Cataloging fiction

April 20, 2007

in Books and literature, Daily updates, Geek stuff

Headington shark, Oxfordshire

One of my favourite things about Wikipedia is how it includes masses of detail about fictional universes, as well as the particular one we seem to inhabit. Those wanting to learn about particular features of Herbert’s Dune universe, the Tolkien legendarium, or any of dozens of others have access to encyclopedic articles about them. Some people dismiss the effort of imagination that goes into such verisimilitude as a wasteful exercise. Far healthier, I think, is to see it in one of two ways. At a lesser level, such alternative universes can be a mechanism for criticizing important features of our own. The anti-mutant paranoia in the X-Men comics was a response to McCarthyism. At a higher level, they simply allow for the envisioning of the world as it might be. Especially for children, this is a valuable thing to encourage.

Being able to appreciate Miyazaki films is the bare minimum level of imagination that should be accepted from human beings. Being able to appreciate other such alternative realities is a characteristic that should be respected, rather than mocked.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous April 21, 2007 at 1:11 pm

This is better than the picture of the shark on the Wikipedia entry. Perhaps you should change it.

R.K April 21, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Science In Silico

Computer simulations and visualizations are performing the thought experiments of the 21st century and pushing the limits of human vision and imagination.

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