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Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Story Bone

You know how spy thrillers just haven't really worked lately (although the rise of state-level terrorism has given them a second wind)? Because we're no longer in a distinct cold war, which pretty much was the engine of the spy thriller. Even the James Bond movies with their reliance on what was a major terrorist organization (SPECTOR) played against the backdrop of the cold war between western powers and the USSR (how many times did SPECTOR attempt to launch WWIII? Like four or five times). Without the conflict, a lot of the tension goes away (the Bourne movies play up against this with the theme of "what do you do with your broken toys now the Cold War is over"?)

But you know what, we're genre writers. Hell, in space all wars are cold wars, you know what I'm saying. Most space opera is hot war based, but given the high cost of space transport and the tension between technology levels, a Cold War scenario makes a lot more sense. And who is to say the Seelie and Unseelie Courts‎ aren't engaged in their own Cold War, or even a Cold War with our realm. After all, the fey have been stealing our babies and taking our tech (except for iron) since stories have been told of them.

Carlie Stross does a little of this with his Laundry Stories (I saw what you did there, BTW). They basically are Cold War stories between us and the Lovecraftian mythos. He has even written his books as homages to other spy thriller writers.

This is very fertile ground, as far as I can tell. There's a couple of furrows in it, but actually I don't think many people think of those stories as Cold War spy thrillers. Maybe they do, I don't know.

Anyway, just thinking about it.

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