Whatever happened to…
Whatever happened to the length of stories? When did they become so engorged with words and plots, characters and details? I think back on the classic literature of my favored genres (Science Fiction and Fantasy) and am puzzled. Books with less than 100,000 words and plots so amazing that you have to turn the page. For example:
Frankenstein – ~75k
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – ~110k (to be fair, this count is broken up over multiple stories.)
War of the Worlds – ~60k
Then there are the books I remember from school, thin tomes containing vast worlds, emotional journeys and often time commentary on the human condition. Works such as: The Contender, a collection Ray Bradbury’s stories (which one I cannot recall. I do remember the gold cover though.)
When did the art of writing require such voluminous works? To be fair I do not begrudge the likes of Tolkien, GRR Martin or Robert Jordan. There is an important place for epic works such as The Lord of the Ring, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Wheel of Time. These epic tales are staggering in terms of development and scope.
But I recall other epics that took far less to tell: The Iliad, Beowulf as examples. Stories which require the use of imagination, engaging the reader in a give and take relationship rather than presenting a complete world ready for a visit, are increasingly rare these days.
I intend on taking a simple notion, a collection of short stories (much in line with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) and weaving together multiple tales which stand alone, into a greater tapestry. That is my goal for this coming year. It feels funny to have stated that in print (or out loud even) but there you are.
In other news:
The new Quantum Muse stories for January are out!
I received a HP Touchpad for Christmas. What an excellent piece of technology. I am really enjoying it. There are several e-reader applications, plus a version of the Kindle software available. Need to load up your new e-reading device? Try: ManyBooks.net. The price is right: Free.
Thanks for reading!