Writing for science fiction: Eating unfamiliar food in a familiar world

Hosted by

“The food is imaginary but it’s also familiar and real,” says writer Eli Lee, describing the process of creating fictitious meals in literature. Photo by Jane Lee.

Science fiction writer Eli Lee dips into her imagination to create fictional worlds and fantastical, quotidian meals of the future. In a piece for Vittles, Lee takes inspiration from writer Ursula Le Guin, whose work “Always Coming Home” anchors her fanciful cuisine to the hyperrigional dishes of her native Northern California upbringing. In her first novel “A Strange and Brilliant Light,” Lee delves into her past to create foods in her invented world. Referencing her beekeeper mother’s honey, Lee describes her imaginary dulac cake, allowing the reader to attach their own personal food history and emotions to her fiction.


From larger constructs in society like religion to everyday details such as clothing and what people eat, Eli Lee describes “world building” in her novel “A Strange and Brilliant Light.” Photo courtesy of Quercus Publishing.

Credits

Host:

Evan Kleiman