It has been brought to my attention that I have been remiss in posting fantasy art. A friend indicated that I had posted plenty of science, horror, and science fiction, but not not enough fantasy. Being a scientist, I immediately trotted off to collect the data, choosing appropriate bins. Here it is, by number of works of art/photos, and subject:
14 Science (NASA, night sky, and such)
13 Common (pens, cups, etc.)
11 Science Fiction
Well, indeed, we see a bias. Or several, actually. The preponderance of "common" themed art is a result of my not yet having hit upon the idea of looking for more original and thematic pieces to go with my posts. So that's fine. I'm also not surprised about the number of science photos, since it has been my intention to have a nice selection of real science/astronomy on the blog as a source of writing inspiration. Also, NASA photos are open for non-profit use, since we as U.S. taxpayers have already payed for them.
But my goal is to have at least moderately equal representation of science, sci-fi, horror, and fantasy genres, with the abstract/fractal and speculative/psychological pieces likely to overlap with all of them. I'll note that the person who inspired me to do this analysis was incorrect in the implication that horror was well represented. It appears to be suffering in similar ignominy to fantasy. That would be yet another bias discovered by my research :)
The cure for not enough fantasy is of course to post a dragon. I needed a good one, so I offer "Solace" by dragonicwolf. This fantastic dragon can only be appreciated properly by going to the source site and seeing it at full resolution. I quite like dragons; they are one of my vices along with vampires. By the way, the only other cure for "not enough fantasy" is to post a unicorn. :) So next time I get a comment about the art I post, I'll find the fluffiest, sparkliest, most rainbowy unicorn and share it here. It will hurt me more than it will hurt you ...
There is simply no amount of "overuse" of dragons that will make them stale, at least not for me. Human civilization at large apparently feels the same, since dragons of one type or another have appeared in stories and myths around the world. Some of these stories are thousands of years old. This fascination has continued into modern times with the birth of the current standard view of the "European" dragon (as opposed to "Asian" Dragon) - brought to us as Smaug by Tolkien. This is the giant, evil, winged, red lizard, sitting on top of a horde of treasure, and waiting to roast and devour adventurers.
Since then, dragons in literature have diversified. The dragons of Heinlein's 1955 Between Planets were intelligent and friendly scientist-types. They lived on Venus. McCaffrey's series The Dragon Riders of Pern, which started in 1966, has dragons portrayed as an integral part of fighting off a planet-wide threat. There is the luckdragon Falkor in Ende's Neverending Story, 1979, who is both a friend and a mode of transportation for the main character. There was apparently a Marxist dragon in Foster's Spellsinger series, 1983.
After that I stopped keeping track. The 1990s had so many dragon books and kinds of dragons that the idea of a "typical" dragon stopped being of much use. They can be tiny, huge, powerful, weak, intelligent, dumber than a sack of hammers, covered with feathers, covered with scales, have wings or not, and on and on. Yet still, somehow, a dragon is a dragon. They still intrigue readers, and inspire writers. They retain a mythical sensibility regardless of the indignities we put them through. I'll admit another bias, dragons appear in one of the books I'm working on. So I'm not likely to completely pan them, am I?
How about you? Tired of dragonkind yet? Or do you think there is still something worth exploring, there? If yes, why do you think they remain so compelling?
Image Credit: "Solace" is used with generous permission from the artist dragonicwolf on deviantArt.
My comments: Art like this makes me sit up and take notice. I want to be there - what is that dragon thinking, anyway? Is it good or evil, or something more complex? What is the nature of the world it lives in? Is it solitary? Social? Will it give me a ride and eat my enemies?