7/23/11

That Which Does Not Require a Queen

Tim Horvath is Necessary Fiction's Writer in Residence this month, and his project is to "bring to you some writers who are playing with science in their work, but also, of course, with things other than science." I am lucky to be one of those writers; Tim very generously asked me to contribute a story AND to do an interview with him, and both are now up. The interview deals with a story that was published earlier this year in DIAGRAM 11.1, "LATITUDE 33° 11' NORTH, LONGITUDE 40° 28' WEST."

Here's a bit from the interview:
TH: Dennett sees in the Game of Life a remarkably fertile way of modeling how life can take unexpected directions based on shifting initial conditions and how finding the right simple set of rules can make the difference between something which fizzles and/or stagnates versus something that flourishes. He is talking in the end about life rather than the Game therein. And your story is also in part about how initial conditions can lead to wildly different outcomes—witness the stagnation of the first couple of diagrams versus the rest, and then the ending, which allows for change but seems to imply an endless repetition. So I guess I’m wondering whether you see narrative as being like that, evolving in different directions based on starting points.
GB: My own “games” do not seem to me to grow, much less flourish, but, when they are most successful, instead regress. My method of composition being then best described not as a process of moving things forward from a set of initial conditions, like the construction of a Lego fortress from a pile of blocks, or even the gathering of a hurricane from the flap of a butterfly’s wings, but one of recording the echoes that those initial conditions have left before their meeting. The butterfly, the Lego block — they don’t come from nowhere, after all. But I suppose that’s a matter of vantage — as I mentioned in the story, Crowhurst had Einstein’s Relativity aboard; it was the only “creative” book he had with him, the rest were nautical charts.


My thanks to Tim for including my story, "That Which Does Not Require a Queen," in his project. I'm excited to see what the remainder of the month has in store; based on the things Tim has posted so far (an excerpt from Lily Hoang's Parabola, Robert Kloss's story "The Affliction," and an excerpt from Renee Mallett's "Swarmed"), it will be fantastic reading.