[LMB] romance novels & subversion & saving the world

Katherine Collett kcollett at hamilton.edu
Thu Feb 8 00:58:22 GMT 2018

On Feb 7, 2018, at 7:00 PM, Katherine Collett <kcollett at hamilton.edu> wrote:
> But then ... remember Lois's statement, "If romances are fantasies of love, and mysteries are fantasies of justice, I would now describe most F&SF as fantasies of political agency"?  So, I loved the successful melding of genres when it became clear that Murphy was going to have her heroines Save the World as well achieve romantic bliss.

Hm, fell down a bit of a rabbit hole in pursuing the Saving the World idea; see https://www.tor.com/2012/12/14/not-saving-the-world-how-does-that-even-work/ -- one of Jo Walton's terrific essays.  Political agency may indeed be a more useful measure than saving the world.

Though I don't agree that the Sharing Knife stories are not about saving the world.  It's just that saving the world is a long-haul proposition; you have to do it again and again, every day, or at least every time there's a malice, as Dag points out more than once.  What it is about is figuring out what's wrong with the paradigm the Lakewalkers have been following for so long, and striking out on a new path, with at least more hope for that long haul towards saving the world.  

Just realized that in Paladin of Souls, any saving of the world (however that's defined -- Ista's world? the kingdom? Porifors?) is really just an aftereffect of saving Arhys ... which is a side-effect (well, it's more of a package deal) of being sent (prodded? cajoled? tempted?) in answer to Illvin's prayers.  Which makes sense in the World of the Five Gods, because to the gods, it's souls, not worlds, that are important.

The Penric stories, however, do seem to be not about saving the world, at least so far.  Souls, yes.  Political agency?  Some, maybe?  


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