

But what has all this to do with science fiction? A great deal! Much so-called science fiction is not about human beings and their problems, consisting instead of a fictionized framework, peopled by cardboard figures, on which is hung an essay about the Glorious Future of Technology. ……
Bellamy
《百年回首》屬於此類,Heinlein自己也寫過”Solution Unsatisfactory”,所以他用盡辦法讓這篇看起來像個故事,以便和真正的故事競爭市場。 

另一類則是換個皮相就能改個類型的 pulp 冒險故事。這一方面的批判 Margaret Atwood 慢了先行者至少 50 年,足見科幻是一個會成長能自省的文類,事實上,科幻史邁進的腳步遠比行外人想像得要快很多很多:
Another type of fiction alleged to be science fiction is the story laid in the future, or on another planet, or in another dimension, or such, which could just as well have happened on Fifth Avenue, in 1947. Change the costumes back to now, cut out the pseudo-scientific double-talk and the blaster guns, and it turns out to be straight adventure story, suitable, with appropriate facelifting, to any other pulp magazine one the news stand.

接下來終於到了我閱讀本篇的主要目的,也就是Heinleinspeculative fiction意涵闡述,其實就他的用詞遣字,他的 speculative fiction 大致上就等同於他定義下的純正科幻(Simon-pure science fiction,照總舵主的定名方式,可以直接用「真科幻」):
There is another type of honest-to-goodness science fiction story which is not usually regarded as science fiction: the story of people dealing with contemporary science or technology. We do not ordinarily mean this sort of story when we say “science fiction"; what we do mean is the speculative story, the story embodying the notion “Just suppose—“, or “What would happen if—”. In the speculative fiction story accepted science and established facts are extrapolated to produce a new situation, a new framework for human action. As a result of this new situation, new human problems are created—and our story is about how human beings cope with those new problems.
 

The story is not about the new situation; it is about coping with problems arising out of the new situation.
這裡要先額外說明一下:Heinlein 畢竟是作家,沒考慮到那麼多。但一進入學界等級的科幻研究,學者們沒事又會繼續細分;印象中剛過世的 James E. Gunn 就借用了 Heinlein "If This Goes On--" Asimov “What If –” 這兩個短篇標題分別代表 extrapolation speculation 兩種「不同」的幻想創作方式,我正在讀的 Carl D. Malmgren, Worlds Apart: Narratology of Science Fiction (1991) 對此有更進一步的分析論述。 

然後就來到 Heinlein 真科幻定義了,其實這差不多就是黃金時代科幻的高標:

Let’s gather up the bits and define the Simon-pure science fiction story:

1. The conditions must be, in some, respect, different from here-and-now, although the difference may lie only in an invention made in the course of the story.

2. The new conditions must be an essential part of the story.

3. The problem itself—the “plot”—must be a human problem.


p. 20

4. The human problem must be one which is created by, or indispensably affected by the new conditions.

5. And lastly, no established fact shall be violated, and, furthermore, when the story requires that a theory contrary to present accepted theory be used, the new theory should be rendered reasonably plausible and it must include and explain established facts as satisfactory as the one the author saw fit to junk. It may be far-fetched, it may seem fantastic, but it must not be at variance with observed facts, ……

後面舉了幾個例子,這一則一定要記下來:
…… The term “space warp” does not mean anything without elaborate explanation.
(難怪某影集要出技術手冊 XD 

因此產生了「科幻作者的責任」,當然科幻演進到現在,已經沒這麼嚴格了:

Not everybody talking about heaven is going there—and there are a lot of people trying to write science fiction who haven’t bothered to learn anything about science. Nor is there any excuse for them in these days of public libraries. You own it to your readers (a) to bone up on the field of science you intend to introduce into your story; (b) unless you yourself are well-versed in that field, you should also persuade some expert in that field to read your story and criticize it before you offer it to an unsuspecting public. Unless you are willing to take this much trouble, please, please stick to a contemporary background you are familiar with. ……

一句話總結 Heinlein 真科幻定義:

The Simon-pure science fiction story—examples of human problems arising our of extrapolations of present science. 

再來則是一些題材方面的舉例(略過),以及Heinlein自己的免責聲明(想也知道這麼嚴格,他自己也不是每次都做得到):
But don’t write to me to point out how I have violated my own rules in this story or that. I’ve violated all of them and I would much rather try a new story than defend an old one.

 

p. 21

最後幾段則傾向作家養成方面的指導。下面列出的五項規則反而是本文最被引用的部分:

1. You must write.

2. You must finish what you start.

3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.

4. You must put it on the market.

5. You must keep it on the market until sold. 

The above five rules really have more to do with how to write speculative fiction than anything said above them. ……
對作家而言,寫就對了。(研究者呢?讀永遠比寫簡單,認命吧。)


2021/08/03

閱讀筆記:Margaret Atwood, “Perfect storms: writing Oryx and Crake” (2003)


本篇是《末世男女》(Oryx and Crake)的創作心路歷程。但也因此引發了一場關於科幻的完美風暴。
Atwood在2001年《盲眼刺客》的澳洲宣傳行程之後,前往Arnheimland季風雨林賞鳥行程,並參觀當地原住民與自然生態和諧共存的生活後開始成形。

接著Atwood闡述她一輩子都在思索 “what if” 情節,以及在科學家親戚間成長的經歷,因此科普閱讀與剪報就成為她的休閒,同時 “noting with alarm that trends derided ten years ago as paranoid fantasies had become possibilities, then actualities” … “Human civilizations are subject to the same law” (of biology and physics)

接著敘述她很快地寫完 Part 7,準備前往紐約迎接《盲眼刺客》平裝版,坐在多倫多機場構思Part 8時,九一一發生了。

再來就是引起科幻圈軒然大波的一段:(可參見這裡

Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake is a speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians. As with The Handmaid’s Tale, it invents nothing we haven’t already invented or started to invent. Every novel begins with a what if, and then sets forth its axioms. The what if of Oryx and Crake is simply, What if we continue down the road we’re already on? How slippery is the slope? What are our saving graces? Who’s got the will to stop us?

跳過一段停筆後再動筆的喟嘆,直到最後一段:

…, writers write about what worries them, and the world of Oryx and Crake is what worries me right now. It’s not a question of our inventions -- … -- but of what might be done with them; …

讀者可以從字裡行間看出 Atwood 關於思索人類未來的使命感和優越感,其實文中也隱含著她的思維乃是基於科學,而非充斥於科幻作品中的空想(對我而言這就是本格科科了)。不可否認她因此培養出死忠信徒,包括 Ian Morris 就邀她一起參與《人類憑什麼》的探討。然而,撇開心態不論,光談術語,她這裡最大的問題就在於重新發明 speculative fiction 與 what if 這兩顆輪子,卻在面對長久孕育這兩者的類型科幻時,顯露出基於無知的鄙視。

2021/07/21

2021七月科幻奇幻私房推薦書單

 


三星半:
(恐)H. P. Lovecraft,《克蘇魯神話 II:瘋狂》[奇幻基地,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CRShjcBrAPo/

三星:
(奇)J. K. Rowling,《哈利波特 6:混血王子的背叛》[皇冠,2021/07](繁體中文版 20 週年紀念)
(奇)J. R. R. Tolkien,《剛多林的陷落》[聯經,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CRjNSPdrDxT/
(恐)H. P. Lovecraft,《星之彩:洛夫克拉夫特天外短篇集》[逗點,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CRIkkFuLlUD/
(非)D. J. Taylor,《特搜歐威爾《一九八四》》[時報,2021/06]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CRT-2YxrrCF/

二星半:
(恐)乙一,《ZOO》[獨步,2021/07](經典回歸版,三版)
(恐)乙一,《白井小姐》[獨步,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CRYd02bLbtk/

不推薦:
(華)顏志豪,《神跳牆 卷一:初戰風禾島》[巴巴,2021/06](二版)
(華)顏志豪,《神跳牆 卷二:攻占遊戲島》[巴巴,2021/06]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ-JjvIrdOm/
(非)李開復 & 陳楸帆,《AI 2041》[天下文化,2021/07]
https://www.instagram.com/p/CRLcdwGL-C0/

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