Monday, November 15, 2004

Steam that Dream into a Theme

Ok, that title's a stretch, but I was a little stuck for one tonight :).

The only real cultural thing I did over the weekend was see the new Pixar movie, The Incredibles. While I don't think it'll be as huge as Finding Nemo, it's a lot of fun and, damn it, is yet another idea I should have come up with. In fact, my grad school application was a set of three stories about relatives of superheroes, some with powers and some without. I had been thinking about going to back to that territory a bit, possibly as a themed collection, but now I think I need to wait. It would just be too colored by everything I saw in the movie.

But it got me thinking about themes for collections. Here are just a handful of my favorites.

Lost Pages by Paul di Filippo. Essentially di Filippo takes two seemingly unrelated historical figures and/or characters and blends them together in each story. For example, "Jackdaw" blends Kafka with Batman, turning Kafka into a goofy crimefighter. "Mairzy Doats" places old SF writer Robert Heinlein as President of the U.S., while "Linda and Phil" has Linda Ronstadt married to SF author Philip K. Dick.

Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino. Wonderfully wacky collection that runs the gamut from SF to magical realism. Has everything from a moon made of milk to little protons warring each other.

Invisible Cities also by Calvino. This one puts Marco Polo at Khan's (Genghis I think, I'm too lazy to find my copy) footsteps, and Polo is forced to entertain Khan with stories of all the wild places his visited. Wonderfully surreal, this one borders on narrative poetry.

Tabloid Dreams by Robert Olen Butler. Stories inspired by crazy tabloid articles. Alien abductions, Elvis, and more. But very character and language driven, with a surprising level of depth for several of the pieces.



LadyLitBlitzin said...

Wow, your grad school application sounds really cool. A friend of mine in college wrote a paper that compared Odysseus to a superhero and he got an F. I remember thinking he should have gotten a good grade just for originality. This friend is a stand-up comedian now... go figure.

Those collections sound really cool. Oh, to have the time...

Hebdomeros said...

Odysseus as superhero sounds like a good idea to me. Not a stretch at all, and could be a fun read. I guess it all depends on the teacher, though, and how open-minded they are.