Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Question Which Will Probably Make Me Look Like an Idiot

Does this M. John Harrison blog post make anyone else's head hurt?

He seems to be writing about things I'm interested in, but...I keep thinking there's a verb missing, which would bring the whole thing into focus, but I just don't get it.


Anonymous said...

dunno. when I click on the link, I'm directed to IMDB's page for the "Mystery Men" movie.


Patrick Nielsen Hayden said...

Assuming you mean this, no, you're not an idiot, or rather, if you are, I am too.

It reads to me very much like the sort of thing a lot of very smart people write when they try too hard to make cognitive sense of the partly-non-cognitive process of making up stories.

Andrew Wheeler said...

I see we're in the land of bad linking; first I put in the wrong link (now fixed) in the original post, and then Patrick linked back to my post when trying to correct my mistake.

(Perhaps that shows how labyrinthine Harrison's thinking is? None of us can quite penetrate it, even just to make a link.)

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one getting confused, though -- though I also seem to be adding to the confusion.

Ran said...

What pnh says, I think... Or something.

Amusingly, the bit about writers, readers, and text constructing things together feeds into a very recent argument I was having with someone following the minor furor over Harrison's post on worldbuilding. Must remember to point it out.

Anonymous said...

If I had to write a three page synopsis, I would guess that he's describing what's back-stage of a book that appears to make sense, if only the reader had the right key to unlock the text. The text cannot be unlocked and the apparent meaning is an illusion created by careful assembly of possibly unrelated parts into what seems to be a coherent whole.

There probably should be some kind of metaphor or simile here, possibly using a mosiac of found elements as the central image, but I don't know how to do that kind of thing.

Does that sound half-way reasonable?

Unknown said...

If I were snide, I'd say it's entirely self-referential and self-descriptive.

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