Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fabulation

In fantasy any fabulation which significantly undermines the felt reality of the world it depicts will be responded to by most readers as aberrant. At the same time, fabulation foregrounds Story: not only does it makes readers aware that they are reading one, but – most fittingly in fantasy texts – it articulates the sense that the Recognitions central to the satisfactory resolution of many full-fantasy texts are in fact recognitions of the nature of the Story being told, whether the underlying tale is a Creation Myth or Beauty and the Beast or the Seven Samurai's Brilliant Adventure. Fabulation techniques foreground this fundamental sense that fantasy stories take place in a Story-shaped world, and that they may reach apogee at the point this becomes evident.

Full-blown fabulations are rarely perceived as occupying the centre ground of fantasy (or sf). And it comes as no surprise that fabulators who write fantasy are often the same people as fabulators who write sf. Fabulators of fantasy include Reinaldo Arenas, John Barth, Donald Barthelme, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jorge Luis Borges, Scott Bradfield, Richard Brautigan, Edward Bryant, Mikhail Bulgakov, Anthony Burgess, William Burroughs, Italo Calvino, Angela Carter, Jerome Charyn, Barbara Comyns, Robert Coover, Jim Crace, Tom de Haven, Thomas M Disch, E L Doctorow, Katherine Dunn (1945-    ), Umberto Eco, Carol Emshwiller, Steve Erickson, Karen Joy Fowler (1950-    ), Carlos Fuentes, MacDonald Harris, M John Harrison, William Hjortsberg, Russell Hoban, Rachel Ingalls, Franz Kafka, William Kotzwinkle, Michael Moorcock, Vladimir Nabokov, Flann O'Brien, John Cowper Powys, Christopher Priest, Thomas Pynchon, Peter Redgrove, Leon Rooke, Salman Rushdie, Josephine Saxton, Lucius Shepard, Clive Sinclair, Stefan Themerson, Rex Warner, William Wharton and Gene Wolfe. [JC]

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.