2010-11-15 : Scifi vs Horror x3
I read The Word for World is Forest (by Ursula Le Guin) over the weekend, by the way.
Quoth J, here:
Your description of the Shock being horrible things instead of speculation is really interesting.
Wow! I hadn’t thought of it that way. That’s great. I’ve been thinking about it since.
That’s the 1st versus: the Shock is a horrible thing, not speculation.
2nd versus: the Social Issue is intimate, not societal. In horror, we’re looking at a person or a 1-on-1 relationship, not a society. Where the shock illuminates an issue in society, the horror illuminates the inner workings of one person or the inner workings of one person’s relationships.
Splice is a good example. Spoilers! The first half of Splice is like Shock: hardcore genetic manipulation, building a new life form; Social Issue: parenting. But halfway through, at this precise and recognizable moment, it switches up. It becomes Horror: my daughter is a deadly unnatural creature; Personal Issue: I’m not rising to the challenges of motherhood, same as my own mother didn’t.
In Ginger Snaps, it’s all Horror: werewolfery; Personal Issue: my sister is going through adolescence and leaving me behind. In Mulberry Street, it’s Horror: rat zombies; Personal Issue: who do I love?
And 3rd versus: there’s something different in the way antagonism works that I haven’t pinned down yet. Maybe it’s something about how the Horror is sometimes the antagonist, where the Shock almost never is, and the story-mechanical differences that creates. I dunno! Any thoughts?
1. On 2010-11-15, Ben Lehman said:
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