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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: The Doctor Who Theme Music

As I've mentioned before, I've been catching up on Doctor Who episodes from the reboot, and one of the things that I have really enjoyed is the theme music.  It's distinctive, it has an eerie quality that matches the nature of the series itself, and the brief modulation to a major key (that happens in the version of the theme that runs during the end credits) is interesting and emotionally evocative.

Here's the version that I was first exposed to:

But then, at the beginning of the fourth series, the theme music changed a bit--it added more drums, piano, and bass, giving it more of a "rock music" feel.  To be honest, I didn't like it as much.  While some comments that I've read say that the fourth series theme matches well with the adventurous nature of the Doctor, I think the added instrumentation takes away from the distinctively eerie quality of the 2005 version of the theme.

All of this also made me wonder: what other changes has the Doctor Who theme music undergone since the show's beginning?

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: Mysterious Edinburgh Sculptures and the Work of Su Blackwell

This week, I learned of this unbelievably awesome, beautiful, and fantastic thing that's happening in Scotland: someone is creating sculptures out of books, and leaving them around Edinburgh.

It started in March with a tree and an egg filled with words (that, when put in order, make Edwin Morgan's "A Trace of Words").

And, magically enough, it continued.  There was a scene where a movie comes to life, with horses and men running out from a screen towards the filmgoers.  There was a dragon nestled in a teacup.  Another showed a child in a forest, with the inscription bearing the words "LOST (albeit in a good book)."

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: "Joan"

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen's work was recently the subject of a glorious exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, entitled Savage Beauty. Elements of the fantastic ranging from the sublime to the grotesque can be found throughout his work, and many of his collections were directly inspired by works of the fantastic. It's Only a Game (spring/ summer 2005) was inspired by the wizard chess scene in the film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and Eshu (autumn/ winter 2000-01) was inspired by the trickster god of the same name. McQueen also showed collections inspired by Dante, and by angels and demons.

This column focuses on a specific dress from McQueen's autumn/ winter 1998-99 collection, Joan, inspired by Joan of Arc. It is the final dress in the collection, a vivid reminder that it was a young French peasant named Jehanne, not Katniss Everdeen, who was the original girl on fire.

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: Comics Edition

Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryEarlier this week, Tia Mansouri wrote about the new cover of Roald Dahl's classic children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a closer look at the cover made me think about other, similar artwork--in particular, comics that use simply drawn characters to tell their stories.

As Tia mentions in her article, one of the reasons the new cover is able to portray most of the major goings-on in the novel is because of these simple lines.  They keep the drawing looking uncluttered, thus allowing the image to contain more details from the book.

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The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: The Work of Sam Valentino

Clock TreesI came across the work of Sam Valentino as a result of our "magician's week" here at Fantasy Matters--Lev Grossman had posted a link on his blog to a picture that Sam had done of the Watcherwoman's clocktrees in Fillory, and like Lev, I was impressed by how well Sam conveyed the connection of The Magicians with The Chronicles of Narnia by imitating Pauline Baynes's style.  So I headed over to Sam's blog to see what else he has done--and what I found was artwork that is wonderfully fun and lighthearted, but grounded in personal connections that makes it very real.

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