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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds diana reid crazy

ooo, the underwaterboys...

No, really, Bear. Tell us what you really think: In which I am interviewed by Teresa Edgerton.


Hee. You do give good snarly interview. There's a few things there I wish I'd said (which means I probably will, in another context: with credit, obviously. But there's a way of saying "As Elizabeth Bear says, and I think rightly..." which makes me sound nearly as smart as you...)

Except I'd never say "too much Viriconium". There isn't too much Viriconium.
I am working on my curmudgeonhood. And anybody who asks me what I think of idiots dissing fantasy gets what they deserve. ;-)

Which bits did you agree with?
Oh, the not-fussing-about-boxes, the almost-inappropriateness of arguing the toss between SF and fantasy (there is a distinction, I think, but it's a distinction without a difference; one is a subset of the other. More usefully there is the mimetic and the speculative, and even there the boundary is blurry). I love the equation of high-end SF with improv jazz, I think that's exactly right; and I am reminded of Miss Jean Brodie, "for those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like."

Also the essential sabotaging of one's own career, by a determination to write what's there to be written rather than the next professional step up. The comfort there is that I have watched my friends be professional and become successful, and I remain thankful that I didn't do that, if the price you pay is eg twenty novels about the same character in the same city doing the same damn job.

(And I'm fascinated & delighted by the notion of nerd girls outnumbering nerd boys; I didn't know - I don't roleplay any more - but it's the best news I've heard for a long time.)
Oh, and. Anybody who suggests in my vicinity that good fantasy isn't rigorous is inviting a very rigorous response. Honestly, I think we work harder: the notion of handwavium is so built-in to SF it's comparatively easy to get away with, but any suggestion of a wafty hand in fantasy just leaves holes that make the whole worldbuild collapse.
Even mimetic fiction has made up stuff in it. I think it's *all* a continuum: SF is a subset of fantasy with a particular set of rules, and mimetic fiction is a subset of SF with even more restrictive rules!
Thank you.

Apparently Teresa was a little surprised at how mouthy and sarcastic I am...

Poor, poor, deluded innocent ;)
I find thoughtlessly-written fantasy a little more annoying than thoughtlessly-written SF. I have no idea which is more common. I think all this tells me is what I already knew -- SF is my home, I just visit fantasy.
Whereas thoughtlessly-written SF mortally offends me, and thoughtlessly-written fantasy makes me tired and argumentative.

I love this interview. <3 I got to eat pad thai while reading it and now I have to get back to work.

I agree with you so frequently now that it's almost but not quite either creepy or boring to notice. Oh yes, Bear's said something smart I agree with? Well what else is new...OR oh yes yes yes Bear yes I agree yes (that's the creepy version) (I don't really do that while I'm reading your interviews).
You are delightfully curmudgeonly. In case you were wondering.
The bit about award-winning science fiction being inside baseball was a sudden relief. I have this weird bit of self-consciousness about really liking science fiction, but never feeling (especially when attending convention panels) as if I like the "right kind" of science fiction, and that clarified greatly why I feel that way. It's like trying to discuss my undergraduate reading of "Why this James Joyce short story does really cool things of imagery" with people who are actual Joyce scholars.

Esp: "People talk shit. I'm busy."

I gotta work harder at remembering that.

"What is the sound of one eye rolling?" Now THERE is a line I must remember, once I peel my laughing ass off the floor.

I loved the interview...but I thought you were very patient and polite. Really.