Borges and the trivialization of SFF worlds.

Onyx

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In Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, Borges depicts a society so engrossed in the study of a few fiction places that this pursuit displaces normal academia.

I have always (guiltily) enjoyed reference material to fictional places. Having seen all the various films but not read any of the books, I enjoy reading the Tolkien Bestiary. I checked out the Dune Encyclopedia many times, had a "Science of Star Trek" (LOL) manual and enjoy the comparative anatomy of Star Trek Federation ships, Valkrie fighters and anime robots. I see all of this as a guilty pleasure, since the specifications of all of these couldn't be more arbitrary.

Is there a name for this pursuit, or the crafting non-narrative fiction?
 

Joshua Jones

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No idea if it has a proper name or not, but I call it monetizing your world building...
 

tinkerdan

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These could be called companion guides; however when compiled by someone--not the author--I'd have to put them roughly into the fan fiction category also.

I think that--worse than those who read the stuff--those who compile it might be more at risk to being obsessively engrossed in fictional places. Though, since they often profit from it, it's not all that bad; however it does require the authorization of the original author (or his heirs) most times (one would assume).
 

Onyx

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I'm a little interested in the idea of creating such stuff independent of any source material. Which is essentially what role playing game guides are - all the world to a story the players later create. I've never been interested in actually playing, but some of those manuals are pretty interesting.
 

-K2-

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Personally, I'm of the opinion that these are extremely valuable resources... BUT, can bite you in the backside. It's been my experience that the average player, reader, or watcher of movies and such, doesn't want to spend much time if any at all, figuring out the world, the technology, the religions, customs, weapons, mapping out the world, etc.. Many like to have it handed to them. Here it is, these are the constraints, enjoy. At that point they simply play/read/watch and don't have to 'imagine or invent' any aspect of it.

How much they'll appreciate it is another thing. Once it is all done and there, the amount of effort it took is often taken for granted. So no matter how wonderful of a job you did, expect that only a handful will appreciate it (even those that begged for it).

That said, once you have given the people what they want, putting in all of the imagination and labor, then it starts. This guy now has this idea, that gal imagined it this way, this person doesn't want to be constrained by this reasonable condition, and that person is all bent out of shape that they must now think in terms that you established and naturally "it's too complex/confusing" (them mostly not wanting to have to think) will always rear its head.

They may have all asked for it, whined, and some even demanded it... However, once done you'll find a lot of pushback. Oddly, often from those who didn't want anything in the first place, but now that the hard work is done they want you to change it all to their twisted vision.

I have always found that wherein the stories are transient, this was fun today yet everyone moved on tomorrow, that the permanence of world/culture building is extremely rewarding and naturally long lasting. That ever present foundation that supports everything.

Just don't take the critics that suddenly popup new whines and gripes too much to heart. In the end those that love it will embrace it, and those that simply don't like to think, just won't use it.

K2
 

psikeyhackr

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This can only be properly discussed in fluent Klingon.
 

James Bridie

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In Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, Borges depicts a society so engrossed in the study of a few fiction places that this pursuit displaces normal academia.

...Is there a name for this pursuit, or the crafting non-narrative fiction?

I am not sure I understand the title of the thread - what is the problem of trivialization of SFF related to Borges? I didn't detect this in the actual post...?
 

Onyx

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I am not sure I understand the title of the thread - what is the problem of trivialization of SFF related to Borges? I didn't detect this in the actual post...?
There's no problem. Borges wrote a story which is about how the trivia of fictional places became an engrossing pastime. I was using that as an introduction to the idea of creating such trivia as the actual literary product rather than abstracting it from a host narrative.
 

James Bridie

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There's no problem. Borges wrote a story which is about how the trivia of fictional places became an engrossing pastime. I was using that as an introduction to the idea of creating such trivia as the actual literary product rather than abstracting it from a host narrative.

Ah, OK, good, and I see how it links to the other thread...
 

Stephen Palmer

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There's no problem. Borges wrote a story which is about how the trivia of fictional places became an engrossing pastime. I was using that as an introduction to the idea of creating such trivia as the actual literary product rather than abstracting it from a host narrative.

John Crowley called this 'the snake's hands'.
 

Riflebird

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This sort of material seems to work for me when it's done by the author themselves - I adored the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as a teenager. Recently have fallen in love with Jeff Vandermeer's City of Saints and Madmen, where the history of a city and a cast of its colourful inhabitants is told in what feels like companion-guide material: a historical guidebook whose footnotes contain an ominous conspiracy theory and the story of the author's romantic misadventures, a tale of family murder told in the bibliography of a study of a type of squid, etc...
 

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