ADS-L Digest - 10 Oct 2002 to 11 Oct 2002 (#2002-259)

Dan Goodman dsgood at VISI.COM
Sat Oct 12 06:33:19 UTC 2002

> Date:    Fri, 11 Oct 2002 14:50:47 -0400
> From:    Mark A Mandel <mam at THEWORLD.COM>
> Subject: Featherdust (was Re: Doctrinaire)
> On Fri, 11 Oct 2002, Mike Salovesh wrote:
> #Mark A Mandel wrote:
> #> On Thu, 10 Oct 2002, Mike Salovesh wrote:
> #>
> #> #Here Francis featherdusts the word, and a couple of others.
> #>
> #> "Featherdusts"?
> #Oops. Sorry: it's an old theater (no, theatre) critic's word.
> #Reference is to mythical monologue that opens Act 1 Scene 1. Woman in
> #maid's uniform enters, carrying featherduster. Proceeds to dust
> #furniture.
> #
> #MAID: I wonder whether the Missus will get back in time to see Mr.
> #Junior before he leaves. I know she must be with that sneaky Horace
> #Smith, even though she said she was going to the Garden Club. I think
> #the Mister must be getting suspicious, because he's starting to bite
> #his mustache . . .
> #
> #In other words, a scene setting monologue or dialogue that introduces
> #"facts not (yet) in evidence" so the audience knows what they have to
> #in order to understand the action. Featherdusting in this sense is
> #also vital in establishing the scene in science fiction; IIRC, the
> #term was current among fen and in fanzines way back when.

The term most used in the science fiction community currently for
this is "As you know, Bob".  The speaker is more likely to be
somebody who can't be ordered to shut up than a servant.

Example:  In Bob Shaw's _The Ragged Astronauts_, the resident bore
explains in great detail how fortunate it is that pi exactly equals

As you know, Mark, the term "science fiction community" generally
includes:  organized fandom (or fandoms); writers published
professionally, and professional editors; semi-professionals; etc.

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