Each Thursday, our copy of ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.
Today’s Tour Topic is…Immortals
IMMORTALS are fairly common in Fantasyland. There are three kinds:
GODDESSES AND GODS, who exist forever unless people stop believing in them.
ELVES or DARK LORDS, who live forever unless someone kills them.
Wow, this was so much easier than last week! There are immortals EVERYWHERE in fantasy fiction. And a few in Sci Fi. And this may grow into the longest list ever! But no, I shall hold back and keep it to…some. I will even divide this one up by bullet point.
1. Goddesses and Gods
Greek Pantheon –Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips- The whole gang is here, at least all the ones the average high school graduate may know. Unfortunately Zues has gone crazy, Apollo keeps wasting power turning mortals into trees, and said power is diminishing rapidly due to lack of belief. Oh, and they are currently living in a trashed out apartment in modern times. This was a great little book for lovers of myth and mortals out witting the gods. It featured my favorite geek couple ever, some mad Scrabble skills, and the most boring afterlife in the history of ever.
Someday someone will be able to tell me how this got optioned, a movie got shot, and it still is unreleased. No justice in the world.
Om – Small Gods by Terry Pratchett – Giver of of a thousand commandments (that he doesn’t remember given), namer of prophets (wait, was he the one that talked to himself?), known for displays of power in the form of a monstrous bull, glorious swan, and even a… turtle?
Yes lack of belief can be a real bitch my friends. But together with Brutha, the most unlikely of prophets ever(though to be fair, perhaps the only one who believes in Om rather than fears his church). Honestly I am going to assume everyone has read this book, loved it, and ignore anyone who challenges this worldview.
Luke – Eight Days of Luke by Dianne Wynne Jones – A strange little red headed imp of a teen boy who appears mysteriously. And shortly after, he draws interest in several powerful figures. His new friend David finds himself meeting a new interesting person every day, and dragged further and further into something strange going on. Was that Mr Chew who showed up on Tuesday? Mr Wedding on Wednesday? Or was he perhaps mishearing those names?
Hmm, anyone read American Gods?
2. Elves and Dark Lords – Science Fiction- just to change things up.
Anaander Mianaai –Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – But, I thought this book was just a gimmick with a gender pronoun switcheroo? Well, you thought wrong. There is no doubt the way Leckie plays with gender expectations gained this book a lot of publicity, but it was not a book solely defined by it. One of the best parts of this glorious mindfuck tm came from ancillaries themselves. And while the protagonist was cool, the villain was even better. Immortal in a different way, with her mind held in so many bodies that an assassination attempt would be about as successful as a haircut; nothing important lost. Of this book is so good.
The Emperor of Mankind – Warhammer 40k – Oh hell ya. The man on the golden throne, betrayed by Horus, kept alive by a constant mortal sacrifice of psykers. Yet without him there would be nothing, Chaos would rule and mankind would be overran.
‘In the Grim Darkness of the future there is only WAR.’
Immortal Empress –The Spirit War by Rachael Aaron –How to talk about this one without a mass amount of spoilers? Hmm, really cant. Favorite of the Shepardess, controller of spirits without apparent domination. None of that makes since? Well, you all are reading the Paradox series so you know you want to read Aaron’s first one. Get on it, and by book four you will know what I am talking about.
The Lady –The Black Company by Glen Cook- I have used The Lady before. But come on, she took out The Dominator and stole the Ten who were Taken from him, burying him for hundreds of years. She is just cool, and seemingly immortal. Imagine that.
Mr. Slant – Discworld by Terry Pratchett – Nathan, you already used Pratchett! Ya, but I missed him on some other lists so I gotta even things up.
Death stops some completely, others just have to change their eating arrangements a bit. Zombies may have been scary on the whole at one time, but they are pretty boring. But a lawyer zombie? With lifetimes of case law under his belt? If you aren’t quaking you just don’t get it; we have a lawyer who doesn’t need sleep here. Scary stuff.
How many more could I have listed? I have four more just on my shelf of physical books in the other room. I had to cut back, but damn, I think this is plenty. And I gotta save some for a few others.
Join as next week as we deal visit… Invisible Colleges
Invisible College is used for training WIZARDS and usually occupies a prim site in some major CITY…
You know what though, rather than force the issue and make this hard, let’s open the topic to any school in fantasy that is hard to reach or gain entrance in to. Should give a more varied list.
As always thanks for stopping by, and please check out the other travelers. And if ever you want to join in, just do it! Anytime, the linky stays up all week.