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Archive for June, 2014

Medieval bestiaries as well as more “scientific” texts like Isidore of Seville’s early encyclopaedia were filled with monsters both humanlike and bestial. These were not only monsters as we’d term them; the act of defining the natural and the monstrous was a going concern in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Even at the time, there was something preternatural about monsters, something beyond common belief. They dwelt on the edges of God’s creation, filling up the unexplored nooks and crannies of various maps. They were markers of a terrifying unknown and also messengers of hope: when the intelligent monsters at the world’s end converted to Christianity, then so too would the world end and Jesus return to rule a new one.

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I end up on Marie’s medical-themed podcast Iatropexy, where we talk about William Hurt’s stint as The Doctor.

Not that doctor. The other one.

Alternate Title: The Fault in Our Doctors 

Download the Podcast (right click and select “save as”)

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Announcement – Forthcoming Novella

My steampunk parody-novella-trilogy-thing Zeppelins are What Dreams are Made of will be published as an ebook by Eggplant Literary Productions.

Airships! Ninja-ballerinas! Salty language! Coming soon!

EDIT (July 23, 2014): I received word today that the publisher is closing. So, Zeppelins are What Dreams are Made of is…not coming soon.

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At the tail-end of second term during my MA I re-watched the much-maligned Polish television series Wiedzmin (2002) i.e. The Witcher to see if it still held up. I saw the first few episodes on a trip to Poland when I was 14, which would have been a year after the theatrical release of the film, the same film that cut a two hour running time out of thirteen one-hour episodes, resulting in what I would charitably call an incomprehensible mess. The movie wasn’t well-received in Poland, especially not by fans of the books it was based on. The show, unsurprisingly, didn’t attract a very large audience as a result.

The Witcher is adapted from The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny, two short story collections by Andrzej Sapkowski. They centre on the albino mutant monster-hunter (AKA “witcher”) Geralt of Rivia and his encounters with various twisted fairy tales. The subsequent novels got a lot more serious in tone, but the chief draw of the stories, for me, is the humour–the situations you get into by dropping a grim and overpowered character straight out of a 60s sword and sorcery novel into a world ruled by Hans Christian Anderson. At least, that’s the chief draw until the last two stories in The Sword of Destiny, which pack a huge emotional punch that I can’t say I was prepared for.

The show isn’t much like that.

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