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Friday, March 17, 2017

Ted Chiang on Genre and the Difference between SF and Fantasy--Specifically Magic Vs. Science

"[M]y work remains close to traditional notions of science fiction. I like performing thought experiments, working through the implications of a speculative idea, and I think that’s something science fiction is particularly well suited for. [G]enre is a kind of conversation that takes place between books and authors over a period of years. [Y]our work is in dialogue with earlier work in that genre.... It’s a conversation I am happy to be a part of."
 --Ted Chiang in Unbound Worlds (interviewed by Peter Orullian)
"[T]here does exist a useful distinction... between magic and science. If... just a handful of special people... turn lead into gold, that implies different things than giant factories churning out gold from lead. The difference... is between the universe responding to you in a personal way, and the universe being entirely impersonal."
--Ted Chiang in The Metahack Interview (interviewed by Avi Solomon). The book is "free" through subscription to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program.

"Science fiction offers... a story where the world starts out as recognizable... but is ... changed by some new discovery or technology. At the end... the world is changed permanently. The original condition is never restored.... this story pattern is progressive because its underlying message is ... that change is inevitable. The consequences ... are here to stay and we’ll have to deal with them."
--Ted Chiang in The Asian-American Literary Review (interviewed by Betsy Huang)

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