October 3, 2006
MarkBernstein.org
 

Explaining Those Women

In my talk at OZ-IA, I mentioned in passing the importance of closed circles to creating new genres. Blogging thrives on stories of inside stories, from Jennicam to Kaycee to a host of Iranian teen blogs. People like to know what's going to behind the door.

There have been lots of delightful stories about what really happened in Victorian novels. Fingersmith comes to mind, for starters, and so do the Pullman trilogy and The Vanished Child . This one is different:

It has do be admitted that a number of the core axioms of the Victorian novel are just wrong. People aren't like that. Women, especially, aren't like that. This novel is the result of wondering what a world would be like if they were, if the axioms of the sentimental Victorian novel were inescapable laws of biology.

This is, it seems, a redaction of a Trollopian romance in which all the characters are dragons. Dragons are notoriously sensitive and delicate, and these are no exception. For example, apparently if a young female dragon is left alone in a confined space with a male dragon, and especially if they touch, this triggers irreversible biochemical changes that alter her color. A single imprudent encounter can turn the poor girl's golden scales pink, making her forever unmarriageable.

I've just started, but I'm having a great time.