Doing recon, to find out other elements of her philosophy…
–I don't think Borges is good Magic Realism, and Tolkien explains the balrog in a different book.
What you're describing in the context of Magic Realism isn't building a world. It's a stylized portrayal of the real world, a non-literal portrayal.
I don't believe in Suspension of Disbelief, and generally prefer fiction that intentionally breaks it in people who believe in it. I'm against verisimilitude and internal consistency, so like, take your alleged rules and understand that they're genre-specific. Fiction is not a monolith. There are no universal rules. There are only genre-specific ones.
(The comments she was referring to, unfortunately, were deleted.)
–If you think that criticism is applicable to all fiction, then you're using some headass definition of worldbuilding that I'm not following at all, no offense.
Fiction doesn't across the board involve fabrication of a new world. That's only true of genre fiction, and as you can guess, my views on genre fiction are that it's very very bad. Not all styles even presume the narrator's POV to be objective, for one thing.
Thought isn't worldbuilding. That's absolutely ridiculous.
–No, I know I'm not worldbuilding because I actively eschew world descriptions, don't frame my narrator voice as authoritative and objective, and actively eschew internal consistency.
It's not about mental models. It's about actively not mapping a world.
–…I don't disagree that worldbuilding can be an enjoyable intellectual exercise. I just don't believe it belongs with writing, you know?
It's also worth noting that I'm personally a huge fan of ambiguity and uncertainty. I loathe the lack of those things the way that you lack those things. If something's so clear and unambiguous that I'm left with no room to interpret and analyze and draw my own conclusions, I don't get invested in a work at all. Also, if everything is unambiguous and clear, the whole work feels unreal to me, and I'm unable to connect with it on every level.
–I'm not really into twists, personally. I'm a big believer in telegraphing things really hard so that it will be clear to the reader what's going to happen, and they can focus primarily on what it means instead.
'Alternative turns of plot' don't really interest me at all, because I don't care about or enjoy plot. The fiction I write and the fiction I'm interested in is typically plotless (and often conflictless, or very low-conflict), with an emphasis on mundane experiences and exploration of realistic emotions.
Alternative interpretations are an integral part of how I enjoy fiction, tbh. Interpretation is what I'm there for, you know? I don't give a shit about what the author was thinking when they wrote it (well, outside of pieces that are semi-autobiographical, where that deeply informs any interpretation). I care about what the work means to me, you know? I'm an unusually huge believer in death of the author.
–That's (i.e. Harrison Bergeron, The Handmaid’s Tale) not building an oppressive system though. That's taking one that already exists to a logical conclusion. It's still our world.
–If you're building a fictional world, then yes, it's worldbuilding.
I don't believe that SF/F can provide meaningful commentary about the real world. It's too distanced. Commentary on the real world is the realm of literary fiction. If you want to discuss the real world using the fantastical as a metaphor, then you've got Magic Realism (which is what I write).
–1984 is pretty fucking fascist, yeah. It's anti-communist propaganda.
(Er, does someone want to tell her that one can be opposed to both fascism and communism?)
–The thing is that I wouldn't really classify the non-Western stuff like you're talking about as Fantasy. It's likely one of many other genres that are notionally very distinct from Fantasy. I would generally call Genre Fiction a Western invention, that happens to have spread to other parts of the world and is sometimes emulated directly in other parts of the world because that's how culture works in the modern world, you know?
Here's the thing with calling SF/F inescapable fascist. I think SF/F needs to burn to the fucking ground and be replaced with some better genres that pick up the pieces. Because like, there's some interesting ideas in SF/F. There's some good concepts. N.K. Jemisin, like you mentioned, is doing some cool stuff, but it'll all held back by the ball and chain that is SF/F. If SF/F were abandoned and left to die, I very much think that a lot of those writers could do even cooler stuff.
So I’d guess she isn’t a fan of the idea of fiction as chronicle, but rather fiction as an intentionally-semi-blank template to explore oneself and one’s experiences.