The Growing Spark:
A Fantasy, Paranormal, and Sci-fi Love Story Continues
Last month I discussed the sources that inspired my love for magic. This topic poured over into our first podcast. I mostly discussed movies that inspired me when I was a young child, I’ve decided to continue the topic by moving it to up in years, which to me is still in the ’80s and ’90s (two of the best decades I might add), and relating to books I’ve read or written as well.
Let’s jump right in!
The NeverEnding Story: 1984
The gloriousness of The NeverEnding Story still translates with my kiddos today. This magical movie touched on bullying and loss as well as the power of believing and letting those you’ve lost still live in inside of you even when it can be too hard to even think of them at times.
The movie opens with our lead character, Bastian, being bullied to the point where he has to hide in a dumpster. Later, the boy received a book and found a place to experience the story. While in his world he only appears to be reading, the viewers are sent through a portal into another world where the “nothing” is hellbent on destroying all of Fantasia. Without giving away those dreaded “spoilers,” I’ll just reveal that the story progresses and this normal human boy somehow has power over a place so magical. He doesn’t even believe it himself and makes fantastic friends along the way.
And I have to talk about Falcor: Yes I have a dog that looks like him, how did I not name him that? He almost got named Walker after looking like those formidable dark side, ground assault monstrosities, but we settled on Bodhi. Hey, I was going to name my youngest daughter Anakin if she was a boy, would have been awesome, right?
Magical Worlds and Dimensions in Fantasy Novels
Other worlds, other dimensions had always fascinated me, especially when a seemingly unimportant human became a part of it before realizing their strength, power, and heart when they never thought any of it was possible. While re-reading A Wrinkle in Time, written in 1962, with my oldest, it had me thinking of how the book also sparked the interest in dimensional travel. I knew I loved the novel, but the deep science in those pages was something I had completely forgotten.
Aside from A wrinkle in time, Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks, stars a 14-year-old girl from Illinois, Nest Freemark has a connection to the darkness that may impact the future. In this story, another normal kid has the power, magic, and a crucial impact on the future. It as the also the first time I read something from Mr. Brooks that had such a strong female as his main character. Something that is now the “it” thing. Finally!
Paving the Way for the Powerful Female Lead
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 1996-2003
We can’t talk about powerful female leads without focusing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No one comes to mind sooner that Buffy when I think of a character I related to, grew alongside, and rooted for every week. I also have all of the DVD’s, and it’s my go-to when I’m bummed or sick.
Buffy was a normal, albeit somewhat shallow (I mean most teenagers are at one time or another, I know I had my moments) high school cheerleader. When she becomes the next Slayer, everything changes. What doesn’t change is the camaraderie with her amazing best friends, AKA Scooby Gang, and she doesn’t give up, even after experiencing heaven.
Human Experiences in a Paranormal World
Joss Whedon and the writing team conquered deep topics on the show. No wonder it’s getting an excellent Buffy sequel to the show. From losing your virginity and the guy turning into a complete “monster,” to losing a loved one, studying for tests, moving, oh and saving the world, the covered it all. I cried alongside Buffy, Xander, Willow, Angel (wait, do vampires cry?), and I continue to love, talk about, and reverently recommend the show to this day.
Buffy also jump-started my love for vampires and werewolves. I admit I am more of a lover of a good vampire/paranormal story in book format, but that may just be due to the trickiness of putting the pictures readers, and the writers, form in their heads to something decent on the big screen. Well, Buffy did it perfectly, as well as a few others. Though when asked who my favorite vampires are I easily list Angel and Spike. Oh, and this guy…
In the film, Blade (1998), was one of the movies that captured another form of the vampire world that I truly enjoyed. Not to mention Stephen Doff’s, Deacon Frost and it’s based on a Marvel comic (don’t get me started on Marvel, but we will discuss soon. We must!).
Though, since I said it already (now I can’t stop thinking about it), Ryan Reynolds was in Blade: Trinity where he proved to be a badass before becoming the Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool. Ahhh, Marvel is everywhere. And I love it!
Lastly, bringing the female lead back into the picture and adding in those werewolves, Lycan, is Underworld. Though this one moves into the 2000s, it was released in 2003, it does star Scott Speedman who was in Felicity, 1998, a very non-paranormal/fantasy/horror show, but worth mentioning nonetheless. I’ve digressed, Underworld stars death dealer vampire, Selene, who thought of all Lycans as the enemy until realizing she’s a tool in a war that started well before her time and over power feuds. Her strength, speed, and glowing blue eyes make her my favorite female vampire of all time.
Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Novels
Continuing forward in time to show the evolution of magic in my life, it was 2012 when I first read The Weird Girls by Cecy Robson. Cecy is the paranormal/urban fantasy author whose characters’ remind me of the female strength and friendship in Buffy. Along with the romance, mystery, and suspense, the novels are pages turners for sure. The Wird Sisters each have powers of their own after being cursed, and they are joined by other creatures, heroes, villains, and those on that blurry line sometimes, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, witches, etc.
I could go on forever, I’m sure, but I’ll button this up for now in hopes that you all will share your favorites in the genres that mingle and intersect on many levels. Let’s focus on science fiction next time so I can give my other faves, Star Wars and Star Trek, some love as well.
Thank you for your continued support and stay tuned for the next podcast that you can find right here, as well as another guest blog by Author Jessica Ozment.
Oh, and Happy Birthday to my dad, the one who inspired by love for all things science, fantasy, and magic!