22 October 2010

New rule!

Threat Quality Press | Braak | Verisimilitude AGAIN

I know that everyone SAYS truth is stranger than fiction, but come on: that’s plainly bullshit. Think for, a moment, about the strangest true thing you’ve ever heard.

Now: add space vampires.

Voila. Fiction is stranger than truth. Every time! Because: no matter how strange the truth is, you can always add space vampires and make it stranger.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but never as strange as lies.”

— John Hodgman


  1. That's funny! You can apply the same logic to show that truth is stranger than fiction: think of the strangest true thing you've heard; now, add space vampires; now, finally, add the assumption that this actually happened. Presto! The idea that space vampires actually exist is truly strange!

    Perhaps the reason fiction is often stranger than truth is that most creators of fiction attempt to be plausible; that is, they want their stories to be believable. Reality, on the other hand, doesn't seem to share that goal. Moreover, human imagination is constrained. Which is stranger: the idea that the Earth is flat like a table (as it appears to the naked eye) or the idea that the Earth is more like a spinning ball?

  2. I think it's partially that fiction has to be plausible, but also that fiction has to be limited.

    I listened to an interview with William Gibson yesterday on Sound of Young America, and he made the point that if 30 years ago he had pitched a book to his publisher about global warming they would have bought it, and if he pitched a book about AIDS they would have bought it, but they wouldn't want a book about global warming, AIDS, the internet, terrorism, stem cells, etc.