Concerning Height and Depth

Mutant foxes are shallow.

Or so you’ve likely heard. It’s not a flattering generalization, and I wish people would stop spreading it around. But like most stereotypical notions, it has some basis in fact.

As neofoxes hop about the cultural landscape, across all areas of speculation, creativity, and study, they cannot aspire to plumb the depths of human understanding as did the paleofoxes of lore. “Go an inch wide and a mile deep” is more than just a slogan; it is nearly a physical law in this age of hyperinformation. And the hedgehog dutifully obeys this law.

But the very law that states that it is no longer possible to go both wide and deep says nothing about height, as I proposed in my paper “Out of the Depths and Into the Heights,” which I presented at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida, in 1997. The depths are charted territories, while the heights open out into “a universe exploding with literally infinite possibilities.” Hedgehogs have trouble getting to the heights, but foxes are right at home there. Continue reading