episode 15 – ten books for inspiration

Changeling the Podcast
Changeling the Podcast
episode 15 - ten books for inspiration

Thanks for joining us! This week is a bit of a breather: we’re talking about ten books that inspire us for Changeling: the Dreaming. The show notes are therefore pretty straightforward, as we’ll just have the list below with a few notes. (You are encouraged to find, borrow, or purchase these books at a library or bookstore, for we will not be linking to a certain bookselling megacorp on this post.) In a more general sense, we’re opening a conversation here about media as inspiration; we anticipate talking about another stack of books in the future, but also graphic novels, television, film, even artwork. Given that the game is to some extent about inspiration and story, it seems fitting to think about more than just “books about faeries.” How can players and STs get the most out of the media they encounter for their games? What qualifies as a narrative that has something to do with Glamour and Banality, or the other themes of the game? Things to consider for future iterations of this series of episodes…

(Also, we threw in three honorable mentions at the end, because stopping at ten books just wasn’t going to happen.)

the list

  • Emma Bull, War for the Oaks — Blurb: “Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk—and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point.” There was some talk long ago about adapting it for film (to the point that a low-budget trailer got made), but alas, it has not yet come to be…
  • John Crowley, Little, Big; or, the Fairies’ Parliament — A truly magnificent 25th anniversary edition just came out…which actually makes it a 40th anniversary edition, so how’s that for a publishing delay? But anyway, even though that version is frighteningly expensive, you can at least get a sense for the book by reading the first couple chapters here: https://littlebig25.com/.
  • Charles de Lint, The Wild Wood — Blurb: “A young artist returns to her cabin in the deep woods of Canada to concentrate on her illustrations. But somehow, strange and beautiful creatures are slipping into her drawings and sketches. The world of Faerie is reaching out to her for help–and she may be its last chance for survival.” See an example of the Brian Froud art paired with this book below (used for the cover, in fact).
  • Cory Doctorow, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town — This one is freely available for download, presumably because Doctorow is a big proponent of Creative Commons and whatnot: https://craphound.com/category/someone/
  • Joanne M. Harris, Honeycomb — Author’s website with some Q&A and other information: http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/honeycomb/
  • Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere — Multimedia moment: Neverwhere was actually a TV series first, some of which you can watch for free because some kind soul has put it online (start with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKlsXquUKdA). So technically the novel is a novelization, and we might cover this again for when we talk about TV… but then, it’s also been made into a stage play, and a radio drama, and a graphic novel. Many options for your media-consumer pleasure.
  • Seanan McGuire, the October Daye series — Author’s website: https://seananmcguire.com/toby.php; you can check out her other series as well here.
  • Terry Pratchett, Hogfather (and many other Discworld novels besides) — Another one with a TV adaptation, featuring Ian Richardson and Michelle Dockery (of Downton Abbey fame), which you can fairly easily watch online as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoWifSyA9NQ).
  • Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories — A brief excerpt: “So Iff the water genie told Haroun about the Ocean of the Stream of Stories, and even though he was full of a sense of hopelessness and failure the magic of the Ocean began to have an effect on Haroun. He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead, but alive.”
  • Bill Watterson, any or all of the Calvin and Hobbes books — It almost seems a travesty to direct you to an internet version of the comic, but if you haven’t come across the strip before, allowances must be made… you can read some of the old daily strips at https://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes.

your hosts

Josh Hillerup (any pronoun) keeps finding library cards between the cushions, in their pockets, on buses, on trains, behind other people’s ears… something mysterious is clearly afoot.
Pooka G (any pronoun/they) once ate 38 pages of Finnegan’s Wake, binding and all, to see what would happen, and woke up two days later drenched with absinthe in the doorway of a downtown Tarrytown taxidermy shop.

Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.” —Carl Sagan

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