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From: Richard Horton 
Subject: Re: (urth) limitations of short fiction
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 08:12:30 -0500

On Wed, 25 Jun 2003 11:53:55 -0700, you wrote:

>Le Guin's "Semley's Necklace" (novelette?  I don't know) does the neat
>trick of telling a story of two worlds and four or more cultures with
>virtually no "world-building": she does it by using only off-the-shelf
>stuff, in a clever way.  Shorn of details, the story itself is pretty
>slight, as in the case of "Moon Moth," but from a completely different

"Semley's Necklace" is just barely a novelette, at some 7700 words --
but I don't think parsing short story/novelette distinctions at that
level is useful.

One of the neat things about "Semley's Necklace" is that the
"off-the-shelf" stuff includes fantasy conventions such as fairies and
trolls.  It's an old trick to give those science fictional rationales,
but Le Guin does so very gracefully, and the story turns on a
particular fairy legend, given physical possibility by scientific
means, and it does so very nicely.  (All of the novel (_Rocannon's
World_) expanded from "Semley's Necklace" is the same sort of thing,
and it remains slight but graceful and enjoyable.  And beautifully
Rich Horton | Stable Email: mailto://richard.horton@sff.net
Home Page: http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton
Also visit SF Site (http://www.sfsite.com) and Tangent Online =


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