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Editing New Worlds: a question

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  • I've found JAM and plain-sponge Swiss Rolls at Sainsbury's. These have a higher exchange rate.

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    • I'll settle for Dr Whos...
      But I wouldn't mind ONE jam sponge.
      I'm not supposed to eat sugar at all, really, but the doctor didn't say anything about Dr Who.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • Actually, don't worry about the jam sponge. I'll be in Mallorca by next month and can make a trip into the British Zone where I can get greasy chips, jam sponges, meat pies and all kinds of contraband...

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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        • Although I recall New Worlds running plenty of traditional fiction, there was undoubtedly a certain amount of experiment, too.

          When Langdon Jones came up earlier in this thread, I remembered his intro to The Eye of the Lens, where he wrote of the possibilities that seemed inherent in "non-linear" narrative technique. He certainly employed it in several of his stories.

          Then I started thinking about some of the work published during this time, and I was struck by how many "non-linear" narratives appeared in New Worlds. Certainly various of the Jerry Cornelius stories; Tom Disch's novella "334" (incorporated in the later novel); various works by Ballard and others.

          Was the non-linear approach to narrative that Langdon Jones discussed (and used) something that those close to New Worlds actively discussed, debated, and felt energized by? In retrospect, and looked at from the outside, it appears that way.

          Even a traditional narrative artist like Robert Silverberg appears to have been infected by the notion back then. I remember him writing that he thought all stories needed a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order. This seems an approach that tries to have it both ways, but the relationship to non-linear approaches seems patent.

          I recall how demanding I found Disch's novella, "334," as well things like Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition as a (then) teenage reader. Now, their form seems perfectly adapted to the narrative function. Perhaps it's just the result of long familiarity; perhaps it's because I'm older and a more experienced reader. Still, I found the works intellectually exciting, not the least because of the experimental -- almost gimicky -- side of these works.

          LSN

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          • We werem't great theorists, all in all, though we did discuss ways of concentrating narrative, of getting rid of ALL generic conventions -- modernist conventions as well as sf (which were generally closer to pre-modern conventions, which was what some people found attractive about
            conventional sf). We wanted to rid narrative of those elements which had begun to form the message -- the medium being the message. But we were mostly interested in producing examples rather than developing a theoretical language. All that came later with various academics who, in our view, sent fiction off down an abstract and silly road. What was always amusing was how the academics believed they'd invented what we'd been doing in our various ways for some years before 'post-modernism' began to be defined. I still prefer to leave most theory to academics and the development of scientific ideas to the scientists. Our job is to find the metaphorical multiverse and describe it!

            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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            • I didn't think of you guys as theorists, as such. The notion I had here about "non-linear" narrative seems more like a technical consideration of a practical, very tactical nature. It seems the sort of thing where several of you might have said, "You know if you tried it this way, you might get an interesting effect..." "Yes, that might work. Perhaps I'll give it a try if the occasion arises..." I wouldn't call that theorizing, because it doesn't proclaim that this is the ONLY method that can be employed, or anything of that sort.

              I just noticed a whole series of stories that appeared in the magazine where this suddenly became part of the bag of tricks, as it were. It led me to suspect many of you were talking about non-linear narrative as one approach. Since it wasn't really something other people in sf were doing at the time, it's distinctive.

              LSN

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              • We scarcely talked about it at all. If we talked about anything it was subject matter. We tended to go off by ourselves to work. I don't remember discussing anything with Jones or Ballard, except about how boring most linear narrative had become. I wish I could remember a time when we did discuss these things -- maybe at the Brighton Arts Festival once, when Richard Hamilton accused us of taking the life out of sf ? Maybe on the radio re. The New SF ? There was a Radio 3 discussion with George MacBeth. But not that often.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • If you didn't discuss it, you didn't.

                  What started me wondering about this again was the introductory essay Langdon Jones wrote to his collection, The Eye of the Lens. It discusses the idea with a certain fervor that nearly approaches proselytizing; and there was a pattern of usage in the magazine that made it appear a group effort, however different each story.

                  So it's not precisely a coincidence, but it appears that the approach was in common usage. It may have been imbibed in some cases by reading work in the magazine that used it. It definitely appeared to be "in the air."

                  Thanks.

                  LSN

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                  • I dropped the loose-leaf draft of Prototype X-1 (prototype Prototype?) all over the bloody shed floor this evening.

                    Now that created a non-linear narrative! :lol:

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                    • A non-linear collaborative narrative, no less. :lol:

                      LSN

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                        What was always amusing was how the academics believed they'd invented what we'd been doing in our various ways for some years before 'post-modernism' began to be defined. I still prefer to leave most theory to academics and the development of scientific ideas to the scientists. Our job is to find the metaphorical multiverse and describe it!
                        Interesting. Agree. I remember entering PhD school in 1990, hearing the conversation and thinking to myself, "This was stuff mapped out by Mike and the New World's people back in the sixties, and with more supple and parsimonious results."

                        The professors of postmodernism I met with in grad school were drawing from roughly three directions: 1) Philosophy: Derrida; 2) Lefty Academe: Frederic Jameson (and the continental philosophers--why "leftists" were talking about Heidegger I shall never know); and 3) the "Art" market: William S. Burroughs, Andy Warhol . . . and over to . . . Madison Ave.

                        And further back we go: surrealists, high-modernists (Pound, Eliot, Joyce); pre-rafs; hallucinating Victorians; Romantics; Gothic & Oriental "epicures"; Sterne, Fielding, Smollett and the "melt-down" of the 18th century novel; Milton's mythographic-Protestant-modernist-satiric synthesis; and then the "big" source/tradition: satire: Swift, Robert Burton, Rabelais, Lucian, Aristophanes, and so on....

                        What could be more representative of postmodern, stream-of-consciousness, self-reflexive, non-linear, narratological compression than the "Shield of Achilles" passage from the Illiad? Was Homer a postmodernist!

                        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                        Our job is to find the metaphorical multiverse and describe it!
                        Ah, and that is one way to put it....

                        Comment


                        • I've been thinking of this stuff lately. Unlike what Mr. Moorcock suggested as the approach at New Worlds, I'm afraid I am a bit of a theorist. (No doubt the unfortunate result of my profession. )

                          I think fiction often arrives in two very broad categories. The first, most common category is a narrative that follows some path already laid down. It can be a resurrection of some much older mode of fiction (e.g., the way John Fowles in The French Lieutenant's Woman redid Henry Fielding), or an attempt to reanimate modernist procedures (a lot of American "New Wave" in the '60s), or a straight, traditional narrative -- all of these methods don't exactly break new ground, and in a sense are almost like the narrative equivalent of "costume drama," where modern people with modern motivations are dressed up to resemble another time. (Of course, the eye makeup of the leading ladies always gives it away. :lol:)

                          The second category is writing that is animated in some way by the Zeitgeist. This often leads to experiment in new modes, experiment which may prove very fruitful. People will argue whether it's "really" a "story" or a "novel" or something else. People have been making these complaints about new fiction since the 19th Century, at least. (E.g., see the introduction Guy de Maupassant wrote to his novel Pierre et Jean.)

                          New Worlds way back when obviously published some conventional narratives, albeit the quality was a good deal higher than average. Some of the conventional works (I think of the stories of Keith Roberts) were exceptionally fine examples of the approach, and showed that the traditional modes in the hands of an artist aren't necessarily morbund.

                          Yet it's mostly the unconventional, "idiosyncratic" narratives from New Worlds that for some of us made the greatest impact. An approach to writing unfettered by past conventions clearly produced memorable work.

                          In connection with these thoughts, I'd wonder to what extent the works Perdix has received for Prototype X are conventional narratives and what percentage of submitted work might meet Mr. Moorcock's "idiosyncratic narrative" preference.

                          ---

                          By the way, someone posted on Langdon Jones's web site that there was much noise and demand on this site for new fiction by him. I would certainly be ecstatic to see a new story by Mr. Jones, but I don't know the proportions of the demand for his work. I know Mr. Moorcock has expressed regret that there aren't more works available from Mr. Jones. It is a regret that I share. The Eye of the Lens is worth seeking out, if you haven't already read it.

                          If there are others with a strong desire to see new fiction by Mr. Jones, they might post a plea on his site. Perhaps we can try to commission a new story by him for Prototype X. 8O

                          LSN

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                          • Langdon Jones has apparently dropped in at this site a few times. He was at one point the Literary Editor for New Worlds. If he would care to comment about his own editorial approach at the magazine, it might well prove interesting.

                            LSN

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