I know I’ve mentioned it in a previous post, but it still really irks me when I mention “fantasy” and people have a set picture in mind. The image that springs to mind is a faux-Tolkien world that’s vaguely like Medieval Europe (while countless other continents lie in the distance and aren’t focused on.) That’s all well and good, since the LotR books and films as well as the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game are indeed quite popular. However, my interests tend to lean towards science-fantasy (a la retrofuturism, Thundarr/He-Man, and Star Wars) as well as modern-fantasy as well. Something about applying futurism (or modernity) to magick and monsters appeals for some reason, that setting it in a specified era of the past just won’t. And even then, people tend to think very troperiffic urban fantasy when they think of what I’m talking about. Ya know, there’s a big masquerade where the supernatural hides behind some veil, locations are almost always some real world city largely unaffected by the magical, there’s probably some romantic sub-plot involving said supernatural or something. All in all, I’m not a fan. I want adventure, mystery, and what have you with a modern twist. Give me bizarre magic-tech that looks much like what we have now (or at least within post-WWII – post-Cold War time frame.) Give me molemen bankers who live in the same vaults they store stuff in, dwarves who have a monopoly on a pub franchise chain, dark warlocks firing enchanted bullets from an uzi, weird stuff like that! See, that’s the kind of weird stuff I like. For reference on what I’m talking about, read “Nightside” and “Perdido Street Station”
Image Source: Kentaro Kanamoto
Like countless other walking slabs of flesh and sentience, I ponder about some rather macabre subject matter. Among those topics is the “end of the world” or “the apocalypse.” This speculative pondering even has a genre dedicated to end-times shenanigans. Countless theories and ideas provide the backdrop for countless stories that take place after the end. So, my question is this; why do we love the post-apocalyptic genre so much?
One could say we’re living in a new animation renaissance! Great new cartoons have breached the age old “Animation Age Ghetto” that lasted from the ’70s into the late ’00s… at least one could debate. One of the cartoons that I think broke the mold was Adventure Time! On the surface, it’s a goofy tale of a boy and his really weird dog. But really, there is so much more to the show than that!
Speaking of which, does that synopsis remind you of anything? Because it should! Adventure Time is basically “A Boy and His Dog” meets light-hearted faerie tale adventure. When the series first revealed to be after a supernaturally-driven nuclear apocalypse, I was stunned. The show had teased it everywhere! Nuclear bomb casings, leftovers of old society, you name it! It wasn’t until season two when they really exploited it beyond some cameo easter eggs, in my opinion. But, the show isn’t great for an awesome back story, it’s great for so much more. The awesome back story for the world is my excuse to write about Adventure Time during Nuclear Apocalypse month!
But, back on topic, Adventure Time is truly a unique show. The characters have developed in a lot of interesting directions over time. And dare I say, most of them have grown up a little from all the experiences they’ve come across. Now, I’m biased towards the character story driven episodes, as I feel they really pushed the show beyond goofball slapstick adventure. The show has made me laugh, cry, jump in fright, and even fume in rage. Sometimes, this happened all in the same episode! But no matter, Adventure Time has proven that it can display a wide variety of themes, emotions, and concepts.
So… Come along with me and the butterflies and bees. We can wander through the forest and do so as we please… Where was I? Oh yeah, my top (and bottom) Adventure Time episodes; in lists of 5 no less! Let’s take my warped opinions with a grain of salt and travel to the magical land of Ooo!
Fantasy at its core embraces both the improbable and the impossible. In the realms of fantasy, almost anything can be achieved through the right means! This can be through belief or a bit of ingenuity. It was our dreams that invented both possibilities for the past and present that helped to forge fantasy in the first place after all. But when people hear fantasy fiction, we tend to think of a select few items. These are typically castles, ancient warriors, classic melee weapons, and royal societies. On top of that, fantasy usually takes a Euro-centric turn towards societies from the Dark Ages through the Renaissance. But surely, there’s a lot more to fantastic fiction than this, right? Of course!