I've just finished Forster's Aspects of the Novel, which is really rather good. One very interesting thing about the book is that he devotes two chapters ot what he calls fantasy and prophecy -- which is really close, in some ways, to fantasy and science fiction. Oh, he doesn't examine genre works, but what he sees some mainstream lit novels as trying to do is certainly connected to what f/sf tries to do. Interesting. I bought this book on a whim, and I'm really glad I did; it's been a thought-provoking read, and I recommend it to all would-be novelists. Though I'll also warn you that it'll almost certainly make you feel woefully under-read; it certainly did for me. Even the novels he refers to that I have read -- I read them about a decade ago, and I remember very little. I need a better memory. I need to turn off the tv and spend my evenings re-reading classics.
We're nearing the Cincinnati stop on this journey. We're above the clouds, and the sky is a glory of golden light across a clear blue, lighting up ripples and waves of fluffy cloud beneath us. We climbed up out of a grey morning at Hartford; this afternoon brightness seems to bathe the plane, and me. I'm by the window, so I'm just soaking in the sunlight pouring through, pausing in my reading and typing to swallow up this broad expanse of beauty.
I know there are people who have never been up in a plane; I can't imagine that. Living in this century, when you can do little hops here and there for so little, and choosing to stay on the ground...never once knowing the landscape of the world above the clouds. It bewilders me. Even if you hate flying, even if you're afraid of being more than fifty feet in the air -- this is astonishing, it really is. I fly at least once a month these days, and you'd think I'd get tired of it, but somehow I never do.
We're about to prepare for landing, so in a moment I'll need to go. I just wanted to thank Jim, who kindly raved about my story, and Jed, who kindly told me everything I'd done wrong. I appreciate both of those responses very much. If I'm feeling up to it, I'll try to revise it on the next leg, which I think is about 3.5 hours long; long enough to justify pulling out the laptop and trying to get some real work done. I actually need to do some research before I can do a final revision; the protagonist is insectoid, and I just don't know enough about insects to describe her properly, or her society. But there are definitely some revisions I can get started on; in particular, I'm going to be toning down one exceedingly dramatic moment, which a) doesn't need to be so dramatic and b) I can't really justify as being that dramatic, given how little time leads up to it. I think it'll work better if I pull back a little.
Oh, and don't forget to stop by Strange Horizons today. Another great (slightly creepy) story, "Transubstantiation", an article on recent sf television by my friend Ingrid (we were roommates in college), and a review of Unbreakable, which I largely agree with (I saw it with my sisters Wednesday night). Excellent week, in my humble opinion. :-) Not that I had anything to do with it...I love the way stuff magically appears there.