Friday, August 22, 2008

The Garlic Pizza

Sunlight on the Lake,
Herman Herzog,
o/c, 1871.

Summer fades like a flower.
Sparrows flock in preparation,
and shadows lengthen early
in the soft gold of our afternoons.
Ides of August past.

A few days ago, Writtenwyrdd posted an irritation on the convenience of weapons in fiction and the impossibility of some of them, like a cross-bow and pistol combo.

Which reminded me of a problem (as I see it) in many paranormals -- the reliance on legendary (either folk or literary) methods of offing and discouraging various obnoxious entities.

Wooden stakes, crosses, silver bullets, garlic as an avaunt. Ho. Hum.

There is, of course, something to be said (a lot, in fact) on several counts for reader recognition, familiarity and belief in the popular methods, like the Buffy stick means of dissuasion and dissolution.

But it becomes repetitious. To the point of cliche.

Even the standard writerly response to an over-used trope, that of reversing and/or fiddling with it -- the vamp who loves garlic, the blood-sucker who is allergic to copper rather than silver -- is in danger of becoming worn.

In fact, research into folklore provides other systems of protection against the revenants, zombies, draugrs, and the un-dead.

But we like the straight and simple.

I suppose part of the reason for the popularity of various versions of bell, book and candle is our natural human bigotry.

These entities are the Other, the Enemy, and it is easier by far to think of Them as all of a kind.

Sometimes I come up with a title but no story. Will someone please write The Goblin's Whore?


StarvingWriteNow said...

The Goblin's Whore.

Excellent title, B!

Honestly, I don't think anyone but you could write THAT story!

spyscribbler said...

The Goblin's Whore? Oh, gosh, I love it, LOL!

You're right. The anti-cliches are just as cliche as the cliches!

writtenwyrdd said...

I have a book collection called The Goblin's Wife which turns the expectations of a reader on their head. You would like it, I think.

The cliches of vampire offing are troublesome, aren't they? I have a scene in the trunk novel (a literary vampire novel, no less) which has them using Super Soaker squirt guns with a mixture of asphoedita and other herbs, not garlic. Used to cause allergic reactions to the vampires with varying degrees of success.

I still don't like the old trope, but as the character says, "Even if it doesn't work, the smell will bother 'em."

And I'm still toying with the idea of silver allergies taken advantage of by someone with Argyria!

writtenwyrdd said...

I meant to say I have a collection of stories, the title being The Goblin's Wife, and the title story would appeal to you.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I have a short story making submission rounds at the moment about a vampire (my only vampire story). This vampire gets taken apart, literally, but they don't actually die until "staked in the heart." It takes awhile to find the heart and it's still pumping.

So the ME euthanizes the poor guy with a chopstick.

jason evans said...

Garlic pizza would ward me off. I feel for the vampires.

writtenwyrdd said...

Mmmm...garlic pizza! Can't believe I missed the mention of it in the title! Garlic anything is yummy! I would probably even drink garlic soda, I love garlic that much. Of course, I grew up near Gilroy, CA, land of the Garlic festival. You can never have too much garlic.

Bernita said...

I only know Book Whores, Beth.

They're getting there, Natasha. Need new blood.

Written, I really like the idea of a SuperSoaker.

I've found a number of mundane domestic uses for them - keeping squirrels out of the raspberries, wetting foundation stones in the basement above my head for re-mortar, etc.

Chopsticks also fall into the Unusual Tool Variation, Betsy.
I like it.
And there's use for the shank from a wooden hair slide too.

I grow serpent garlic by my front step, Jason, and I have a spindle tree by the kitchen door, and...

My husband is allergic to garlic, Written. Hmmm.
His hair grows really low above his ears too. Hmmm.

Charles Gramlich said...

I find it very hard to do vampires at all these days simply because everything about them is really cliche by now. How they live, love, die, etc.

I'm afraid my mind is blank on "The Goblin's Whore."

Robyn said...

Goblin's Whore is giving me very bad visions. Unless these goblins look like Hugh Jackman in the private moments. Hmmm...

I think the death methods have become cliched because vamps, ghosts, etc. are no longer scary. In many stories now, they are not even the enemy, but the misunderstood heroes. Going into the woods at night doesn't hold the delicious thrill it once did.

December/Stacia said...

Oh, man. I totally wanna write The Goblin's Whore.

But I've been planning for years to write an erotic story set in Puritan colonial America and call it The Goodwyfe. Sigh. Maybe someday...

Bernita said...

Thing is, Charles, it doesn't have to be cliche.

Few bother to research or use their immagination to create other methods, Robyn, so the genre is awash with stereotypes of one kind or another.

Have at it, Dee!
For research may I suggest one of my x-times great-grandmothers, Mary Dyer.

raine said...

Will someone please write The Goblin's Whore?

Oh yes, please! :)

The problem with not using the cliche, or the anti-cliche, for killing our blood brothers is that there's little left to work with!
Vampire death by Starbucks coffee?
(Raine, who's thinking of writing a vampire novella...) :-/

Jaye Wells said...

What's worse--derived world building or contrived world building?

Any time you change the accepted canon of lore, you're taking a risk. But I think it's important to try to push boundaries. If you can justify the changes through world building then maybe you'll get a few less eye rolls.

Gabriele C. said...

Sometimes I come up with a title but no story. Will someone please write The Goblin's Whore?

You could ask Jim Hines. He already wrote a trilogy about goblins. Fun stuff, too.

Kel-Bell said...

I love the upside down premise of Dexter, the serial killer who is the lovable hero of the story.

The compassionate Leo in Interview with a Vampire is another upsidedowner that worked well.

Bernita said...

Raine,I think there's still room for variations on a theme.

Exactly, Jaye - solid world building provides the foundation for diversity.

Sounds like fun, Gabriele.

Yep, Dexter is a winner, Kel-Bell.

writtenwyrdd said...

I've been toying with this "Goblin's Whore" idea all morning and I would have to change it up to "The Goblin Whore" meaning the goblin is a hooker. Could have monster fun with that (pun intended).

Dave F. said...

I've said before that I don't do Vampire stories and you have hit the nail right on the head as to why.

A story needs something new in it. Vampires of all forms are out there - Anne Rice's vampires, Stephanie Meyers vampires, Moonlight on TV, Blood Ties in Canada, that movie with Keanu Reeves, Blade, Lost Boys, not to mention countless books with all sorts of vampires. There are at least 40 vampire movies since 1978. I wouldn't even attempt to count the books because not only do paranormal novels ahve the obligatory vampire and demon from hell, but there are small sub-genre's of gay and lesbian vampires written specifically for that audience. Too many. And they all obey the same rules.

The genre needs something new. A story needs a new element, and not a minor element. We've all seen too many wooden stakes shoved into too many creatively dissolving chests and too many windows sheathed in garlic while the ugliest demon floats hissing and snarling outside. Add overheated adjectives and you got the latest pulp vampire story.

Now as to the Goblin's Whore - buck teeth, halitosis, size 14 pumps, battleship hips... I think I met her on a blind date one time. (sorry, that was cheap and snarky. I just couldn't resist.)
It's a fascinating premise in three words. Is it a comedy?

Bernita said...

Probably an improvement.
Go for it, Written!

Dave, the title came to me so I'm throwing it out there if anyone wants it.

People have come up with interesting and different reasons for the "why" of vampires but not enough have moved out of the Stoker/Rice box in other respects, or so it seems to me.Perhaps I've not read enough of them.

Steve Malley said...

My biggest paranormal peeve: 'Forget everything you think you know about --(usually vampires, but also werewolves/zombies/witches/etc.)"

Then the author goes on to tell us the one, *tiny* tweak on the folklore that makes her world 'different'. Ugh.

The Goblin's Whore, eh? I won't say I've got a story, but I can smell the earthen walls and candle wax, hear the rustle of cloth and the whisper and purr of a corset unlacing...

She keeps touching her hair as she waits. She's bitten the unfamiliar and sticky red weight from her lower lip, and her palms leave wet stains on the front of her skirts.

Now you got me asking, what's she doing in this awful room? Dammit, if you make me start another novel in the middle of this one...

Steve Malley said...

But why *is* she waiting for a goblin??

This is going to bug me.

laughingwolf said...

i really detest tales where the 'monster' is killed, regardless of whether it 'deserves' to be or not, especially when the 'hero' does so in the name of some 'god', as if the 'creature' believed in the same 'god' grrrrrrrrr

as for 'the goblin's whore'... nice concept, and not all that difficult to write about, kudos!

and yes, do bring on the garlic pizza... actually, garlic anything ;) lol

BernardL said...

I really loved the weapons they came up with in the Blade trilogy for dispatching vampires. It would be very difficult to top their stuff. I'll have to give the Goblin's Whore some thought. :)

Bernita said...

Steve, I know what you mean. Blurb cheat.


Though I understand where the concept of dominion comes from, that bugs me about ghosts/exorcisms too, Lw.

Bernard, I'm sure you could make an exciting story about it!

haunted author said...

I agree with y'all- Vampires are overdone. And I think WereWolves as well. I do very much like the twist the Charlane Harris used with the Vamps in her Southern Vampire series. She sticks to the lore pretty much so her Vamps are y'know, Vamps, but she has two twists that makes it new- the Synthetic Blood which brought the Vamps out of the closet, so to speak. The other twist is her Wonderful Southerness-she's nailed it. Not cliched, not overdown, but just right. Just those two elements makes it new for me.

Asofetida in a Super Soaker? Ugg! that would kill me! Thats stuff is nasty. Devil's Dung indeed! Brillant idea though.....

Bernita said...

GOOD vamp and were stories are still sought after, Haunted, in spite of their reliance on the "accepted" rules of definition -- or maybe in spite of them.

writtenwyrdd said...

There was a science fiction story where the protag is a vampire stuck on an alien space ship. Can't think of the title. But his vampire nature was important to the solution of the problem. Wish I could recall the author or title. I last read it ten years ago and sold the book when I moved to Maine. It had a guy in a clingy jumpsuit on the cover if I recall correctly.

Whirlochre said...

Good news. My local branch of Nasty Bugface Boggarts R Us have just started stocking cauldron stirrups for a very reasonable £20 a pair.

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I have been AWOL for a bit but am now back and have caught up on all your posts. Congratulations on the three years of blogging.

Bernita said...

Sounds interesting, Written.
You sound like me - remembering the plot but not the author or title.

"cauldron stirrups?"
Flogging hob goblins,are they, Whirl?

Thank you, Suzanne.

writtenwyrdd said...

That 'flogging the cauldron' comment... *Snicker* If one were to put the raunchy spin on it...

Much of the time I can recall titles and authors, but if I haven't thought of it in years, I can lose it.