On the shoulders of giants and scary, pregnant clowns…

I participated on my second panel today, this one discussing the influences of the greats in the field. Actually, a lot of names came up that we don’t automatically think of when we discuss fantasy and sci fi. The panel included Michael Swanwick, John Anealio, Myke Cole, TJ Perkins, and yours truly. In addition to Tolkien and Kipling (yes, I’m mentioning them both again), I put in a plug for Barbara Tuchmann. No, she wasn’t a fantasist, but she was an exceptional writer and had the ability to sketch out a character (in her case, an actual person in history) in just a couple of sentences. I love her style.

We spent a little time debating the two central schools in fantasy of either carrying in Tolkien’s tradition or rebelling against it. I count myself among the former, while names like China Mieville and George RR Martin were held up as examples of writers rejecting Tolkien’s heritage. We all agreed there was no right answer to this. I’m a firm believer in variety. Some days I want to challenge myself with a daunting tome on ancient Greece and the next I’ll get lost in the antics of Sherman’s Lagoon http://www.slagoon.com/ (a comic strip for those not familiar with it).

Oh, so about the scary, pregnant clown. I saw one. She had painted her face white with a large, red mouth filled with jagged teeth. Unsettling to say the least. I suspect/hope this is from some graphic novel or computer game, but perhaps it’s just her thing. There are a lot of costumes on display here, some of them quite disturbing in the amount of blood and gore they depict. Then there are others that are truly magnificent. I’m walking around as button-down shirt guy feeling a bit like Brad Majors in Rocky Horror 🙂

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