Aug 16, 2014

Altering the Shape of Storytelling

Araminta Station
In my previous blog post, I mentioned the fact that I am exploring ways to tell the Exode story using unconventional tools and formats. An example of what I mean by "unconventional strotytelling" was provided by Jack Vance at the start of his novel Araminta Station.

Araminta Smade
The first ten pages of Araminta Station consists of excerpts from an imaginary book called The Worlds of Man. Vance's story takes place thousands of years in the future and those introductory pages are intended to "bridge the gap between now and then, here and there".

Sadly, due to the unimaginative restrictions of the book publishing world, those ten introductory pages were printed in exactly the same type face and format as the rest of the novel. Ug. Such an editorial decision is criminal. I wonder how much it would have cost Tor to insert ten pages of text that looked like they were part of a book from a thousand years in our future.

"The Moon Maze Game"
Will printed books exist a thousand years in our future? Just a few short years after Araminta Station was first published, the internet exploded across our computer screens. It took Tor until 2008 to launch its online publishing website. I'd give them an award for least imaginative use of webspace if I thought anyone who worked for Tor cared.

Imagine a culture in which online social networking has existed for centuries and become a routine part of life. In Foundations of Eternity I try to depict such a culture as the home of Gohrlay, the human who wins we Earthlings a chance to reach the stars.
Gohrlay lived her whole life using the online social networks at Moon Base, then when she was punished for trying to alter the course of human evolution on Earth, all her memories of her friends and family were edited and suppressed. While using sonet, the social network preferred by the few scientists at Moon Base, Gohrlay has fleeting memories of her past...just enough to make her aware of what has been taken from her.

Currently I'm trying to imagine some fragments of Ivory Fersoni's life that might remain as relics on the internet after her departure from Earth. During the time when "the editor" of the Exode Trilogy has lost contact with Ivory, he tries to track her down, but only finds a few remnants of her past life in the form of abandoned internet webpages...maybe a MySpace page.

Should I actually create those webpages or just insert mention of them in the story?

The other option that I have toyed with, none too seriously, is that Ivory might have published one or more accounts of the secret history of Earth. I've already explored and adopted this option for Thomas Iwedon.

more book and magazine covers

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