Archive for May, 2011

Bordertown Lives! (again)

Robert Lynn Asprin is part­ly to blame. Bob Asprin, who as Yang the Nau­se­at­ing found­ed the Great Dark Horde as an insti­tu­tion in the Soci­ety for Cre­ative Anachro­nism. Bob Asprin. who found­ed the Klin­gon Diplo­mat­ic Corps to pro­vide secu­ri­ty (and a means for peo­ple to dress up as Klin­gons) at the ear­ly Star Trek con­ven­tions. Bob Asprin, who was an ear­ly mem­ber of the Dor­sai Irregulars.

Bob Asprin, who helped cre­ate what is now referred as the “shared worlds” concept.

He and then-wife Lynn Abbey man­aged to con­vince sev­er­al oth­er promi­nent authors, includ­ing Poul Ander­son, Mar­i­on Zim­mer Bradley, John Brun­ner, C. J. Cher­ryh and Andrew J. Offutt, into con­tribut­ing to a series of short sto­ry col­lec­tions under the com­mon title of “Thieve’s World”, whose suc­cess begat a num­ber of oth­er “shared worlds” col­lab­o­ra­tions. The most famous is prob­a­bly the “Wild Cards” series, in which an alien retro-virus released by acci­dent on Earth grants the for­tu­nate few infect­ed with it super abil­i­ties while the vast major­i­ty died in var­ied and hor­ri­fy­ing ways.

There were a few oth­ers, but the one I am refer­ring to in the title, is “Bor­der­lands”. “Bor­der­lands” is set in a world where the Mun­dane and Faerie have crossed paths, result­ing the nat­ur­al exten­sion of the term “urban fan­ta­sy”. Vast areas in the mid­dle of the great­est cities are now on the bor­der between the two worlds, where the good and the bad of both worlds mix and plot and scheme, where both mag­ic and sci­ence work unpre­dictably, where rock&roll bat­tles with Fae melodies and Faerie steeds race motor­cy­cles, where aris­to­crat­ic and unpre­dictable Faerie go slum­ming and bewil­dered and bewitched mor­tals come to make their liv­ing. Cre­at­ed by edi­tor Ter­ri Win­dling (and how can I not appre­ci­ate some­thing by some­one who shares my first name), the “Bor­der­lands” shared world pro­duced two sto­ry col­lec­tions in 1986 and anoth­er in 1991, then anoth­er in 1998. Now, in 2011, anoth­er “Bor­der­lands” col­lec­tion is to be pub­lished, and I am look­ing for­ward to it.

Sto­ries that might con­tain fae enchant­ments and glam­ouries on unsus­pect­ing mor­tals? You bet I’m look­ing for­ward to it.

For more infor­ma­tion, see the Bor­der­town Blog.

Pat Collins — “The Hip Hypnotist”

There have been many famous male stage hyp­no­tists in the 20th Cen­tu­ry, includ­ing Wal­ford Bod­ie, Franz Pol­gar, Ormond McGill and Gil Boyne, but there has only been one female stage hyp­no­tist with an equal amount of fame then.

That hyp­no­tist was Pat Collins — “The Hyp Hypnotist”.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing “Pat Collins — “The Hip Hypnotist””

‘Looking for Something’ by Frank Herbert

Aliens that only one per­son can see, as the rest of human­i­ty is under a hyp­not­ic illu­sion of nor­mal­cy. Aliens with hyp­not­ic pow­ers. Aliens who see human­i­ty as only a food source.

Its a com­mon enough sto­ry line. ”Look­ing for Some­thing’ by Frank Her­bert is a short sto­ry of stage hyp­no­tist who dis­cov­ers that he shares an unusu­al vision with one of his sub­jects and inves­ti­gates it.

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing “‘Look­ing for Some­thing’ by Frank Herbert”

‘Attack Angels’ — “Charlie’s Angels”

[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073972/]

Char­lie’s Angels inves­ti­gates a hos­tile takeover of a com­pa­ny that involves the sus­pi­cious deaths of sev­er­al com­pa­ny board mem­bers. Kel­ly (Jaclyn Smith) and Kris (Cheryl Ladd) are sent under­cov­er to the com­pa­ny to inves­ti­gate while Julie Rogers (Tanya Roberts) attempts to infil­trate Rear­don Asso­ciates, which had sup­plied many of the com­pa­ny’s staff. What they find is a con­spir­a­cy com­bin­ing hyp­no­sis and murder

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing “‘Attack Angels’ — “Charlie’s Angels””

‘Nix on Hypnotricks’ — Popeye the Sailor

[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033956/]

Descrip­tion: Sin­is­ter hyp­no­tist Pro­fes­sor I. Stare (Hyp­no­tist “10¢ a Trance”) is prac­tic­ing his hyp­no­tism on a gold­fish but the gold­fish isn’t coop­er­at­ing. Instead, he fumes, he wants a human sub­ject. Going to the phone book, he picks a name at ran­dom and dials Olive Oyl, whom he entrances with a ges­ture (and light­ing bolts com­ing out of his fin­gers through the tele­phone toward Olive) and gives her a sim­ple com­mand: “Come to me!” Entranced, Olive march­es out, arms out­stretched like a sleep­walk­er, and nar­row­ly avoids any num­ber of dan­gers on the way and has to be con­tin­u­ous­ly res­cued by Pop­eye. Final­ly frus­trat­ed with all of the obsta­cles he faced, Pop­eye pulls out his can of spinach and trans­forms into Super-Pop­eye (com­plete with “S” from the spinach can on his chest) and puts an end to the sin­is­ter hyp­no­tist’s plot, but at the expense of Olive’s anger: once she is awak­ened from her trance, she has no mem­o­ry of what hap­pened, know­ing only that Pop­eye slapped her. The beat­ing he takes from an indig­nant Olive is worse than any­thing he ever takes from his old ene­my Blu­to, espe­cial­ly because he refus­es to defend himself.

His­to­ry: ‘Nix on Hyp­notricks’ was the 101st Pop­eye car­toon released by Fleis­ch­er Stu­dios. It came at a time of grow­ing dis­sent between the Fleis­ch­er broth­ers and the Fleis­ch­er Stu­dios was bought by Para­mount Stu­dios. All of the Fleis­ch­er Pop­eye car­toons have been released through Warn­er Home Video’s Pop­eye the Sailor DVD box set series: this episode can be found on Pop­eye the Sailor: 1941–1943, Vol­ume 3.

Com­men­tary: This car­toon was one of my very first exam­ples of hyp­no­sis in the media that I can remem­ber. The image of Olive, entranced and sleep­walk­ing, stayed with me for decades and I only recent­ly dis­cov­ered a copy on YouTube. It is a very stereo­typ­i­cal view of hyp­no­sis, not sur­pris­ing giv­en that it was released in 1941. You have the stereo­typ­i­cal swa­mi (tur­ban, mus­tache and pointy beard) using hyp­not­ic ges­tures and light­ning bolts from his hands that hyp­no­tize, the blank stare of his hyp­no­tized vic­tim who pro­ceeds to walk in the hyp­no­tized / sleep­walk­er pose with her arms firm­ly out­stretched before her: all it needs is a few “Yes, master“s thrown in to have the com­plete set.

Triv­ia:

  • This was the sec­ond Pop­eye car­toon involv­ing hyp­no­sis: the first was the 1935 car­toon ‘The Hyp-Nut-Tist’ with Blu­to as a smarmy swa­mi stage hyp­no­tist. This B&W episode would be remade in col­or as ‘The Balmy Swa­mi’.
  • The Super­man motif is because the Fleis­ch­er Stu­dios were also pro­duc­ing the excel­lent “Super­man” car­toons at the same time.

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