November 12th, 2015

marcus 2013

What Genre is this passage? Revisited...

OK, this was a very simple exercise in perception. The passage is from the juvenile/YA SF novel Catseye by Andre Norton (1961), and I'm sure seemed completely innocuous in its day. I re-read it recently and realised that age and too much fanfic has really spoilt me for this sort of thing, since the slash goggles seem to switch on automatically now...

The edited passage is here:

About all I omitted was names of the characters, the first sentence and a bit of the first paragraph (which are indicative of the SF setting) and an honorific used by the viewpoint character which is used throughout the novel and again was probably entirely innocent in intention:
There was no foam plast filling its box shape. Inside dried grasses and leaves gave under him, then remoulded about his body, and the fine scent of them filled his nostrils as he fell asleep easily. He did not dream at all.

When he awoke, the door of the big room stood ajar and from that direction he heard the call of birds. Still rubbing sleep from his eyes, Troy rolled out of the bunk. The fire on the hearth was out and there was no one else in the room. But the clean smell of a new day in the Wild drew him out on the ledge, to stand looking down into the valley of the lake.

Something rose and fell with a regular stroke not far from the shore, and he realized he was watching a swimmer. A series of steps cut in the rock led down from the ledge, and Troy followed them. Then a loose sleeping robe draped over a bush beckoned him on and he shed his own in turn, testing the temperature of the water with his toes, plunging into it in a clumsy dive before he could change his mind because of that chill greeting.

Troy floundered along the shore, being no expert as was that other now heading, with clean arm sweeps and effortless kicks, back from the centre. His threshing disturbed mats of floating blossoms shed by trees bordering a rill that fed the lake at this point, and the bruised petals patterned his wet skin as he found sandy footing and stood up, shivering.

'Storm cold, Gentle Homo,' he commented as Rerne waded in.

The other stopped to wring water from his braided hair knot and then, surveying Troy's dappled body, he laughed.

'A new refinement -- flower baths?'

Amazing what time and context can do...