Wednesday, February 22, 2006

How would you answer this: "What is the Most Important Thing About Fiction?"

Well, however you'danswer it--and feel free to post your answer in my comments section--here is how Gene Wolfe, venerable science fiction author, answers the question when it is posed to him by the rather adorably pale, attractively disheveled, and unquestionably talented Neil Gaiman (What? I can't have an innocent, wee crush?)in a Locus interview:

NG: “What’s the most important thing about fiction?”
GW: “The most important thing is that it assures the reader that things need not be as they are now. In other words, the most important thing is hope.


Deb Kinnard said...

Gene Wolfe said that? I thought he could no longer surprise me, but he has. Maybe he's getting mellow as he gets (ahem) a tad bit older.

Let me explain: Gene Wolfe is one of the weirdest, nicest people I've met. He's always treated me like visiting royalty, and he likes my kids. What could be higher praise?

However: he also has one of the most vivid imaginations I've ever seen exposed in print. See his book SHADOW OF THE TORTURER if you're curious. Don't be; you'll sleep better.

Mirtika said...

Babycakes, I read Severian's tale a long, long time ago. (I need to reread it as I've forgotten most.) I had a crush on him. :) Him and Elric of Melnibone (by Moorcock). What is it with me and those heroic bad boys?

I still crack up thinking that his character started as "What would make an easy fantasy convention costume? Oh, yeah, black leather pants, boots, and cape..." and on from there.

At least, I'm pretty sure I read that in an interview some time. My memory ain't a very reliable thing in my mid-years.