G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y


“Siphonophores are colonial marine organisms made up of specialised but genetically identical units, zooids, that undertake different functions, such as feeding or reproduction. The best-known species is the Portuguese man o'war, which resembles a large jellyfish but is actually seven different kinds of zooid that cooperate so that the colony acts like a single organism.”

From Paul McAuley's THE SECRET OF LIFE.

I note that he does the thing that I love when its done in fiction: including actual non-fiction knowledge. Chuck Palahniuk will almost always slide a little nugget of knowledge in his novels (i.e. how soap is made in FIGHT CLUB or how long it takes to choke in CHOKE, and I think there was something about airplanes or bodybuilding or both in SURVIVAL). This strikes me as an essential function of storytelling: using story to ever so slyly act as a vector for knowledge. It isn't the only function, but it seems to be one of several essential functions. It is after all a tradition as old as time itself. The oldest story known to humankind, THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH, lets it be known that wood obtained from Cedar trees is ideal for shipbuilding (and indeed, the oldest known surviving boat, excavated in Egypt, is built out of Cedar). The myth of Osiris contains mumification instructions. Story is carrier wave for philosophical pondering, parable, moral compass tuning, and factual knowledge. Drama is, for the most part, a really great delivery system.

At least that's how I like it.

#journal #reads #story

Great analysis of folk horror on Mangal Media's substack.

It's got me thinking that a reversal of the typical folk horror narrative might be worthy to explore, as it seems to me that narratives often described as folk horror are inherently pro-colonialist and pro-assimilation.

Perhaps instead of a narrative about an urban outsider arriving at an isolated pagan society to discover how fucked up they live, it may be time for one where the outsider comes away with the realization that his or her own world is in fact the fucked up one.

#research #story

Well well well, would you look what I just found in my story journal?!

It may be time to revisit this very loose idea and flesh it out into a jolly little short.

#journal #work #story