(urth) Literal or metaphor?

Gerry Quinn gerry at bindweed.com
Sat Apr 13 03:24:53 PDT 2013

From: Dan'l Danehy-Oakes

> Without wanting to take any position on the current discussion,
> a metapoint:
> Samuel R. Delany (a writer of Wolfe's "generation" of SF writers)
>  points out in several places that one of the powerful "features"
> of science fiction is to literalize metaphors.
> For example, in a mundane novel "He turned on his left side"
> means someone rolled over in bed; in an SF novel it may mean
> that someone threw a switch to activate half their body. Or the
> muzzy metaphor "Her world exploded" may mean that a planet
> belonging to some woman blowed up real good.
> The point here is that saying that something is a metaphor
> doesn't mean that it isn't also literally true -- or even _primarily_
> literally true.

Delaney's point is true, but I do not think literal metaphors are at too 
much risk of being ignored on this list!  Freud's "sometimes a cigar is just 
a cigar" may also be useful at times...

- Gerry Quinn

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