Seedcorn 2: A Second First Beginning

Seedcorn is now posted.

Two of Four.

The art of mimicking another author’s voice, always a doubtful proposition if not done out of pure admiration, consists of three elements: first, copying the lyricism, vocabulary, and word-choice (a particularly entertaining challenge when mimicking Jack Vance, for example); second, copying the plot-rhythm, stylistic patterns, or structures favored by the author (a thrilling challenge when mimicking A.E. van Vogt whose rapidfire sense of pacing and plot-twisting is legendary); but finally and most of all copying the theme and worldview of the author, making the kind of point with the story he himself would have made, not expressing your own opinion.

Using someone else’s work as a vehicle to promote your own views is a type of spiritual and artistic theft I regard as horrible.

When an author is particularly delicate or indirect in explaining himself, as with Ursula K LeGuin, to mimic his worldview becomes a matter of sympathy, guesswork, or fellow feeling. Naturally one must have read most or all of an author’s word to follow in footsteps that leave but light imprints.

In this particular case of this chapter, the attempt in this section is to indulge in the type of non-linear story telling I saw in LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS, or A Man of the People, and it is an attempt to portray a philosophy sympathetically with which I do not myself sympathize.

I assume I need not explain why I was too shy to send this work to the legendary authoress when I was obscure, and I fear what little fame I gained in later years was mostly at the tongues of detractors.

A fellow fan of LeGuin’s Hainish Cycle may spot details or cameo mentions lost on other readers, as the baldness of the Chiffewarese, or the wretched ruination of Earth, or the use of Mind-Speech, or the mention of a Gethenian stove.