Fantasy & Gothic Blog

The 8 Most Effective On-Screen Dragons

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

Dragons are dramatic creatures – the very height of awesome power and destructive potential. Dr Faustus notoriously rides a dragon-drawn chariot, and these creatures have long been associated with heroism, grandeur and ancient mystery.

The ‘dragon’ has been imagined in various forms, and for Carl Jung, they were an ‘archetype’, that is, an inherited idea or image that formed part of society’s collective unconscious. Jung explains the cold-blooded, reptilian nature commonly attributed to dragons is a way for us to collectively identify or represent symbolically the inhuman part of our own psychology. Our last blog on dragons covered a number of dragons in literature that embody these necessary components that oppose and emphasise the hero-type. But how have dragons and dragon-like figures been conveyed in visual form? The artwork and design of a dragon is highly important in confirming as well as enhancing our understanding of what a ‘dragon’ is, and below we’ve come up with a list of 8 of the most memorable on-screen dragons.

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Topics: dragon art

The 8 Most Iconic Dragons from Western Literature

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

Ancient, beautiful and undeniably powerful, dragons in their most common depictions have helped characterize the fantasy world and lend impressive mythological grandeur to the tales that feature them. Dragons are an attention-grabbing component of hero myths in particular, where there has been a pervasive attitude that the defeat of a dragon is a way of proving one’s mettle, that a dragon-like figure or idea must be ‘conquered’ in order to attain a ‘prize’ (usually treasure, or virtue personified in the figure of a maiden).

Dragon-slayers earn the greatest respect, not only in medieval romance (such as Tristan & Isolde) but also among the heroes of antiquity, with Apollo (who slew the earth-dragon Python) and Perseus (who, after having dispatched Medusa, defeated the sea dragon [kētos] to rescue Andromeda). Greek mythology also gives us the tale of Medea charming with her spells and herbs the ‘Kholkian Drakon’ that guards the Golden Fleece. These earlier ‘dragons’ are more a general form of monster, though with definite dreadful qualities that have formed the basis of dragon-lore. The presence of dragons in tales augments the merit of the heroes that oppose them, but what of the dragons themselves? We’re going to take a look at the most memorable dragons from literature, and how they were depicted in all their awesome might. [Caution: Here There Be Spoilers]

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Topics: dragon art

Gothic Short Fiction | Washington Irving and the Knickerbocker Group

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

Author of ‘Rip Van Winkle’ (1819) and ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ (1820), Washington Irving (1783–1859) holds a great place in the canon of American short story writers. A leading author of early American gothic horror alongside Poe and Hawthorne, he was also a witty commentator and prominent literary figure in the New York public eye. Writing during a period when literary communities and publications were beginning to sprout up all over, Irving incorporated his keen knowledge of human society and relationships into his work. The dialogues between and within art forms that were happening at this time helped fuel various literary movements into existence, where writers would communicate openly, shaping each other’s works and accelerating the development of their ideas and careers. In this post we’ll be taking a look at the emergence and impact of these literary communities, and Irving’s place in this larger process. We’ll also explore some of Irving’s inspired marketing techniques and see how we have him to thank for bringing the words ‘Gotham’ and ‘Knickerbocker’ into common usage!

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Topics: Gothic Fantasy, short stories

Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott | Science Fiction Short Stories

Posted by Josie Mitchell

One of the classic works that we just couldn't not feature in our Science Fiction Short Stories was Flatland, a novella by Edwin A. Abbott. This very well-known work of science fiction is a must read if you love SF and haven't yet delved into the dimensions created by Abbott.

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Topics: Gothic Fantasy, sf fiction

Great Science Fiction from the East | Gothic Fantasy

Posted by Matt Knight

Science Fiction is a wonderful genre. Though powerful fiction can always transplant us into new worlds, SF really amps it up – whizzing us off to alien locations and hauling the future right to our feet.

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Topics: Gothic Fantasy, sf fiction

Gothic Fantasy titles moved to September

Posted by Nick Wells

A word from our Publisher, Nick Wells:

Our otherwise delightful printer seems to have suffered a series of setbacks, culminating in the entire workforce going on holiday at the same time. Or so it seems. They've had the PDFs to make the books for 6 weeks and should have delivered two weeks ago, but various calamities seem to have befallen them and they are currently set to despatch from their factory outside Venice at the end of August.

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Topics: Gothic Fantasy, announcement

Chilling Ghost Biographies | Wilkie Collins

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

Image source

William Wilkie Collins (1824–89), who was born in London, is the author of the widely acclaimed ‘sensation’ text ‘The Woman in White’ (1859–60). Recently, his detective novel ‘The Moonstone’ (1868) made it to Number 19 in Robert McCrum’s Guardian list of the 100 best novels written in English, where McCrum describes the book as a ‘marriage of the sensational and the realistic’. A close friend of Dickens, Collins is lauded as one of the great forerunners of detective fiction – T.S. Eliot considered Collins and 'The Moonstone' to have invented the genre. His contribution to the genres of sensational and supernatural fiction was considerable, and, famous for his unorthodox, even scandalous, lifestyle during the Victorian era, his own life was not short of inspiration for his work.

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Topics: Gothic Fantasy, Biography

John Howe | From Middle Earth to Dragon Art

Posted by Matt Knight

Dragons don't exist. 

That's a shame, of course. Instead we have to rely on the brilliant work of artists to render these fantastic worlds for us. One hugely important figure in the fantasy art world is the artist John Howe. With a much-loved body of work and perhaps best known for his concept art work on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film series, Howe's career is marked with an array of interesting experiences that have resulted in some truly astonishing fantasy art pieces.

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Topics: fantasy art, Biography

Chilling Horror Biography | William Hope Hodgson

Posted by Gillian Whitaker

With a history in seamanship, photography and bodybuilding on top of his successful writing career, William Hope Hodgson (1877–1918) makes for an interesting subject for today’s blog. Perhaps best known for his novels ‘The House on the Borderland’ (1908) and ‘The Night Land’ (1912), Hodgson’s fiction has been a great influence on a number of horror writers, especially celebrated for his authentic narratives on the horrors of the sea and his creation of the enduring supernatural investigator Thomas Carnacki.

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Topics: Gothic Fantasy, Biography

Cthulhu Conquers the World... and Space | Gothic Dreams

Posted by Matt Knight

You know Cthulhu. Monster. Scary. Gigantic. Yep, that's the one. If you know who this fearsome god is, you probably know why so many people think he's cool. But as the mythic monstrosity's popularity grows, you may find him wandering out of the ocean into pastures new. Perhaps even, into space.

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Topics: gothic dreams, cthulhu

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