Quo Vadis, Epic Fantasy?

Well, at least we know where Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg is going, namely back to his castle in Franconia. Of the many commentaries on his resignation today, I quite like this one from Deutsche Welle.

Nor is Guttenberg the only prominent political figure who plagiarized his PhD thesis. It seems that Saif Gaddafi, son of Muammar Gaddafi, has done the same in his thesis at the London School of Economics. Even worse, it seems there was bribery involved.

By the way, the title of Saif Gaddafi’s thesis is The Role of Civil Society in the Democratisation of Global Governance Institutions. In the light of the current situation in Libya, Gaddafi Junior’s views on that matter should be interesting.

There’s also some more on the ongoing debate about epic fantasy, where it came from and where it is going:

Matthew David Surridge tries to define epic fantasy over at the Black Gate blog. What is notable about this post is that he at least references the related discussion about sex, gender and epic fantasy. What is also notable is that Surridge openly admits that he has never heard of many of the female writers mentioned in those discussions. Alas, when he tries to define epic fantasy, he largely goes back to the men with the exception of Robin Hobb and Jacqueline Carey.

And just to prove that there seems to be something in the air that makes the future of epic fantasy the topic of the day, here is an SF Signal post from January which also discusses epic fantasy

Apparently, there’s also something in the air that compels writers to talk about voice, style and authenticity.

First of all, here is Paul Jessup with a response to the Jeff Vandermeer post I linked to two days ago.

And here is Elizabeth Bear with a wonderful appreciation of the late Jane Russell (and Marilyn Monroe), which segues into a discussion of artistic authenticity.

Tangentially, this post also reminds me of yet another issue I have with Mad Men. Because a lot of the attitudes that are portrayed in Mad Men are actually lampooned in classic Hollywood comedies of the 1950s and 1960s. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire lampoons the gold-digging, “find a rich man and get as much as you can, before he dumps you” attitude we find in certain Mad Men storylines, most notably those involving Christina Hendricks’ character. And a lot of the old Rock Hudson – Doris Day comedies tackled subjects such as sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace. I can think of at least two that are actually set in the very advertising world Mad Men depicts. In one, Doris Day plays the hardworking and talented copywriter who nonetheless keeps losing clients to Rock Hudson, who is less qualified than she is, but takes the clients out for booze and more. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And any of those 1950s/1960s films are sassier and funnier than Mad Men could ever be.

So if a lot of films actually made during the Mad Men era poked fun at the attitudes of the times, because the screenwriters realized how silly they were, then why does Mad Men, made with the benefit of hindsight, take itself so seriously?

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