Saturday, 6 October 2012

the 'multi-verse', a view from NoWhere ~

Michael Moorcook..scared of his own ghost..??

Okay, in purely fictional terms, the Multiverse, the idea that there is no such thing as a single fixed base reality, but rather a multiplexity of subjective realities, each of which is “equally real” or “unreal,” is not exactly a new idea, being the central theme of the work of Philip K. Dick, and, in literary terms at least, the necessary premise of the alternate world story, among other things.
Indeed, despite all the alternate world stories that have been written afterward and the few that were written before, it is Dick’s classic novel of a world in which the Nazis and the Japanese won World War II, and the alternate reality within it in which they didn’t, The Man in the High Castle, which really opened the door for the alternate history story as a sub-set of “science fiction”—as well, in a way, at least in literary terms, for a certain kind of “fantasy” as a subset of “SF.”
In literary terms, science fiction, or speculative fiction if you will, is by definition the literature of the could-be-but-isn’t, and fantasy by definition is the literature of the demonstrably impossible. The alternate history story takes place in a region between, a fictional reality in which the laws of mass and energy may be the same as in our own, but which never “happened.”
But when Mr. Tagomi, in The Man in the High Castle, has a vision of, or is transported to, our world for a time, Dick introduces the powerful fictional concept that both worlds, and by extension others as well, could simultaneously “happen,” could be equally “real” by some elusive definition.
And thereby introduces the Multiverse as science fiction, rather than fantasy.
This, it could certainly have been argued up until fairly recently, is a strictly literary game irrelevant to anything but literary definition, and fantasy could just as well be defined as fiction set in alternate worlds where the physical laws are different, so that what we call “magic” works like a technology; worlds, which like alternate histories, just happen to have never “happened.”
And, indeed, something like Justina Robson’s Keeping It Real is a “Multiverse” novel of sorts which reads more like science fiction than fantasy, even though it’s full of elves, demons, elementals, and all sorts of well-worn fantasy tropes, including various species of magic.
The set-up is that a technological artifact called a Quantum Bomb (an interesting choice of label right there) has breached the barriers between several alternate universes including our own, each with different laws of physics or magic, releasing such literarily conventional fantasy creatures into the human realm and, to a more limited extent, humans into theirs.
But whether Robson consciously intended to declare it or not when she titled the novel, keeping it real is just what Keeping It Real does, the “it” being that this Multiverse is literarily science fiction, not fantasy. Each of these alternate realities has its own more or less rigorous physical laws, call what’s going on magic or not. When beings from one of them travel to another, humans included, the mix of realities is complexly and believably rendered. One of the lead characters is a male elf come to our world to become a rock star. The other is his female cyborged bodyguard.
Fantasy written as if it were science fiction. Like alternate-history fiction.
Just like alternate-history fiction...stolen, with Thx!

please sir, can I have some more..?? click here _
or read this _

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