February 06, 2003
Brilliant Writing

No, I'm not talking about my own. *laughs*

I am reading Orson Scott Card's Enchantment and ran across one of those moments of brilliance that just make you sit back and say ah... yeah... that's how it should be done.

It's a small enough piece, and as far as I can tell, not a HUGE impact on the story (I'm only just past this moment) that I think I can tell it here without it becoming a spoiler.

The story is a Sleeping Beauty tale, and involves Baba Yaga, who has come forward into modern times from the ninth century. Baba Yaga has already discovered planes while chasing the heroes of the story. And as the heroes intend to return to Russia, Baba Yaga is contemplating taking a 747 in order to stay with them and catch them.

She considers the plane -- the huge flying metal house. And she thinks to herself that perhaps she will keep it, and take it back to her own time. And then she says to herself, how afraid would the kings be if she were to visit them in a huge metal house that moved on chicken legs.

And I stopped as I read that, thinking vividly of the myths of Baba Yaga's hut, which walked on chicken legs. And then I visualized a 747 with those spindly little legs leading down to the tiny wheels on which it lands.

And I thought yeah... yeah... that so works. And yet, he didn't have to harp on it. Didn't have to go into it and say "this is how the myth begins". It was a passing thought in Baba Yaga's mind and then off she went to go do her next thing. It was subtle, yet strong enough to make an impact and make me think.

Yeah, that's how it should be done.

Posted by Deb Atwood at February 06, 2003 09:18 AM | TrackBack
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