Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two classes of disaster stories

From Paul McAuley's "When It Changed":

  1. "disaster is so complete and overwhelming, and so sudden, that it forms a distinct and abrupt break with its past (our present)." He lists several examples.
  2. "The catastrophe is not caused by one thing but is woven from many causes. And these do not cause an abrupt change and a clean break with the past, but drive a slow and complex process of transformation with an unclear endpoint... They tends towards the satiric mode; lean towards the dystopian but don’t entirely embrace it." Examples: "Bruce Sterling’s Distraction, my own Fairyland."
Related: Stories of Paul McAuley.