I read a piece by Jeff Vandermeer in the new Emerald City that summed up some ideas floating around my head for a while, particularly in relation to Stealing Light. Jeff says:

Seen through the mirror of a fantasy setting that allows the real world to be reflected in it, a writer can perhaps more easily be relevant — in the short term — without running the risk of becoming dated in the long term ... (in my new novel) I wrote several war sequences during the most horrifying phases of the Iraq War and the conflict in Afghanistan. Are those scenes making a comment on U.S. involvement in the Middle East? No ... the current war becomes a catalyst for a relevant mood, for a way in to writing about a fictional war — an indirect influence.

Which sort of rang a chord with me, since one of the strands in the new book is based around a series of military atrocities, and the way to make that work is to learn lessons from the real world and use them in your fiction, regardless of how fantastic it actually is; since, after all, fantasy and science fiction and a lot of other forms as well, even though they aren't actually possible, sort of drive the truth of a situation home by skipping past your preformed notions of the real and presenting you with the same thing in a fictional situation and making you feel as if you're encountering a particular kind of situation for the very first time.

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