Size Difference

Does size difference of the kind seen in Gulliver's Travels and Mistress Masham's Repose have literary value? Or is it a gimmick only fetishists care about?

That is, I'm legitimately curious if IQfy thinks fiction involving these extreme size differences can communicate anything of value that couldn't be done better by some other device. I personally lean towards yes because tiny humans can at least be used to illustrate human treatment of animals/pets in a way that's easier to empathise with than giving narrative or literal voices to animal characters. Gulliver's Travels and Mistress Masham's Repose don't use size difference to explore that topic, but they do both use it to communicate the outsized influence of empires/powerful states in a way that is very striking, one that I find hard to imagine done better by another device. I don't know.

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  1. 1 month ago

    That short list I brought up in IQfy:

    gulliver's travels -jonathan swift
    small world -tabitha king
    Oms en série (fantastic planet) -staphan wul
    of men and monsters -william tenn
    men like rats -robert chilson
    fantastic voyage novelization and sequels
    asimov short story?
    surface tension by james blish (short story)
    the shadow of space by phillip jose farmer (short story)
    the shrinking man -richard matheson
    tarzan and the ant men -burroughs
    the indian in the cupboard series
    the borrowers series
    the littles series
    gnomes, secrets of the gnomes -Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet.
    land of the giants novels
    giants art book -david larkin and sarah teale
    the food of the gods - h g wells
    dirty version of jack and the beanstalk (NSFW)(to look up)
    mother come home (short story)(minigiants)
    Clifford The Big red Dog books? (that kidslop you mentioned)

    Of those, Small World is practically an outright size fetish novel.
    The art books are the odd ones out here but didn't know how else to categorize them, and they still have plenty of text.

    As to the question, there's frequently things left out in adaptations to other media, often of necessity, and things like emotional reactions are often more elaborated on in written form than in the immediacy of the visual. (uh-oh, it just occurred to me I hadn't thought about audio media)

    Also just found this:
    Might be some duplication there. Was looking for info on picrel. There's a lot of these pulp covers out there with no idea if they actually relate correctly to the stories inside.

  2. 1 month ago

    Bottle Baby seems to match up but not so sure about this one.

  3. 1 month ago

    >Mother Come Home
    Well that was stupid. Forgot to list the author. James Tiptree Jr.
    Fantastic Voyage obviously is Asimov.

  4. 1 month ago

    >Asimov short story?
    Found it!
    "Too Bad", Issac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, mid-december 1989. Also led me to this, in which it's collected:

  5. 1 month ago

    Why wouldn't it have literary value? Beyond the symbolic uses we often see giants are a part of our culture playing an important role in mythology and folklore, and also tugs at something deep from childhood back when most everyone was considerably bigger than us.

    In The Distance uses this well and we can not even say if the size difference is purely figurative. There is some other really great use of this that I am forgetting at the moment.

    • 1 month ago

      >Why wouldn't it have literary value?
      As said in the OP, any story told with giants could potentially be rewritten to do without and still maintain the themes/message/etc. Giants are fictional creatures, so they can only be used as a metaphor for some other, real things - which begs the question why go through a metaphor at all? And why that metaphor specifically when there are others closer to reality? You make a good point on the cultural aspect, though.

      I suppose a lot of my concern rests in the contradiction of wanting to write about giants but also wanting to write something worth reading. It seems like writing about giants is fundamentally shallow, so the giants need to operate as a metaphor, but that requires me to justify why the giants should be the device for the metaphor instead of something else. Even if the giants aren't metaphors, but simply characters in a story about something else, the question of why they should be there remains. And to that, it feels like answers are hard to come by aside from "personal preference", which is like returning to square one: writing about giants for their own sake.

      • 1 month ago

        >any story told with giants could potentially be rewritten to do without and still maintain the themes/message/etc
        Any story without giants could potentially be rewritten with giants and still maintain the themes/messages/etc. It is a pointless statement, we can say that about any aspect of literature. Perhaps a good exercise for you is to try rewriting them without giants, see first hand how that affects things.

        • 1 month ago

          >It is a pointless statement
          >Perhaps a good exercise for you is to try rewriting them without giants, see first hand how that affects things.
          This is a good idea, thanks. Taking the two stories from OP for argument's sake:

          Gulliver's adventure in Lilliput could've been written along the lines of Cortez in the Americas; satirising the politics of England, France, and religion by casting them as backwards indigenous. The lack of advancement, seafaring, etc. could even be taken as a reinforcement to the theme that the things he satirises holds back society. The only negative aspect of this rewriting I can see is that it would make the book more realistic, which would lessen the effect of its "traveller's tales" parody, and also stand out less I suppose. I can't deny that Gulliver being tied up on the beach is iconic.

          For the adventures in Brobdingnag, why not portray the Brobdingnagians as biblical humans? The ones who lived hundreds of years, stood >6 feet tall, etc. The imagery of Europeans being vermin-like in act and mindset would be translated to the imagery of Europeans having fallen from biblical grace. The only negative I can find here is that it might be too direct, but then, it's hard to see how Gulliver's conversations with the Brobdingnagian royalty hadn't already crossed any lines there were to cross.

          As for Masham's Repose, that one is definitely a children's story, so in that sense, metaphor and fanciful imagery is valuable for its own sake. That's not particularly satisfying as an answer, however.

          I don't know. Am I being too autistic? I'd like to be wrong about this. I'll have to try an actual rewrite later.

          • 1 month ago

            The more autistic you are in this case the more you will learn, try and rewrite it without altering any meaning down to the nuances, This is a fairly standard lit major writing exercise and a good one for either reader or writer.

      • 1 month ago

        My 2 cents, sometimes an enormous cigar is just an enormous cigar.

  6. 1 month ago

    Cover illo for "Up From The Depths" by H.L. Gold.
    Also the inspiration for the IQfy jimmy Olsen turtle boy story.

  7. 4 weeks ago

    I find my thoughts returning to this one for some reason.

    • 4 weeks ago

      While it's basically antique kidslop, a lot of classic fairy tales have stuff that's probably never been fully exploited in any adaptation. There's a whole corpus to the Jack The Giant Killer story that's never been used. The Brothers Grimm collect a lot and Lang's Fairy Books seem to have every other story involving giants or little folk, drawing from Grimm's and other sources.

      I think 1001 Arabian Nights has a few giants, as well as the odd huge genie or efrit.

      >only collects 3 stories
      >forward proceeds to mention several others
      Why TF didn't they just do a Collected Works Of?

      • 4 weeks ago

        >There's a whole corpus to the Jack The Giant Killer story that's never been used.
        Oh wow

        • 4 weeks ago

          I say that but it's more like one story but he kills like a half dozen different giants over the course of several adventures within it. It kind of gets conflated with Jack And The Beanstalk and The Brave Little Tailor as well.

  8. 4 weeks ago

    Here me out IQfy.
    >a book about a giant woman who is sexy
    >she goes around picking up tiny men and making them her toys and pets

    • 4 weeks ago

      You mean like Giantess Globalist Sperm War?

      • 4 weeks ago

        Kinda. I never read it but more like this.
        >post apocalyptic society
        >think fallout feudal world
        >giantess roam the wastes creating cults
        >gather men/women to worship them
        >the giantess feeds off the worship energy and the tinys literally
        >they war with each other endlessly enslaving the tiny humans
        I have a few ideas on what type of stories to create with that world. I have this comedic fantasy where I write a /d/ smut novel and send it to publisher to see what would happen.

        • 4 weeks ago

          That is pretty much Giantess Globalist Sperm War.

    • 4 weeks ago

      Yes please

  9. 4 weeks ago

    I'm using size difference to explain relativity. That different sized beings behave certain ways because they precieve time differently. It also creates a language barrier because differently sized beings would talk at different speeds and volumes.

    • 4 weeks ago

      Dis you?

      • 4 weeks ago


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