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.
This week’s topic is BUGS
BUGS- Not in the Tough Guide but it should be. Let’s all find anything creepy or crawly, big or small, six legs, eight legs, or more. Bugs, bugs, bugs.
Make no mistake I love bugs. I worked a pet store in college and was the guy who took out the tarantulas and scorpions (and snakes, but that is a different list). If I see a spider in my house I ‘escort’ it back outside. Sure crickets can piss me off at times, and mosquitoes get swatted on site, but for the most part I think bugs a great thing. Especially in my books.
Plus I can think of nothing better than yummy bugs to get us all in the mood for Thanksgiving (those of us in the U.S. at least).
Starship Troopers – Robert Heinlein – Oh, hell, ya, space men in armored suites jumping around a blazing a swarm of killer space bugs. Sound familiar to anyone? I think it is safe to say that this was one influential book. Sure it goes off on a political bend for a while but I never stopped loving this book.
Ignore the movie. It was fucking horrible. And ignore people who claim it was actually an amazing satire of the book itself; there are some great ‘news stories’ that did the satire thing very well but they were hidden in a crappy movie that took all the life out of the book.
I want my starship bugs to be intelligent, build ships, and sound like frying bacon when they tunnel through the ground to swallow up space marines whole.
God’s War –Kameron Hurley – Bug Punk is a thing because Hurley made it so. Ironically I went into the book thinking bugs were going to be bad; instead they are just the thread that holds the world together. Bugs used for healing, bugs used for magic, bugs used as fuel. Even vehicles are bug carapaces filled with bug parts.
Eventually reading Hurley books forces a person to answer very important questions. Which would freak more people out? Being forced to live hand in hand with all the creepy crawly things like they do in God’s War? Or watching out for carnivorous plants like in Mirror Empire?
Empire in Black and Gold – Adrian Tchaikovsky – Has anyone done one of these Tough Travel posts and immediately wanted to reread one of your choices? That is what I have going here. I love this series but have only read the first four books. Because the series currently doesn’t have a publisher on this side of the ocean! WHY.
Here the people are bugs. Or rather aspects of them, or kin to them. Or something, it seems confusing but it works. So the beetle-kin are industrious and the mantis-kin are solitary warriors and the damn wasps are a dominating, swarming force. And they start off with a simple basic formulaic fantasy book that fools the reader by being different; then careens off into one heck of a series. AT LEAST WHAT I CAN READ OF IT IS!
Perdido Street Station – Rabindranauth said I could have Slate Moths so I am putting Slate Moths on my list again. Because I like them.
Warhammer 40k/Starcraft –I put these together because their bugs are the same. Both rip off Starship Troopers to some degree by having hulking space marines gun down raving hordes of bugs. In Warhammer 40k they are called Tyranids and they are scary damn things. Huge hive ships roam space and consume any matter they can get; they use that to make more Tyranids.
As for the Zerg, well they were my weakest race. I was a stim-marine drop ship guy if I had my way, though the Protoss brute strength got me quite a ways up the ladder. But if I had to play Zerg I made good use of those defilers. Dark Swarm for the win!
Harry Potter – I know you are all going to include the big spider thing in the woods. As such I wasn’t going to use anything from HP. But my wonderful wife pointed out that Rita Skeeter could turn herself into a fly. So there, a bug.
This week wasn’t too hard, let’s keep it easy.
Join us next week as we look at HIGH PRIESTS
HIGH PRIEST is nearly always evil, either on his own account or on behalf of the dark lord.
Surely we can find a few of these?
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As always thanks for joining, feel free to join along at any time, and please check out my fellow travelers!