Apocalypses and Other Great Disappointments

Giles – ‘It’s the end of the world.’ Buffy, Willow and Xander – ‘Again?’   Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ‘Doomed’ (Season 4, Episode 11)   Trigger warning: this post is going to be about religion (sort of). The fine details will be about history, politics, and popular culture, but I’ve been asked to reflect back on something … Read more

Meaning versus Significance as Explained by Instagram Autumn Mania

I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe; Studying inventions fine her wits to entertain, Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn’d brain. (Sir Philip Sidney,  Astrophil and Stella, sonnet 1: 5-8)   The autumn semester has started at Cardiff University, … Read more

Undead & Read: Why the Literary Zombie Mash-Up Trend Just Won’t Die

This week’s post by Monica Westin debates the highs and lows of the (still-undead) literary mashup genre, and also traces the evolution of the zombie in popular culture. It was originally posted on October 26, 2010, and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Newcity Lit.  We’re living in strange times in the world of literature, a time … Read more

Terry Pratchett and the Question of Literature

As you may already have heard, the internet was livid with rage on Monday, after Guardian columnist Jonathan Jones accused Terry Pratchett of being a mediocre writer who pens ‘ordinary potboilers’. Perhaps the most prominently featured response came from Sam Jordison. Crucially, Jones casually admits that he has never read Pratchett himself, and Jordison chides Jones for this admission, arguing that … Read more

Penny Dreadful versus The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Penny-Dreadful-Vanessa-Ives

[EDIT: I penned a running review series of Penny Dreadful season three for the Victorianist. Click here for direct links.]

This article contains (very) minor spoilers, so if you haven’t yet seen Penny Dreadful or read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, you may want to steer clear.

When the Showtime/Sky television series Penny Dreadful was announced, many fans and critics accused it of plagiarising Alan Moore and Kevin O’Niell’s comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It does, after all, feature a very similar cast of characters and draw from similar nineteenth-century texts, especially if you count the abysmal film adaptation from 2003. Both mashups feature characters plundered from Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though LoEG showrunner Mina Murray is replaced by her father Malcolm (played by Timothy Dalton) in Penny Dreadful, as the unofficial ‘leader’ of the band of monsters. Sir Malcolm Murray, like LoEG’s Allan Quatermain, is a hunter and explorer who spent much of his life in Africa.

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There and Back Again: Or, What I Learned About Pop Culture at the 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio

And we’re back! After a long and much-needed holiday in the USA, I’m in Cardiff and working on my thesis again. My post this week is going to be a long one, and it’s going to contain a strange mix of topics (religion, politics, and popular culture), so consider yourself forewarned. Those of you who follow me … Read more

The Lighter Side of Apocalypse

Today’s post will be quick, as I’m in the middle of conference mania, and also of a major overhaul of my thesis focus and methodology. Because I’m a bit tired of both monsters and the Victorian at the moment (hard to believe, I know), this week I decided to briefly share a couple of somethings … Read more

The Giving Tree

Happy Earth Day! In between conference prepping and submitting a revised chapter of my thesis for review, I took a few minutes to re-read one of my favourite childhood books: Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. All things said, it’s not really a cheerful story. A boy and a tree love each other and have happy times playing … Read more

5 Reasons The Giver is Still My Favourite Young Adult Dystopia

So. After a week’s hiatus due to a bout of the flu, I’m back (sort of). I watched a lot of Netflix while in bed, mainly Adventure Time, which I’m even more excited about since I discovered it’s post-apocalyptic, and I picked up some digital downloads for entertainment as well. One of the films on my … Read more

RIP Terry Pratchett: Where the Falling Angel Met the Rising Ape

Terry Pratchett’s publisher just announced that the Discworld author, who spent many years struggling with Alzheimer’s, has passed away. He was only 66. I have no words at the moment to express the loss that I – or that many other fans – will feel at this moment. I can only offer my heartfelt thanks for the many … Read more