[LMB] Setting the story up

Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Tue Dec 16 19:06:17 GMT 2014

On Mon, December 15, 2014 10:29 pm, Matthew George wrote:
> Sometimes we don't even care that, by taking a step away from the
> story and applying critical thinking, we can defeat the 'mystery'. I'm
> think of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", the movie version of the novel "Who
> Censored Roger Rabbit?"
> It's a fantastic movie, with a very obvious villain.  But the point
> isn't figuring out who the villain is, the point is enjoying the process of
> the protagonist discovering the entire story and collecting the facts
> needed to demonstrate it.  The protagonist doesn't have access to our
> knowledge of genre conventions, can't afford to make risky judgments on
> appearances alone, and doesn't know he's in a work of fiction.

Traditional Chinese detective stories tended to start with the
villain committing the crime, so you knew whodunnit right away,
but the fun for the reader was in watching the magistrate piece
things together.  (Robert Van Gulik used this in some of his Judge
Dee novels, but often shifted more towards Western ones as the
series went on.)  Different reading experiences and genre expectations.

> I did enjoy re-reading "The Curse of Chalion" and "The Paladin of
> Souls" so that I could identify all of the small events that, in
> hindsight, the gods probably had some influence in.  Reading the book the
> first time, without having the entire pattern in mind, they simply seem to
> be minor coincidences.

That's one of the things I like so much about those books -- seeing
the nudges and the set-up.

Tony Z


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