World Fantasy Convention 2015, Part III: Challenging the Canon

Last week I wrote about my interview with Charles de Lint at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs. Today, I wrap up my discussion of the conference with some comments on the fantasy canon and the awards ceremony, which have of late been the subject of some controversy. My MA thesis is on fantasy …

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Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

The following is an excerpt from the presentation I made earlier this week for my seminar on (Post)Colonial Geographies with Professor Sandeep Banerjee at McGill University. The young protagonist of Salman Rushdie's children's fantasy novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories asks his father Rashid Khalifa, a great storyteller better known as the Shah of …

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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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Ember Nights in Guy Gavriel Kay and John Crowley

In Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana and John Crowley's Love and Sleep,part of his Aegypt sequence, characters born with cauls are summoned in the middle of the night to walk among the dead. Kay calls these individuals Night Walkers. Their story stretches back to real-world superstitions about children born with a membrane around their heads. This …

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Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever: Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

Beware! Leper unclean! shout the crowds. Don't touch me! responds Thomas Covenant, the antihero of Stephen R. Donaldson's memorable epic fantasy trilogy. In this exchange, which Convenant repeats in his mind like a mantra for his sanity, Donaldson summarizes the conflict of his protagonist. Despite being unlikeable, Covenant tends to garner your empathy. He's a …

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