June 12, 2014 · 12:20 am
I’ve been re-watching Being Human, and marvelling at how consistently good it was before it decided the vampires had to take over the world. Well, that subplot’s right there in the first season so perhaps that’s unfair, but I have to say most writing involving the handsome blood-drinking undead works better for me when it doesn’t lean towards plotlines of world domination. Seriously, why are fictional vampires so intent on ruling the planet and implementing a system that glaringly does not work?
Of course, many a narrative dutifully points this out, and the logistics bring up all sorts of lovely philosophical questions about the nature of humanity and evolution and morals, but the plot is still there to be talked about. I suppose it’s a natural direction to take your story in if you’ve got vampires running about, because let’s face it, living for x hundred years in style (because vampires are more fun when they’re stylish) would quite conceivably give you a bit of an ego and air of invincibility. Why not move up in the world, stop skulking in the shadows? Stage a vampire coup and make them the ruling class. Nothing could go wrong there. Continue reading →
September 19, 2013 · 12:58 am
Delicious delicious metaphors
(It looks better on Feminspire)
The most terrifying mythological monsters are the ones that want to sleep with you.
Look at mermaids, for example—supposedly dugongs mistaken for beautiful topless women (how far away/homesick/salt-drunk do you need to be to mix those up? I digress) by ancient sailors, the stars of myths and horror stories about sailors wrecking their ships or drowning having been distracted and seduced by the sea ladies’ beauty. It certainly made for a good cautionary tale: scurvy-induced hallucination or not, travelling men should be wary of any strange, ethereal women they come across. They’ll seduce you with their sweet songs and drag you under the sea to drown, or maybe crash your ship for good measure. And they’ll take all your sea-biscuits when they dump you. Wicked wanton creatures! Wanderers beware!
Sirens, mermaids and other watery seducers appear in the legends of all cultures with any coastal connection, and of course they have equally dangerous, gorgeous cousins extending into all kinds of supernatural creatures: handsome and lustrous vampires, succubi and incubi, enchanters and enchantresses and a whole parade of demonic legions set on leading the unwary to ruin via their undergarments.
Lookin’ fine, fishy ladies
It’s easy to see where this mythological trope comes from. Much in the same way that fairy tales teach children good morals and life lessons (and terrify them into compliance), these myths were part of establishing a moral and safety-conscious compass: in the case of the sirens, don’t get distracted by sexy ladies when you’re missing your wife on long journeys, because you’ll end up underwater. In the case of vampires, don’t talk to strange men, because they might bite you and drink your blood. It’s less daunting, in a way, than straight-up saying ‘don’t have affairs with women you meet while at sea because you’ll end up with terrible guilt and illegitimate foreign children’ and ‘don’t talk to strange men because they may overpower and sexually assault you’. By creating veiled imagery, the warning is established. Continue reading →