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A. Heathen

The Unwritten

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Stay tuned for the next installment of "Oedipus in Hell - A Freudian reading of the works of Mike Carey".

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To be honest, I was starting to lose interest in Lucifer a bit by the time that was becoming overt.

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To be honest, I was starting to lose interest in Lucifer a bit by the time that was becoming overt.

Well, nobody's perfect. :hattip:

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I was recently looking for Harry Potter books, seeing as I've never read them and I've only seen the movies. I found that the cover illustrator for "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" is THOMAS TAYLOR!

 

Did anyone else know this? Did this have something to do with Mike Carey using Tom Taylor as the name of a Harry Potter-like character?

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To be honest, I have no idea who did the illustrations, but it'd be very cute indeed if that was where Carey got the name from. Is his forum still up? It might be worth asking on there if so.

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I was recently looking for Harry Potter books, seeing as I've never read them and I've only seen the movies. I found that the cover illustrator for "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" is THOMAS TAYLOR!

 

Did anyone else know this? Did this have something to do with Mike Carey using Tom Taylor as the name of a Harry Potter-like character?

Hahaha! Great stuff. Maybe Ade can confirm or otherwise?

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Unwritten-I really like how this is all shaping up. The revelation of how the fictional worlds operate reminds me of Michael Moorcock's Multiverse. Not derivative, per se, but a synonymous metafictional realm.

The one thing I'm wondering though is why is Frankenstein's Monster serving as Tom's guide? I don't understand the significance of the Frankenstein Monster taking that role....hmmm.

 

Yes, I liked the latest issue very much. As clever as the choose your own story issue in many ways. I liked "How many stories have the Pequod in them"

I assumed that the connection with the Monster was two-fold. The overt one is the link to the creativity of the Villa Diodati which has other echoes in the story, but also that Frankenstein is the creation of a writer and of a character in a novel. In some ways he's a surrogate child, but also a vessel for humanity.

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And he's a fictional character with a clearly defined creation who's had his role almost completely redefined in other media since Frankenstein's publication: that could tie in with the stuff about Jew Suss earlier on.

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The one thing I'm wondering though is why is Frankenstein's Monster serving as Tom's guide? I don't understand the significance of the Frankenstein Monster taking that role....hmmm.

 

I thought it was because of the connection between Wilson having owned or stayed (I can't remember) at the same mansion in Switerzland where Mary Shelly first came up with the idea of "Frankenstein" while on vaction with her husband, Byron & a few others.

 

Also, it could be said there are parrallels between Dr. Frankestein & his creation to Wilson Taylor & Tom

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Also, it could be said there are parrallels between Dr. Frankestein & his creation to Wilson Taylor & Tom

This.

There's the fact that he's a literary character who's slipped the leash and is now better known for appearances in other media as well. That ties in to the story about Goebbel's film of Jew Suss, somewhat.

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Ah, ok, yeah, that all makes sense.

When you combine the three it adds up.

While I certainly wouldn't identify the commercialization of Shelley's work with the misuse of Jew Suss, on any level, I do remember Carey stating that the Jew Suss story would figure in on a larger theme (beyond the obvious one) in The Unwritten at a later point. Maybe this is what he was referring to?

I always found Carey singling out Jew Suss to be such an obvious route for that theme.

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Given the amount of blatantly and overtly revisionist fiction about Shelley's novel as much as its characters (Brian Aldiss probably set that one rolling in the early '70s, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were examples before Frankenstein Unbound that I've just not encountered), the connection with a revisionist film isn't easily dismissed, though neither Aldiss nor anybody else* has committed a revision that's quite as contrary to the original thrust of Frankenstein as what was apparently done in Goebbels' film.

 

Another point that Ade's observation about the monster's role as Frankenstein's surrogate child brings up, of course, is the fact that Mary Shelley lost her own daughter. There may yet be a link to the questions about Tom's own provenance there...

 

*(leaving aside the casting of Sting in one of the films, obviously)

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But, doesn't this bring into question the classic Bram Stoker's Dracula?

Stoker's Dracula was obviously a drastic revision of the vampire folklore...from living corpse to metaphor for the decadent aristocracy.

Although, I suppose one could argue that Stoker's use of historical myth could exonerate Stoker's revision, putting it in a different class from prior lore.

 

(Yes, actually the complaint should be lodged against John William Polidori, and the irony of this in relation to Shelley is not lost, but Stoker's novel is held up as the classic. Varnae could figure in here, I also realize.)

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I think the key difference there, is that most of the revisions didn't do any significant change to Stoker's character (at least until this crap about resurrected dead lovers came in with Blackula and Fred Saberhagen's Dracula): he's the one thing that stays pretty stable in most of the films and sequels by other hands.

 

Stoker didn't actually do that much to revise any of the folklore he'd picked up on. Even the stuff about the canine teeth was based on Magyar folklore about some types of vampires' kinship to wolves, and while it was unlikely that Mina or Lucy would survive even one visit if it was done properly, the "six foot four mosquito with hollow fangs" crap was added to the first Universal film as the business Stoker had done about Dracula's fangs was far too nasty to show in a big budget film in 1931. (Prominent teeth were a very longstanding symptom of vampirism in most European traditions, due to the gums shrivelling in corpses as they started to rot.)

 

As for the decadent nobility thing, there are accounts of aristocratic vampires as well as the more traditional proles prior to Polidori's novel. (Most notably Elizabeth Bathory.) On the other hand, the fact that Polidori and Stoker were both, rather blatantly projecting a deeply unpleasant closeted sexual jealousy at a former employer is about the only part of the whole Dracula thing that hasn't been done to death by other writers yet, though obviously there've been several close tilts at that one in the whole "goth faghag" school of vampire literature Anne Rice started off in the late '70s. On that level it's interesting to compare just how close Lestat's initial portrayal is to Stoker's Dracula: all of the stuff about Stoker's character that makes him loathsome to a Victorian bloke looks a lot less repulsive to a female writer. You get that effect in Elizabeth Gaskell's A Shiny Narrow Grin and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germaine series as well, though her Comte De Saint Germaine is far less of a shit, at least until Rice started revising her own character's backstory and neutered him in the process.

 

I'd also question that Stoker's novel is held up as the vampire classic. It's historically very important, but it also tends to get dismissed by most critics* as being tiresome, painfully slow moving, clumsily written, overlong, and dull as ditchwater when the eponymn is offstage. About the only vampire story I've seen seriously suggested as a classic is J Sheridan LeFanu's Carmilla, though for myself I'd say that some of the less respectable genre stuff, in particular Matheson's I Am Legend and Bradbury's The Homecoming also have a very good claim to that status.

 

 

*(Not just the genre fiction nerd massive, but the serious litcrit hacks working in or close to academia as well, believe it or not)

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I was looking more at the sexual and virility and mannerisms aspects rather than the physical characteristics in my comments.

 

Well, with Bathory, there once again is the historical myth element.

Bathory wasn't considered an actual vampire, but a Satanist who practiced vampirism-like qualities.

Eternal youth and immortality have a long history with demonic worship also (thinking of Faustus, for one), although Bathory's story does include the element of blood.

I guess you could argue the sexual elements are there as well, but that's certainly not absent from Satanic lore either...and Bathory's is closer to Carmilla.

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Has anyone come across a translation for Sinbad and his crews speeches?.

Maybe Husamuddin can help?

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I'm guessing that it's probably an excerpt from the actual Book of One Thousand and One Nights.

Sure, that's not exactly specific, but the Sindbad stories are excellent reads...

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