waves

The eye is not isolated in its perception of the world. Rather its connections to the brain and the support of our senses in experience heat, cold wind, noise, smells and so on create an extraordinarily compact image of the world, whose plasticity and density are perhaps intensified by a particularly appropriate emotional state. Photography reduces this colourful world into a black-and-white rectangle. It is obvious that this most unpretentious of art forms requires the greatest reliability of taste, ability for abstraction, fantasy and concentration.

Albert Renger-Patzsch
Meister der Kamera erzählen wie sie wurden und wie sie arbeiten

inward dreamings

September 6, 2018

All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.

H.P. Lovecraft
The Silver Key

afraid of fantasy

August 25, 2018

For fantasy is true, of course. It isn’t factual, but it is true. Children know that. Adults know it too, and that is precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons, because they are afraid of freedom.

Ursula K. LeGuin
Why Americans are Afraid of Dragons

ELFIN CHILD

February 22, 2018

I watched you dancing in your garden,
Elfin child;
threading your silver tears through
sunlight strands of your laughter.
And the pearls of your wisdom
hung about you in a shining radiance.

I felt the enchantment of your star studded music,
rippling through the aching contours of my being;
felt each quivering note peel away layers
of the mask I had moulded about me,
making me as naked and free as you.
Elfin Child.

The curtain of light
that hid your face fell away
and I saw my own face.
You held out your hand in silent invitation,
your eyes beseeching jewels of love,
and together we danced as one…

Stephanie Wilson

alien landscape1

I don’t think science fiction is a very good name for it (what I write), but it’s the name that we’ve got. It is different from other kinds of writing, I suppose, so it deserves a name of its own. But where I can get prickly and combative is if I’m just called a sci-fi writer. I’m not. I’m a novelist and poet. Don’t shove me into your damn pigeonhole, where I don’t fit, because I’m all over. My tentacles are coming out of the pigeonhole in all directions…

…I draw on the social sciences a great deal. I get a lot of ideas from them, particularly from anthropology. When I create another planet, another world, with a society on it, I try to hint at the complexity of the society I’m creating, instead of just referring to an empire or something like that…

…For most of my career, getting that label — sci-fi — slapped on you was, critically, a kiss of death. It meant you got reviewed in a little box with some cute title about Martians – or tentacles…

…I just knew from extremely early on – it sounds ridiculous, but five or six – that writing was something I was going to do, always. But just writing, not any mode in particular. It started as poetry. I think I was nine or ten before I really wrote a story. And it was a fantasy story, because that’s mostly what I was reading. By then, my brother and I were putting our quarters together to buy, now and then, a ten-cent magazine called something like “Fantastic Tales” – pulp magazines, you know…

…the fiction I read, because I was an early beginner, tended toward the fantastic. Realism is a very sophisticated form of literature, a very grown-up one. And that may be its weakness. But fantasy seems to be eternal and omnipresent and always attractive to kids.
But when people say, Did you always want to be a writer?, I have to say no! I always was a writer. I didn’t want to be a writer and lead the writer’s life and be glamorous and go to New York. I just wanted to do my job writing, and to do it really well…

…My first publications were all poetry, and that’s partly because of my father. He realized that sending out poetry is quite a big job. It takes method and a certain amount of diligence and a good deal of time. And he said, I could help you do that, that would be fun! He got interested in the subculture of the little magazines and realized that it is a little world, with rules all its own…

Ursula K Le Guin
Interview with John Wray for Paris Review fall 2013

fantasies

January 21, 2018

Pillow man was a soft and happy place
that made me feel something tingly
when I wrapped tiny legs around him,
playing a new game, pressing and rolling,
not really knowing why, but keeping
him secret and dragging him out from
the dark covers if mummy came to check
on me, of course then making out he
was just a pillow under my head
and sleeping, not touching me down there.

Pebble man was not one but many
mouths on shingle beaches in summer,
when I lay down on my stomach
and found that better than sun-bathing
I could kiss you all, shamelessly,
without preferring one above another,
just something to practise on, and afterwards
all you might see was a young girl
throwing away a stone, never thinking
she had learned the art of using.

Book man lived in the dirty passages
of my grandfather’s paperbacks next
to the coupons he raped from newspapers,
he was a real man who looked just like
Richard Gere and knew what to do and say
at the same time, not like the first boy man,
no better than stones, who bit me when
he kissed me and tried after clumsy
tongues to be a pillow and go down there,
making me close my eyes and pretend.

it can border on disgust

January 9, 2018

Suehiro Maruo

To me (Horror) is the genre of unease. It makes me feel really uneasy and it gives me kind of a creepy feeling. It can border on wanting to look away, it can border on disgust – but that’s a type of horror.

Horror can be any genre. There’s science fiction horror, there’s dark fantasy that’s really really dark, there can be mysteries that converge on horror. It depends on how far you want to go down the path of darkness. Science fiction is about the future, but horror can be about any period of time. As Doug Winter said, it’s your emotional response to the material. So I think it’s in the perception of the reader if something is horror or not.

In my mind, I subconsciously create a separation between dark fantasy and horror as I’m reading. I’ll think, “I’m not going to take this for the Best of the Year because I really like it but the story just isn’t quite dark enough for my purposes.” It’s a question of degree—my personal reaction to the material. I’m deep into working on my Best of the Year, so I’m reading a lot right now and as I read something I constantly judge the material – not just “do I like it” or “is it a good story” but “is it dark enough for me and my readers?” Is it hitting the buttons that makes me squirm and think, “ooh this is really creepy?” Is it making me uncomfortable?

That’s why I loved editing the horror half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Even though I didn’t choose the fantasy half, to me the choices were all on a continuum: fantasy, dark fantasy, and horror. High fantasy or light fantasy versus horror are separated in a sense, or joined, by dark fantasy, which is perhaps the gray area between white and black. To me horror is extremely dark in feeling, in how it makes the reader react.

Ellen Datlow
Interview with E C Myers, January 2013 for Nightmare Magazine

weird fiction

December 1, 2017

Duncan Halleck

I didn’t set out to do anything particularly new, but it is true that I am conscious of writing in a tradition that blurs the boundaries between three fantastic genres: supernatural horror, fantasy, and science fiction. I have always been of the opinion that you can’t make firm distinctions between those three.

The writing that I really like is what has been called “weird fiction.” If people ask me what I write, that is the label I give them. The weird fiction axis of people like Lovecraft, Lindsay, Clarke Ashton Smith, and William Hope Hodgson exists at the intersection and you really can’t say that it is horror not fantasy, or fantasy not science fiction, or whatever. It is about an aesthetic of the fantastic; you alienate and shock the reader. That’s what I really like.

China Miéville
Interview with Cheryl Morgan October 2001 for Strange Horizons

the rich juices of red meat

November 6, 2017

Blood and Crows by Jorge Jacinto

I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

Robert E. Howard
Queen of the Black Coast

the language of dreams

October 28, 2017

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real…for a moment at least…that long magic moment before we wake.

George R R Martin
Included in Pati Perret’s The Faces of Fantasy