From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Blog For A Brass Button

Last week’s Blog For A Bete-Noire was surprisingly successful, proving that people love to discuss what they hate.

Things people hated included chosen ones, dragons, elves, fur and fangs urban fantasy, humans with wings, poetry, princesses, prophetic dreams, stereotypical characters, pure evil, talking animals, and thingamagigs.

In the end, we almost went with the talking animals:

But the stories with the kitty-cat companion, the quizzical intrepid ferret, the wizened owl. Jeez! It’s like a frakkin’ tootsie pop comercial! “Mr. Turtle, how many swings of my vorpal sword will it take to slay the dragon?”

“I dunno, ask Mr. Owl.”

“One, two-hoo! Three!”

Next thing you know, Nathan Lane is a voicing cartoon squirrel and Elton John is pouring his heart into a moving ballad about how hard it is to be an artichoke.

But in the end, Megan Arkenburg mentioned orbs:

Orbs. Dear God please, no orbs. No big glass orbs that channel magic. No little glass orbs that let evil wizards communicate with yet-more-evil wizards. No little gelatinous orbs controlled by extraocular muscles that glow violet when exposed to the possessor’s love interest (and yes, I am talking about eyeballs–er, eye-orbs).

In fact, can we just outlaw the word orb? How horrible must it be to go through life in fantasy-land, where you are unable to perceive anything faintly spherical without thinking ‘Orb!’? How do they shell peas? How do they eat plums? How do they watch the Harlem Globetrotters—er, Orb-trotters? Where will the madness end?

Mail us your address to be Paypaled your winnings, Megan. We presume you won’t use it to buy an orb or thingamagig.

This week, we’re opening that up halfway and saying, “What do you hate — as well as love — about steampunk?” What are the books that should or shouldn’t be included in the genre, and what is it with all the clockwork gears, after all? Do we need steampunk laptops? Conferences? Fashion shows? Who’s doing it right and most importantly, who’s doing it wrong?

What do you think of remakes of classics in steampunk – such as this steampunk Star Trek episode?

I asked for a steampunk observation on our Twitter stream and got the following:

tzinski@fantasymagazine Steampunk Observation: all steampunk characters must have amazingly exfoliated skin. And clear sinuses. Just saying. 🙂

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