Friday, August 06, 2010

Gigantism's appeal: Sensawunda

Continuing this series of posts on why I find myself drawn to story settings that are abnormally large--giant factories, giant castles, giant trees, giant cities, anything beyond comprehension. This is, I think, the big reason I'm drawn to this, and it's the fantasy counterpart to science fiction's sensawunda. Actually, reading that wikipedia article, perhaps it's more akin to the Gothic numinous, but I didn't think it's paired with fear in this case, as that article implies for the numinous. It's not Lovecraft's incomprehensible deities, but there's still a sense of something beyond understanding. There is a certain wrong-ness to it, which is something I'm intending to look into more in my next post in this series, but there's a sense of wonder too, a sense of dawning comprehension of the sheer size of...things. It's the sense of standing at the foot of a snow-capped mountain, at the edge of the Grand Canyon, on the ocean shore on a clear day. A sense of awe, I guess...except with that undercurrent of wrong-ness, which at the very least undermines the mystical leanings of this sense of wonder/awe/numinous. I'll say more about that next time.

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