I love pulp. I love crazy, mad, over the top worlds, with weird structures, tons of awe inspiring sections, lots of thrilling combat scenes. I also love the quiet books, books just about being alive. Books with the structure of poetics, with overwhelming lanuage, where the awe inspiring sections are moments of qualia in the world, moments of poetical mono no aware.
It’s one of the reasons I enjoyed Adaptation so much. It’s about this schizophrenic impulse I think a lot of our generation has- the need to tell bigger and bigger and more over the top, thrilling stories, but also our need to dance into something new, to attach ourselves to our psyche and memory, and drag out all the things that make us human.
That’s one of the things I love about my favorite writers- they seem to push both things, they seem to dance between human pathos and memory as well as human frailty as well as the raw adventure of genre. It’s all about balancing in some ways, about exploration in other ways. There is a desire, a need to tell stories about more than simple things, about larger things in all way. Pulp explores the larger things in extreme contexts, about larger than life fantasias, while the human stories, the small stories explore the larger things inside of us, the bits of memory clogging us, clinging to us.
This is something I must admit I struggle with, it’s hard to find the between note, the perfect note, that combines humanity and the smallness of being and the wonders of the world in the small bits of our existence and just existing, and the exciting large bits, the bigger than being human bits, the bombastic bits.
It’s like…in Star Wars: A New Hope, there is this scene, and it’s just Luke staring out at the twin sun setting, and there is this feeling of loss in that scene. It’s a perfect moment, a quiet moment before the big parts come crashing in. But it’s there, and because it’s there, wearing humanity on it’s sleeve, the rest of the story has an inner largeness that wasn’t there before. Because who hasn’t waited there, in a liminal moment, knowing their life was about to change, about to pass on and become something other…