Emeliaâ€™s home is in a city where only children are allowed to draw graffiti on the crumbling walls. The old bricks and stones are covered in crude pictographs and stick figures, smoking chimney houses and bicycles with four wheels and two seats. Chalk is a penny a piece, any color to be had. A little old lady with gnarled fingers and crooked eyes sells the sticks out of cigar boxes on street corners, even in the rain.
They’d like to come up with a title for my column at AMC and asked me for suggestions. Other columns are things like, “Masters of SciFi” or “Web Stalker,” for horror. I’ve come up with Cinema Fantastic and Dream Factory, but that is the total of my ideas.
But you folks, you folks are brilliant. Do you have any ideas for a fantasy film column?
My new column is up at AMC and I’m talking about films that you might not think of when you think of the word Fantasy.Â Granted, I’m sure that some of these films will come as no surprise to the folk who hang out here regularly.Â For instance:
1. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
I know, you’re thinking that the production design is teeming with mechanisms of brass and wood — “Look at the Nautilus,” you protest. “Surely this is scifi.” Ah, but look closer. There are multiple supernatural elements in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen too. Take Stuart Townsend’s picture of Dorian Gray, which keeps him young and invulnerable. That’s magic. Or turn to Peta Wison’s Mina Harker, who survived her encounter with Dracula but is now a vampire — vampires and magic and paintings, oh my! What you’re looking at is a form of fantasy called Steampunk, which features Victorian or Edwardian fashions with intricate steam-driven engines. Interestingly, theÂ sub-genreÂ almost always comes with a supernatural element. Remember: Just because there’s technology doesn’t mean it’s not fantasy.
The Fantasy Novelist’s Exam is a very amusing, and fairly telling exam, that I’m sure was written by someone who had read one too many bad Fantasy Novel. I’m happy to say that Good Housekeeping doesn’t fail any of the questions. Well, maybe number 15, but not in the way they mean it.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]