Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Real Realism

I'm not a big supporter of realism, because we don’t live in a realistic world. A good story only needs to be interesting and compelling; it can be the most absurd nonsense in the history of publication and still be completely worthwhile. Meanwhile, there is a glut of unreadable “realism,” the literature that pays homage to our common illusion of how the world works. The world really works in a very different manner. In the real world, lightning kills more people than sharks, and toasters kill more people than lightning. Science has done an admirable job trying to make our universe seem plausible, but think about it. Think about gravity: ultimately, things fall down because we’re standing on something really big. It’s not a terribly realistic world, and we’ve had to stretch the definition of “realistic” to fit it. But nobody’s fooling gravity.

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