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Now I've got it

Can't do it for the upcoming class, but for a class in fantasy fiction what could be done is to print out these titles and others similar on separate cards,,and have each student pick two at random, and combine the central elements of each.  North Korea under the Kims combined with voodoo and zombies.  Or Indian Ocean dhows with the Art of Memory.  Isn't that the way we real fantasy wrtiers concoct our books?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
Over at Making Light
the Nielsen Haydens and any number of F/SF writers have a running gag about dinosaur sodomy. No doubt it will appear in a book or story as a throwaway. Or maybe as a central thematic element, you never can tell with these things.
- Doug Merrill
Jan. 15th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Over at Making Light
I believe that "dinosaur sodomy" is actually a concept of Michael Swanwick's.
Jan. 11th, 2007 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yes but
There should be two separate packs to pick a card from, one from a Weird Antholopogy deck, the other from a deck of Jackass Sciences.
Jan. 12th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC)
Not being a big reader of Fantasy myself (I'm a pure-bred SF fan), I was wondering if you or your readers might be able to suggest some Fantasy (or even SF) books that try to some extent to explain magic, or make a logical rationalisation for it. I haven't read Little, Big (yet) so don't know what your approach to it is - is magic just something to be taken for granted as existing in the world of fantasy?
Jan. 12th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Magic
What is delightful in Little, Big (but here maybe crowleycrow will contradict me and prove me deeply wrong) is how the main character, Smoky, tries to believe in magic but really can't and how his adopted family, the Drinkwater, find it odd that people will call faeries "magic" or even "faeries."

It's something I love in Little, Big -- I think that not once in the book is the word faery written.

Faeries in everyday life under everyday guise. One of the best scene is, of course, how Sylvie disappears by entering into this golden-lit room. (Each time I read this now I think this is one of the offices of the World Trade Center mere seconds before the planed crashed into it. Well, this thought drove me to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close but I was a little disappointed, I mist confess.)
Jan. 12th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Magic
One of the best scene is, of course, how Sylvie disappears by entering into this golden-lit room.

Maybe I was not clear here: she runs errands for many persons or companies and she's asked by the Winged Messengers to deliver a package to a law firm that is really run by faeries.

(I wrote as if everybody had read the book...)
Jan. 15th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC)
I sometimes feel it's how Ted Chiang plots, but I think that's only actually a valid comment about "Seventy-Two Letters" (golems and information theory!). Some of H'ard Waldrop has that feel.

And I think that you could get ten volumes of Greenberg-factory "alternate history" anthologies by taking a deck of dead celebrities and a deck of occupations and shuffling them together. Jim Morrison, trenchdigger! Mohandas Ghandi, private eye! Oh, the possibilities are endless, alas.

Jan. 17th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
Only Jack Flanders knows the way Meatball Fulton does it.
Jan. 31st, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
The creation of Fantasy
Dear John Crowley,

In the spirit of the ongoing discussion of Fantasy genre creation and the anniversary of the publication of "Little,Big" I'd like to offer this account of an apparent historical event.

In the second decade of the 17th C. Jacobean English society was highly polarised between supporters of the pacifistic new Scottish Stuart monarchy and adherents of the old forceful Elizabethan ethos. There was a 'retreat from Court' by several noble families to their country estates where political discussion was regarded with great suspicion by the Stuart surveillance state. Consequently political critique had to be disguised. The Jacobean theatre provides many examples. Another media was the new form of a musical poetic masque (later brought under state supervision & control in the reign of Charles I as Court propaganda).

In the summer of a year in the 1610-20 decade (apologies, I've mislaid the source material) a country house masque was held in the Home Counties, attended by several scions of the "Elizabethan" political faction. The subject of the masque was quite explicit; the decline of Albion bringing remonstrance from the old pagan deities. The staging production of this performance was very expensive, in itself a political statement.

The actual performance was dramatic in unforeseen ways. Some unnatural phenomena alarmed the participants, creating a panic that scattered the noble "opposition" families across southern England. Rumours flew about spectral visions, the masque having 'really' functioned as a conduit of protest from the Old Gods. Whether Stuart agents were responsible or not, within a few years the masque became coopted as state propaganda and its magickal-political aspects disappeared.

Now, the resemblances to the plot of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" are too obvious to mention (though I just have). The point I am making is that fantasy elements can be found in the footnote interstices of historical record.

As an aside, I feel that this obscure incident could and should be regarded as a theme for a play or novel along the lines of "The Crucible". Its issues of state repression and surveillance, internal psychological exile in one's own country, an atavistic yearning for a lost leader or purpose, and its watershed significance as emblematic of the collapse of the old Renaissance holistic world view before the rise of the Baconian scientific state make this Jacobean masque extremely relevant for our experience.

Keith Milton,
Victoria, B.C,

Jan. 31st, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
Re: The creation of Fantasy
How wonderful. It's not the only historical crux that has come to my attention to late to go into the Aegypt story, but it's the best. "A Vestal throned in the West..."

I was once invited by a book packager to join forces with an illustrator (Elizabeth Malcinski) to do a big illustrated version of MSND with an introductory essay and connective material. I was going to do it about the country wedding which it may have been written to celebrate; the poitn would have been that the country around was seeing the last of the very spirits (not Greek at all of course) who inform the play and bless the house and the marriage in pagan benison. All to become evil spirits under James before disappearing altogether.

Thanks so much for this. It would make a great film.
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