Toxic Narratives and ASOIAF: From Within and Without

That was in the dawn of days, when our sun was rising. Now it sinks, and this is our long dwindling (Dance, Bran III)

A specter is haunting ASOIAF – the specter of the past. Our characters are haunted by the great things that came before them, from myth and song to parents and grandparents. In this essay, I’m going to talk about some of the toxic nostalgia our characters participate in…and then talk about how some in-real-life toxic nostalgia may be informing some of the storytelling choices GRRM makes.

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Fantastic Transmissions E008 – Grass Dancer by Owl Goingback

Episode 8 of Fantastic Transmissions is about Grass Dancer by Owl Goingback. Grass Dancer, a Nebula nominee, weaves a Vietnam war story with American Indian myth and legend. I discuss the craft of the story itself, as well as some background on American Indian soldiers in Vietnam. I also explain why this story first appeared in, of all things, an anthology of King Arthur stories.

Podbean: https://bookshelfstudios.podbean.com/e/episode-008-grass-dancer/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fantastic-transmissions/id1341102133?mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/I3zr6oajxcx3unkxb6o5pwpwoqe?t=Fantastic_Transmissions

The intro music is sampled from Clyde Borly and His Percussions, off the album “Music in Five Dimensions.” The rest of the music in the podcast was created by Blue Dot Sessions. Their work can be found on the Free Music Archive under a Non-Commercial Attribution License. You can also find all their tracks at www.sessions.blue.

Links and references can be found at the bottom of the post!

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Fantastic Transmissions E007 – Bloodchild by Octavia E Butler

Episode 7 of Fantastic Transmissions is about Bloodchild by Octavia E Butler. Bloodchild is a multiple-award-winning story by a multiple-award-winning author about the symbiotic (or parasitic?) relationship between a human colony and their insectoid overlords. We discuss the idea of male pregnancy, and attempt to answer the big question about Bloodchild: is it about slavery?

Podbean: https://bookshelfstudios.podbean.com/e/episode-007-bloodchild/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fantastic-transmissions/id1341102133?mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/I3zr6oajxcx3unkxb6o5pwpwoqe?t=Fantastic_Transmissions

The intro music is sampled from Clyde Borly and His Percussions, off the album “Music in Five Dimensions.” The rest of the music in the podcast was created by Blue Dot Sessions. Their work can be found on the Free Music Archive under a Non-Commercial Attribution License. You can also find all their tracks at www.sessions.blue.

Links and references can be found at the bottom of the post!

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Fantastic Transmissions E006 – Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien

Episode 6 of Fantastic Transmissions is about Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien. Ham is one of Tolkien’s forays into fable and comedy, a little-read work with big ideas. I discuss some of the linguistics jokes and historical references in the work, and then talk more broadly about Tolkien’s own opinions on language, nationality, and identity.

Podbean: https://bookshelfstudios.podbean.com/e/episode-006-farmer-giles-of-ham/

iTunes:

Google Play:

The intro music is sampled from Clyde Borly and His Percussions, off the album “Music in Five Dimensions.” The rest of the music in the podcast was created by Blue Dot Sessions. Their work can be found on the Free Music Archive under a Non-Commercial Attribution License. You can also find all their tracks at http://www.sessions.blue.

Links and references can be found at the bottom of the post!

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Fantastic Transmissions E005 – Walk Like a Mountain by Manly Wade Wellman

Episode 5 of Fantastic Transmissions is about Walk Like a Mountain by Manly Wade Wellman. Walk is a tale of Appalachain fantasy, of a giant who dwells on a cliff over the holler, and how our heroic balladeer John treats with this strange relic. In this episode, I talk about some history of giant folklore – in America and Britain – and also talk about Manly Wade Wellman and some of the myths surrounding white Appalachian identity.

Podbean: https://bookshelfstudios.podbean.com/e/episode-005-walk-like-a-mountain-by-manly-wade-wellman/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-005-walk-like-a-mountain-by-manly-wade-wellman/id1341102133?i=1000407581320&mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/Dfcqrw5tydb6mcr2kjpilx4llp4?t=Episode_005_-_Walk_Like_a_Mountain_by_Manly_Wade_Wellman-Fantastic_Transmissions

The intro music is sampled from Clyde Borly and His Percussions, off the album “Music in Five Dimensions.” The rest of the music in the podcast was created by Blue Dot Sessions. Their work can be found on the Free Music Archive under a Non-Commercial Attribution License. You can also find all their tracks at www.sessions.blue.

Links and references can be found at the bottom of the post!

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Fantastic Transmissions E004 – Aye, and Gomorrah… by Samuel R. Delany

Episode 4 of Fantastic Transmissions is about Aye, and Gomorrah… by Samuel R. Delany. Gomorrah, first published in the DANGEROUS VISIONS volume in 1967 is a very short story about “Spacers,” third-gender asexual astronauts, and “frelkers,” the fetishists who lust after the Spacers. In this episode, I talk about the way spacers and frelks connect through their mutual deviations from the norm, and then explore a little of the storied life of Samuel R. Delany, particularly the ways in which his life connects to the story of Gomorrah.

Podbean: https://bookshelfstudios.podbean.com/e/episode-004-aye-and-gomorrah-by-samuel-r-delany/

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-004-aye-and-gomorrah-by-samuel-r-delany/id1341102133?i=1000406205136&mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/Diewkb4bp6tjop64svssaf7oeva?t=Episode_004_-_Aye_and_Gomorrah_by_Samuel_R_Delany-Fantastic_Transmissions

The intro music is sampled from Clyde Borly and His Percussions, off the album “Music in Five Dimensions.” The rest of the music in the podcast was created by Blue Dot Sessions. Their work can be found on the Free Music Archive under a Non-Commercial Attribution License. You can also find all their tracks at www.sessions.blue.

Links and references can be found at the bottom of the post.

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Fantastic Transmissions E003: Daughters of Khaton by Merril Mushroom

Episode 3 of Fantastic Transmissions is about Daughters of Khaton by Merril Mushroom. Daughters, a 1987 novella published by Lace Publications, is not your typrical SFF entry. Merril Mushroom, the author, is and was a lesbian and feminist activist in the South. Daughters comes from a tradition of radical lesbian and feminist thought. We explore the central theme of the story – fear and facing fear – and discuss Merril’s background as a lesbian woman growing up during the nightmarish reign of the Johns Committee.

Podbean: https://bookshelfstudios.podbean.com/e/episode-003-daughters-of-khaton-by-merril-mushroom/

iTunes: https://t.co/ZjJg0PDODo

Google Play: https://t.co/6Zp0sfwJ1i

The intro music is sampled from Clyde Borly and His Percussions, off the album “Music in Five Dimensions.” The rest of the music in the podcast was created by Blue Dot Sessions. Their work can be found on the Free Music Archive under a Non-Commercial Attribution License. You can also find all their tracks at www.sessions.blue.

Links and references can be found at the bottom of the post.

(more…)