This week: UnlovedEdited by: Robert Waltz
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The very essence of romance is uncertainty.
― Oscar Wilde
I stood still, vision blurring, and in that moment, I heard my heart break. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower's stem.
― Diana Gabaldon
Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There's no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance, your wife is bound to interfere.
― Groucho Marx
It's that dreaded time of year again. February. Valentine's Day.
Since this is the Fantasy newsletter, though, we can talk about other worlds and alternate universes. Perhaps worlds where they have different customs and expectations. Perhaps even -- dare I say it -- worlds without Valentine's Day! ...nah, no one writes utopias anymore.
According to that great fount of knowledge, Wikipedia, Valentine's Day started out as one of many feast days commemorating saints in the Catholic Church, and was not associated with romantic love until at least the time of Chaucer. While some have tried to connect it to the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was about fertility, that turns out not to be the case; it's more of a coincidence that they fell on the same time on the calendar (never mind that Rome was always kinda iffy about February to begin with).
More, the concept of romantic love itself, as we know it today, was mostly the fault of some goth emo poets in the early 19th century. Oh, sure, you can point to Shakespeare, but I assert that Romeo and Juliet can best be interpreted as satire, not as an instruction manual.
But fine, holiday meanings and practices change over time. All the more reason why Fantasy writers shouldn't limit themselves to the modern interpretation of Valentine's Day.
Nor should we limit ourselves to history (unless of course we're writing historical fantasy). Consider other cultures, perhaps other worlds, who might not even have a concept of romantic love. After all, our species in our time link it to eroticism - but other species might have entirely alien concepts of how procreation occurs, and the rituals or customs (if any) leading up to it.
My point being, as I've tried to express in other editorials in the past (and will probably continue to do so in the future), as Fantasy writers we should examine a lot of the things that we take for granted, including the concept of romantic love and the practice of setting aside a day to wallow in it. Even if you're not attempting to create a utopian story, it may be that Valentine's Day, or its equivalent, will have no place in your narrative.
Some fantasy that's not necessarily about love - except maybe love of fantasy:
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Last time, in "Winter Fantasy" , I talked about using winter as a character.
Write 2 Publish 2020 : I was trying to come up with a plot to write and jotted down a number of ideas. The one that became my newest novel started out as: What if while cutting ice blocks for a lake to construct the Winter Ice Palace, body parts were discovered in the ice?
I had the serial killers complete how-to kill and hid a body. How to transport it from the kill site to the dump site. I just had to create the detectives to find him......
Beneath the Ice is still a work in progress. I finished the initial 50k for the Nano, but am struggling with the last chapters that lead to fining and capturing him. I love winter in Minnesota. From my warm home in Portland, Oregon (no sticking snow this winter)
Your Google search result history must be verrrrrrrrry interesting indeed.
ForeverDreamer : I don't know if it is a fantasy, but I really enjoyed your cold weather story "Talamaxis" . It was very thought-provoking, and totally surprising at the end.
Thank you very much! I wasn't sure what genre to list for that, either, not without giving it away. I appreciate the kind words.
So that's it for me for this confounded month. See you in March! Until then,
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