I read "Whose Afraid of Wolf 359?" by Ken MacLeod last night. I liked it.

Stories like this remind me that I don't actually dislike short stories, and that I'm not really opposed to conceptual SF. I'm just--in part--not familiar enough with what I like. This is why my reading list was a good idea. Another part of this puzzle is that most of my exposure to shorter form works, hasn't been to SF (hi H!), and while my grasp on the SF short story might be tenuous, my grasp on "Literary short form [1]" is virtually non existent.

Next up from the same collection The New Space Opera (ed. Straham & Dozois) is a novella called "Minla's Flowers," By Alistar Reynolds. I'd like to explore the "short novel" form a bit. There isn't much of a market for them, so they don't turn up very often, but I'm interested. Anyway, after this one I might go back to the Tiptree for a while.

That's all background, what's more prominently on my mind at the moment, is the quick little action scene that I'm gearing up to write.

This, like much of the action in the last project has a sort of vague cyberpunk aesthetic, in that it occurs in a sort of stylized "virtual reality" setting. I like this mode because it makes it possible to have action in side of situations that are pretty realistic. I mean, there isn't a lot of "real" action, in the sense that fiction writers depict, in our lives Truth is, without alcohol, there's not much in the way of personal conflict and as we all know, tales of inebriation are never as interesting unless you're a) there, and b) similarly inebriated.

I also like the way that these kinds of scenes form "world within worlds," and further layer the narration in a sort of clear non-abstruse sort of way. Ironically, but moving "action," out of our character's reality, the whole thing becomes more realistic for the reader, because the characters aren't super spies with improbable missions and tools, but regular folks, with regular jobs, with a jack behind their ear. I mean, my current main character is totally a librarian, and it totally works. Or at least, give me a while and a room of my own, and it'll totally work.

Anyway, time for more tea. And work.

Onward and Upward!

[1]Though clearly there's something that seperates poetry from short stories and essays, lets for the sake of my blunt argument, treat them all as one.