in post

12 September 2020

Science Fiction

It is interesting to compare the mediums of fiction writing and cinema with regard to world creation, especially in the case of fantasy and science fiction. In the written medium, the writer has to painstaking describe everything. In the case of cinema, it is possible to skirt these descriptions by using elaborate stage sets or CGI. In the written medium, it is not practical to expend too many words on description, so the writer must depend upon the imagination or acquaintance of the reader with a comparable reality. However this is surely unequal, and this inequality will mean that, to a greater extent than in cinema, the experience of one reader to the work of fiction will be widely different to that of another. This is not true only for fantasy and science fiction, but in general. One reader will imagine a character in a different way to that of another. But still I think it is especially true, when the world in which the story takes place differs from that of the reader. On the other hand, a novelist who is writing about his contemporary reality, which he/she assumes that the reader already knows, is unlikely to expend too many words about describing it. This means that when we read books that were set in an earlier era, we have to be able to fill in the details of their reality from our knowledge of the era. Here it will have been helpful to have seen films, because someone else has done the research about those eras, and have been able to depict them more or less accurately. But imagine if I am reading a novel set in the early 19th century and have not seen any of those films, or have watched them inattentively, my mind might create a backdrop that confuses images from the 17th or early 20th century with the time period of the novel. In that sense, a science fiction or fantasy writer has the advantage of not being able to assume that the reader knows the world that he is describing, and must more carefully describe it.

I think that, in any case, the keyword is atmosphere. The description must be able to create the atmosphere that is suitable to the story. The effort that a writer spends on description is especially aimed towards that. I must be able to feel the atmosphere of the backdrop even if I cannot fully visualize it.

It will be interesting to see what Villeneuve creates in the new version of Dune that is due later this year.


Since I stopped using Waterfox, I've been spending time with various browsers, mainly Vivaldi, Firefox, Palemoon and Tor. Palemoon would be fine for me if it were able to work well with more sites, but there are some that don't perform so well with it. For example, there's a site (not the John Hopkins one) that shows charts of my area's coronavirus statistics. Palemoon is unable to handle the chart's complexity and presents a simpler version of it. Palemoon doesn't complain, and I would not know that I was not receiving the optimal presentation if I hadn't seen the same page in other browsers. Vivaldi is a fine browser but occasionally there is a subtle kind of friction in using it. Sometimes searching for a term on SearX will provide no feedback at all, and the browser seems stuck. I've noticed such problems when I'm in a hurry and have many tabs open. This is a fast computer, with 32 GB RAM. The experience on Firefox is somewhat smoother, So I'm going back to that.

There's another issue regarding Vivaldi. I haven't managed to update it to version 3.3 over the past few days under MX, but this isn't something that had me worried.

Chrome is installed too, but I rarely need it.

Afternoon walk

At 6 PM the thermometer had dipped to around 30 degrees, so I went out for a walk. I took along my Lumix point-and-shoot and this time it took nicer photos than my phone. For some of the photos I chose the sunset setting to enhance the red tones, otherwise, I used just the automatic settings.