Abyss & Apex: March/April 2003: Editorial

Food for Thought
by Leah Bobet

So…what is it with SF writers and food?

Not the staring-at-a-blank-page, up-against-a-motivational-wall, midnight-and-no-wordcount-yet munchies. Food as a metaphor, as a commentary, as a symbol for those things we can’t quite define. It’s not a new idea; Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin crystallized it shortly after the French Revolution, with the immortal statement: “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”

In a field where metaphors, rallying cries, and movements can last a week or a century, the food image has remarkable staying power. It’s a rather apt one as they go: fiction is crafted with the kind of attention to detail which makes a master chef, relies just as heavily on the balance of ingredients and presentation, has its own respected critics and gourmands, and is still ultimately a matter of taste for the consumer. It is divided by culture, denoted by flavour, designated by format, and still a forum where one can put their signature touch on a particular dish.

When one views it that way, it’s no wonder that writers are attracted to the idea of food, and especially speculative writers, whose field has long been devoted to puzzling out the intricacies of the human condition. Both cookery and writing are crafts, combinations of skill with a necessary creativity, and both can speak literal and figurative volumes about the creator and consumer both. We are what we eat. We are what we read.

This, our second issue, focuses on that theme of food. Not surprisingly, all three stories also posit questions about our own depths: the light, the dark, and the inexplicable. Spread your napkin on your lap, work through the utensils from the outside in, and remember to tip your waiter well; there’s quite a menu for you this month, and the juxtapositions only make the flavours last longer.

Bon appetit.

Leah Bobet is a first-year student at the University of Toronto with dreams of becoming a starving artist. Her work ranges from urban fantasy all the way to mainstream literature, and has appeared in various publications, including On Spec, Star*Line, and Ideomancer. Her boyfriend is a chef, and heartily approves of food stories. 





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