No puppets?!?

Oh my. I just realized that, in Shades of Milk and Honey, I’ve created a world where it’s quite likely that shadow puppetry would never have arisen. In fact, I think that puppetry and mask work may only have come up as a form of sham glamour.

This is very strange for me.

I’m thinking that if it did arise it would be like the interplay of Kabuki and Bunraku, or even as the puppet operas did. A way to poor-man’s way to mimic what the “real” artists did, and then gradually become an art form of it’s own. Okay. Yes, I can see that happening.


Mind you, this has almost zero bearing on the story. But still. A world without puppets? Ugh. I shudder.

For those of you who are not reading along as I post chapters, I’ve posited that magic works, but it’s confined to glamour, so a glamourist can make illusions but it takes a physical toll in the form of energy, just like running up a hill or biking in the wind. The more complicated the illusion, the more energy. It’s relegated to a women’s art, along with painting, music and embroidery and they are frequently fainting from over-exerting themselves.

In fact, the vocabulary they use to discuss it is taken from dressmaking. If a piece of glamour is “tied off” then it can continue without costing the creator energy, but it is tied in place. So a person can use folds of glamour to create an image of a character but have to constantly work the folds if they want the character to move around. That would be its own form of puppetry and maybe someone would have created a physical puppet in order to work multiple characters at once, without fainting.

My waaaay deep idea is that it developed as a protective technique and then as people evolved it slowly had less importance until it became strictly a decorative art.

Maybe I should be writing the novel now instead of rambling about the imaginary relationship between puppets and magic in my Regency England.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon!

Comments are closed.