Capstone Journal

A record of thoughts for the English Capstone class.

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Monday, October 22, 2001
Been awhile since I've been here. Here's the news:

Yay me! It's about the post-modern urban fantasy, and how it's dissolved so much of the conventional lines of morality in order to attempt to show the REAL world. I'm using examples from Laurell K. Hamilton, Joss Whedon, and Neil Gaiman. I'm going to talk to Professor Fox about research, since I'm not sure what I actually COULD reaearch. Rather, I want to use examples to show how the characters and situations created by these people (Hamilton and Gaiman are authors, but Whedon's a creator, soo...err..*g*) are an attempt to take the reader and urban fantasy to a new level by making it MORE REAL than it's been before. The choice of protagonists, for instance--Whedon uses a valley girl and souled vampire, Hamilton uses a necromancer(?!), and Gaiman has, respectively, two pretty darn normal and really weak guys and an ex-convict--is pretty revealing. I have a partial outline currently that goes like this:
I. Introduction
A. Myths go back a long way, but some images are too persistant to vanish.
B. Recent resurgance by making myth alive and real in the "real" world
1. Works like Neil Gaiman and Laurell K. Hamilton
2. Shows by Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS) and Angel (A)
C. These shows reinvigorate or discredit old myths and add new layers to them. As well, they also challenge the conventional notions of the good-evil continuum, bringing urban fantasy firmly into the postmodern age.
II. Fiction
A. Introduction: Fiction, especially speculative fiction, always has been used to try and "wake" people up. Recently, some modern fantasy has taken a turn down a path called "urban fantasy," bringing the imaginary in closer contact with the real.
B. Laurell K. Hamilton
1. Some authors accomplish this by a "what if...?" or alternative universe setup. In the case of Hamilton, she simply makes everything real.
a. Vamps, witches, boggles, magic--all of it exists
b. Vamps have been made LEGAL; magic has been written into laws--the world has enfolded the supernatural and seems familiar with it
2. Hamilton's main C, Anita Blake, is a mixture of both worlds. She's human, but a necromancer, meaning she has the inborn (and VERY powerful talent) to raise the dead. But she is also a killer, known to vamps as "The Executioner"; thus her ties between life and death are strangely balanced. As the series continues, her ties with the supernatural become deeper--she loves both a vamp and a werewolf, and she is a vampire servant. Through all this, she continues her fight to be HUMAN--and also where to draw the line in killing others.
C. Neil Gaiman
1. His three main novels--Neverwhere, American Gods, and Stardust--are all journey stories. But they also explore the relationship between the spiritual with reoccuring symbols.

More on all o' this later, but it is late, and I have miles to go before I sleep...jya!