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Thursday, November 13, 2003

I never realized how little I like metaphor and personification in fiction until very recently. I was rereading Cat's Cradle, which is a book I highly recommend if you haven't checked it out before, and I just can't get over the scientist character, who is clearly a representative of all of science the industrial US(Vonnegut, if you failed to catch the overt preaching, thinks science is misguided and led to most of the terrible things ever.) It's one of those things where, as a person, I can clearly relate on some level to the traits exhibited by the character, but he's far too monochromatic. He's JUST a scientist who childishly goes about doing sort of whatever is suggested to him, with no real thought of consequence... and while I recognize the "it's interesting, so I'll do it" mentality as something which is a defining attribute of many scientists, especially those who built the a-bomb (Richard Feynman's account of the Trinity test is worth reading, even if you're a complete nonscientist) but it sells people short to pretend that's all.

The real interest, for me, comes when you have characters who can be sort of an embodiment of some principle, while at the same time actually being conflicted. Actually having human characteristics. The reason Ayn Rand books are so atrocious is that each person has a very clear purpose, and is an unwavering archtype for whatever she has them there to represent. The books become thinly veiled diadacticism, and it stops serving the function for which it was made. There is a fine line between allegory and a lack of creativity.

cranked out at 3:09 PM | |

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