Fabulous Fabulists

As always, I’m proud to be represented on The Visionary Fiction Alliance, this time with a guest post about the power of fable, both classic and modern.  I look at how fable relates to my new work The Qaraq and the Maya Factor.  Here’s an excerpt from “Fables, Italo Calvino, and Visionary Fiction.”

“We know this aspect of myth, of fairy tale, of fable, that they exist as pure story, often innocent on the surface, broad-stroke actions without inner character development or thematic commentary. But scratch a bit of that surface, do the least bit of interpretation, and worlds of meaning emerge, often the kinds of transcendental truth that Visionary Fiction embraces. How then do we include or approach these folkloric narratives, which have no original authors or first editions? They are at once the most visionary of fictions, and not technically fiction at all.

What of fable? On the one hand, this form may be the closest in definition to VF. A fable is a story intended” “to reveal moral or ethical consequences to life’s many choices.” This lesson component to the fable aligns with the higher truths that VF desires to bring to light, more literally than a myth or fairy tale. On the other hand, fables tend to have talking animals (human beings qualify), and the life lessons are often practical and homespun, not cosmic. And VF is not necessarily didactic, tied up with a ‘moral.’ Like other fictional forms, are there fables that are visionary and fables that are not?

In my own work, 1001, The Reincarnation Chronicles, a character remembers and recounts a past life tale every chapter. Modeled after The Thousand and One Nights, the stories include myths and fables, and since the incarnations range from Persian royalty to wombats to supercontinents, they stretch the ‘talking animal’ aspect. Every memory raises the spiritual question of the veracity of reincarnation, but few contain literal morals.”  READ MORE

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