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Jen Miller

Fantastically Fun Fridays: September 23, 2011

Happy Friday everyone!  We hope you survived the week, and that your plans for the weekend include some well-deserved relaxation.

Here is some of the fun stuff we've found for you this week:

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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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Fantastic Language: Helen Phillips' And Yet They Were Happy

And Yet They Were HappyI found And Yet They Were Happy on the "New Fantasy Fiction" shelf at the public library, and I was immediately drawn to how different it looked from the other books surrounding it.  In a sea of mass market paperback-sized novels, with covers of purple and black that feature wizards on the cover, Helen Phillips' lemon-yellow, simply illustrated cover stood out as something unique.

The same could be said of the text of the book itself.  And Yet They Were Happy is not a novel, it does not tell the story of a young hero on an epic quest, magic doesn't appear through spells and wizards, and I don't remember seeing a single elf.  Honestly, I'm a bit surprised that it was shelved with the other fantasy novels.

But I'm so glad that it was.

Because, you see, the magic in And Yet They Were Happy is in the language and imagery of the text itself.  It is the magic of crisp imagery, precise wording, and direct sentences.  And as such, this is a magic that has the power to travel outside of its story, into the books next to it on the shelves. 

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Our Fantastic Week Ahead: September 19

SpellcastA few weeks ago, we featured a review of Spellcast--a novel by Barbara Ashford that connects the magic of the theater with more explicit supernatural forces.  This week, we are thrilled to feature a guest post by Barbara Ashford herself, in which she explains her motivations for writing the novel and discosses some of the connections between the novel and the musicals that she features in it.  It's a fascinating behind-the-scenes look that will appeal to fans of both fantasy and the theater.

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Fantastically Fun Fridays: September 16, 2011

Dante's Inferno

Happy Friday!  We hope you all had a great week, and that you had the chance to read, watch, or play some great science fiction or fantasy.

I'm currently reading Dante's Inferno for a class--not quite fantasy as we know it today, but certainly fantasy-adjacent.  And I have plans to watch some Doctor Who this weekend.  What about you?  Let us know what you're reading, watching, or playing in the comments!

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