From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Category Archive for ‘Non-Fiction’ rss


Dollhouse Season 1, Episode 11: “Briar Rose”

The penultimate Dollhouse episode attempted to offer almost everything viewers have ever wanted out of this show while promising that, truly, everything else we ever wanted was coming up next week. What wonders await!

We finally get to see the much-talked-about Alpha and witness his legendary genius and cruelty. We finally get to see Paul locate and infiltrate the Dollhouse. And we finally get to see Echo do something we’ve been wanting to see her do since this all started: tell Paul to GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!

Okay, maybe I’m the only one gratified by this. But Paul’s creepy obsession with Caroline/Echo eroded away any sympathy or affection I had for him in the beginning. Early on, it seemed that Paul was very zealous about the Dollhouse itself and that finding the name and picture of one of the victims merely gave the quest a human face. Instead we were treated to wet dream sex fantasies and constant, boorish exclamations of how He Was Going To Save Her.

I had also thought that by giving him a relationship with Mellie (before it was revealed to be a big, crazy lie) he was going to realize that he didn’t need to fantasize about some pretty victim but instead focus on the sad (yet very attractive) woman who so desperately wanted his attention. But all of that was for naught. And when Paul states before going in that he is specifically NOT going to save Mellie and then, when inside, again specifically refuses to save her in favor of Caroline, I felt at that moment that I wanted to shoot him with a very large gun, but not before stabbing him in the eye.

Is there anyone in this show who I can feel good about?

The show’s answer seems to be: no.


Con Report: PenguiCon (Romulus, MI) Friday (Dave)

As always on Friday, the highlight was the Opening Ceremonies. Con chair Matt Arnold ran the show, overcoming an early interruption from the Acme Delivery Yak, as well as the unexpected arrival of Dr. Horrible, who explained that he’s the one that has been kidnapping Wil Wheaton all these years.


Con Report: OutlantaCon (Atlanta, GA)

Much mocking of the more colorful and painfully unsuccessful prose writers have employed in erotic fiction was enjoyed with some true gems recorded on the Whiteboard of Fail. Some of my favorites: “turgid bayonet,” “cave of love,” “winking rosebud,” and “hooded inquisitor.”


Con Report: PenguiCon (Romulus, MI) Friday (Alethea)

We sent our brave reporter, the fabulous Alethea Kontis, forth to explore PenguiCon 7.0, being held this weekend in Romulus, Michigan. Read and find out what she discovered and who she saw while doing so.


An Appreciation of J.G. Ballard

J. G. Ballard died last week, April 19, 2009. His distinctive writing led the Collins English Dictionary to define Ballardian as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.”


More Ways To Waste Time: Fantasy Magazine on Twitter

Fantasy Magazine launched three Twitter streams: @fantasymagazine, @fantasycon, and @fantasytrivia this week. Check us out to find out about convention coverage as well as tomorrow’s trivia contest!


Come From A Nameless Island: Samantha Henderson

I enter the chamber of the Thing Without a Face; I am given a small plain wood box, the size of a Bible; I wince away from the sight of the preternaturally long fingers; I nod in acknowledgment and make my way back — right, two passages over, left, right. Perhaps all who go there have a different path to take, perhaps it makes no difference. I’ve never dared to ask.


Taboos and Tropes: Part II “Rhetoric and Writing about Rape”

As discussed in “T&T: Part I,” taboo tropes are risky endeavors for any story; however, if a story does necessitate one it must address, with added attention, balance and thematic sincerity. Rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, is the key to addressing these elements. In Part II, we’ll look at how rhetoric can improve readers’ reactions to the taboo trope, rape, and how research can improve the accuracy of the issue. Be aware that to write about such a graphic thing, I’m asking you to experience some graphic details and language first.

Rape Scenes in Literature

Taboo tropes–child abuse, rape, racism, etc.–have secondary associations and should be used carefully, if at all. Such secondary associations can often include readers’ personal experiences, and strong, sometimes unconscious, responses from readers can follow the involved characters throughout the length of the story.

If the story requires a taboo trope, these rhetorical tools may help shape the connection between a reader and the trope.


Steampunk Fashion Show

We know that Fantasy readers dig steampunk stuff. Not just the fiction and the gadgets, oh no. We’ve seen you at conventions in your corsets and clockwork jewelry and monocles. (We noticed because a few of us were wearing them, too.) So let’s inaugurate the Cafe Lounge with a Steampunk Fashion Show!

Participants: Post a picture of yourself in your steampunk finery in the comments. You can either embed the image (make it no wider than 400px, please) or paste a link. Only one entry per commenter is allowed, so choose your best. You may post multiple links to the same outfit, though.

Gawkers: Vote for your favorite entries (see the little stars in each comment? Yeah, use those). Which is the most creative, the most complex, the most punk?

The outfit with the most votes by 12PM EST Sunday, May 3, wins! There may be a special prize, who knows?


“I Want More Life, Smegger” – A Red Dwarf: Back to Earth Review

Let’s face it, Blade Runner is passé. Countless films have borrowed its neon-lit, gritty metropolis, its rain-soaked landscapes. But where others have aped, Red Dwarf: Back to Earth patently steals (and does so with a wink and a smile). Entire scenes are ripped verbatim from the Ridley Scott film. It’s pastiche, of course, but of the highest homage. In one cameo, writer and Red Dwarf co-creator Doug Naylor gushes to the cast, “Blade Runner is the film which inspired both your creation and your death.” And like Roy Batty, contemplating his own untimely demise, the characters of Red Dwarf, a decade after we’ve last seen them, come to contemplate their own mortality in ways both meta-fictional and literal.

Nine years have passed since we last saw Dave Lister (Craig Charles), the slovenly, curry-loving sole survivor of the human race, as he travels through deep space inside the mammoth mining ship, Red Dwarf. The usual suspects are present: the priggish Arnold J. Rimmer (Chris Barrie), hologram of Lister’s dead bunk mate with a Napoleonic complex; Cat (Danny John-Jules), the vanity-obsessed descendant of a kitten Lister smuggled on board the ship three million years prior; and Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), the box-headed mechanoid who finds nothing more pleasurable than ironing socks.

Notably missing in this new series is Holly, the ship’s daft computer, who has been switched offline because Lister apparently left a bath running in the officer’s quarters for nine years, flooding her mainframe. (I suspect that Hattie Hayridge and Norman Lovett, actors who both played Holly, were unavailable for filming.) Though noticeably older and possibly botoxed, the cast looks not too shabby after a decade hiatus.