S, Stories

So in that novel I talked about before, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, a multi-verse theory of storytelling is put into the mouth of one of the characters, Rebecca East-Oda. I think I can relate this without it being a spoiler. East-Oda says this regarding “crosstalk” between the Strands of History:

We’ve seen it before in creative arts settings, especially storytelling. If you think about what is going on in a storyteller’s mind when he or she spins a fictional yarn, what they are trying to do is come up with a story that did not actually happen, but that seems as if it might have happened. In other words, it has to make sense and to be plausible. Typically such a story makes use of real places, historical events, characters, etc. but the events of the story itself seem to take place in an alternate version of reality.

The conventionally accepted explanation for this is that storytellers have a power of imagination that makes them good at inventing counterfactual narratives. In the light of everything we’ve learned about Strands at DDO, however, we can now see an alternate explanation, which is that storytellers are doing a kind of low-level magic. Their ‘superpower’ isn’t imagining counterfactuals, but rather seeing across parallel Strands and perceiving things that actually did (or might) happen in alternate versions of reality.

I like this a lot. Storytellers are actually wizards.

In other news, my personal top fictional reads of 2017 all involved playing with the idea of telling stories in some way. They are (in no particular order):

  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salmon Rushdie
  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
  • A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
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1 Comment

Filed under academic

One response to “S, Stories

  1. Speaking of “crosstalk”, have you read Connie Willis’s novel of the same name? It’s a relatively new release — very good.

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