It seems a simple enough distinction: historians deal in fact and novelists deal in fiction, one in truth, the other in lies. One poet in her late eighties told me that she was too old to read fiction: ‘At this age I have to be concerned about my soul.’ Does ‘fiction’, however, mean untruth? The word has its roots in the Latin fingere, meaning to make in clay, and is thus similar in meaning to the Greek poien, ‘to make’. Fiction, therefore, like poetry, is making something. Out of what? Usually it is facts mixed together with observation bonded together by invention. In general or literary fiction the facts may be those of the society in which the story is set, as well as those of human nature known to the author through experience. In historical fiction they have to be researched from the history books (although observation of human nature still plays its part). Playwrights, of course, use the same ingredients, but where poetry and plays are noble, fiction is still considered ignoble – make-believe for adults. History, of course, dealing in facts, deals with the truth. But does it?Well said, Linda! That explains why I've called this blog "Truth is no stranger to fiction." But "What is truth?" as Pontius Pilate asked long ago, is a question for another time...
Monday, August 27, 2012
The Title of this Blog
I planned to write some thoughts about the title of this blog, but then discovered that they were already written. (There's nothing new under the sun!) I googled "Truth is no stranger to fiction" to make sure no one else was using it as a blog title, and thankfully no one was. But there is a short story and an article with that title. The article was from History Today magazine (Vol. 54, Issue 11), and in it historical novelist Linda Proud explains why she thinks fiction can be as truthful as ‘fact’...
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Silhouette and K.W. Jeter
For my first post at this new blog, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the first endorsement blurb I have ever received for my fiction writing. To my delight, it came from an author I respect and enjoy (which is saying a lot, because I'm very picky!). K.W. Jeter read an advance copy of my novel Silhouette and had this to say about it:
"Swavely updates the roman policier genre with a high-tech gloss. I was bowled over by the hyper-paced action and caught up by the deep political connections and archly hip, bleeding-edge cultural references. If Steve McQueen's 1969 Mustang in BULLITT could've actually flown, it would fit right into the chrome-&-neon streets of SILHOUETTE's future San Francisco. I'll be waiting impatiently for the next installment of the Peacer saga."This is a big-time thrill for me, not only because someone liked my book:), but also because I admire and appreciate Jeter. In fact, as inspiration for my own writing, I've been re-reading some of his novels recently. I started with Death Arms. This is an older novel by Jeter that shows some of its age (it's hard to write science fiction that doesn't), but holds up relatively well and kept me interested all the way till the end (which is also saying a lot, because I rarely finish reading books I start, for various reasons that I'll go into some other time). Then I purchased copies of Jeter's trilogy of Blade Runner sequels, The Edge of Human, Replicant Night, and Eye and Talon (the last one was hard to get). I finished the first one and thought it was great, and am halfway through the second one as I'm writing this. I can see why Jeter lost many readers with the second, because he goes in different directions than just reliving the appeal of the movie, but I admire him for expanding the vision and I'm finding the new directions interesting.
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