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Desiderata for a Good Novel

Looking at a good novel like Finnegans Wake it has some admirable features: i)Vico cyclometer — i.e. depending upon whether a civilization reading it is in a stage of myth, heroic epic, or rationality, or second barbarism the novel will present differently ii)in a made-up language that it teaches the reader iii)in an interesting shape that says something about the theme of time and temporality viz. circular.

Another good novel, Gene Wolfe’s Urth Cycle has good features, namely i)model of temporality based upon modern understandings of time ii)profound and self-reflective musings upon the relationship of religion and the imagination iii)subversion of the relationship between the idea of literary character and human character iv)ultimate metaphor for what it is to live a life.

Novels can do a lot. If I ever write one I’d like AT LEAST for it to accomplish being:

i)a self-diagnostic tool for the Cosmic Anthropos ii)in a new language that it teaches you iii)consistent time paradoxes iv)subvert yet re-create the reciprocal relationship of psychology/character creation v)entertaining!

That said a good start would be to develop a novel that provides a new mythology for the human race, is in a language that does not depend exclusively upon Western languages, and is a RELATIVISTIC Vico cyclometer

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3 thoughts on “Desiderata for a Good Novel

  1. I’m a science fiction fan but I’d never even heard of Gene Wolfe. I looked him up, and found that Harlan Ellison thought he was one of the best. I’d better check out some of his books. Thanks for the pointer.

  2. Vico Cyclometer is a bad ass mfcking concept

    Out of curiosity, re: your last 2 paragraphs, do novelists typically i) write with these types of goals in mind, or ii) write what they feel like writing and themes come through? Or a combo of both?

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