The Miseries of Mister Sparrows by Matthew A.J. Timmins

Picture a cold, damp hut, surrounded by mischievous crows, on the banks of a swollen river, against the backdrop of a smoky, nineteenth-century city awash in crime lifted straight out of a penny dreadful. Add this to the miserable squalor: that the resident of said hut, one Robin Sparrows, serves as office clerk to a predatory law firm whose motto, Lupi pastores erunt, …

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World Fantasy Convention 2015, Part II: My interview with Charles de Lint

Last week I talked about Guy Gavriel Kay reading from his upcoming historical fantasy Children of the Earth and Sky at the World Fantasy Convention 2015 at Saratoga Springs, NY. This week, I continue my account of the weekend's events and provide a paraphrase of my interview with Charles de Lint. First, allow me to talk …

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Archaeological Adventure Fiction II: Uncharted: Poe’s Fortune

Last week's post discussed the Indiana Jones series and the works of pulp fiction author A. Merritt, who may have partly influenced the movies. One modern (or postmodern) narrative continues the tradition of what I call archaeological adventure fiction: the video game series Uncharted. Hero Nathan Drake is a professional thief, who believes he is …

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Archaeological Adventure Fiction I: Indiana Jones and the Genre of Enlightenment

"Archaeology is the search for fact. Not truth. [...] So forget any ideas you’ve got about lost cities, exotic travel, and digging up the world. You do not follow maps to buried treasure and "X" never, ever, marks the spot. Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research. Reading. We cannot afford …

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Part II: A Multicultural Utopia: Historicizing New Fantasy in Charles de Lint’s Moonheart

The following is the second part of a presentation I gave for this year's MA colloquium. I have included the accompanying PowerPoint file as well.  Historicizing Moonheart Presentation A Multicultural Utopia: Historicizing New Fantasy in Charles de Lint's Moonheart [...] The narrative structure at work during Mal'eka's seige is part of a larger rhetorical structure …

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King of Egypt, King of Dreams by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Gwendolyn MacEwen's historical novel King of Egypt, King of Dreams was published in 1971 and as far as I know, it is out of print-except by online order from Insomniac Press. Nonetheless I am fascinated to review it, because it stands as a powerful testimony to the tragedy of those who own a unique, transcendent …

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Folklore and Graffiti: A (Potential) Study of Spatial Tactics and Urban Fantasy (Part II)

When we left off last week, I was trying to prove that graffiti interrupts the rational order of the city, as a spatial tactic, and therefore can be compared to urban fantasy, inasmuch as it too subverts conventional "consensus reality." I quoted Bramley Dapple in Charles de Lint's short story “Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair,”  who says, …

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Folklore and Graffiti: A (Potential) Study of Spatial Tactics and Urban Fantasy (Part I)

While conducting my research into urban fantasy, the subject of my SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Committee) grant proposal, I was stricken by a sudden inspiration. A few images and lines from scholarly texts united in my mind and I saw something bold in the connections. While the following essay is in no sense …

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MythCon 45 Day 4: Faith, Myths, and Archetypes

The first of the two legendary panels that happened on Sunday--just before my own presentation, which was the last before the banquet and awards ceremony--was entitled "Fantasy and Faith." Chip Crane moderated, and Carl Hostetter, Sorina Higgins, and Lynn Maudlin were discussing the Inklings. What is the place of faith in the fantasy genre? What …

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