Tag Archives: fiction

The Hidden Side of Circuses and Illusionists

EN(Article in French here)

Stage magicians with amazing tricks or wizards with actual powers?
Disabled humans portraying freaks or supernatural beings hiding in a troupe?
Controversial animal welfare issues or animal shows supposed to take us back to mythical times?
A dreamy, innocent atmosphere can turn into a dark and twisted one at or against you will…

Circuses are places of either wonder and childhood amazement, or fear and nightmares – up to 12% of adults in the US might suffer from coulrophobia, according to this website, while other might suffer from fear of puppets – but they fascinate most of us and provide a ready-made inspiration for numerous works of fiction.

Indeed, sometimes “something else” must be going on behind the red curtains…

Demonic Circus by vinegar
Demonic Circus by vinegar

Continue reading The Hidden Side of Circuses and Illusionists

Fantastic Feasts and Where To Find Them

ENSometimes, your favorite Fantasy heroes take a break from truly un-yummy battles and endeavours to savour the most luscious dishes.

While your mouth is watering uncontrollably as you’re reading the tasty descriptions, you might wish you could taste those recipes in real life and experience the same feasts your heroes do.

Here is a small guide to help you fulfill your culinary wishes.

Game of Thrones A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook



The official Game of Thrones cookbook and cooking blog!
Fans and amateur chefs Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer have recreated a wild range of dishes from across the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.

Continue reading Fantastic Feasts and Where To Find Them

Maps and Imagination


Maps in the belfry

Maps are fascinating. I remember spending so much time as a child designing imaginary maps, mazes or floor plans, folding and unfolding maps, scrutinising globes, seeing continents in a crumbling ceiling, memorising fictional maps in books, and trying to create some out of my favorite fictional places when they didn’t exist. I clearly remember trying to map the family house of some children comic books and being very disappointed when I noticed I couldn’t manage it, because the author didn’t have a clear map in his head and there were some discrepancies in the panels – the kitchen was sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right…

I still am interested in maps, mazes and architecture, and I know some of my co-workers in computer science share my interest. It can also be a Special Interest for some people with Aspergers.

How real is a map?

Are maps trying to depict real data “real” too?

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Speak your own universe – language and creation

ENIn the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Adso quotes the Bible, more specifically John 1:1:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1

Authors and language-shapers are worldbuilders. Their words create characters and universes, but also question the power of words and names within our own universe through the lens of fiction.

Continue reading Speak your own universe – language and creation

Quantum Entangled Ever After – Quantum Entanglement in Fiction


Quantum entanglement is mind blowing. Einstein, who was troubled by quantum physics’ implications, called it “Spooky action at a distance”.

Sometimes, particles are not independent from each other, the quantum state belongs to the whole system. Those particles might stay correlated even if they are at opposite ends of the universe.

Let’s say our system is a pair of particles. Those particles are quantum airships which can be English or French airships, but the whole system should be in English and French.


If one observer looks at airship A, airship B’s state will then be fixed instantaneously. For instance, if airship A is observed as French, airship B will automatically be English. But if airship A is observed as English, then airship B will be French… Some try to explain it with hidden variables: in this case, it’s obvious airship B is English if airship A is French, because observers know the initial state is both English and French. However this airship example is an over-simplification. Experiments like the one made by Alain Aspect tend to say there are no hidden variables in quantum entanglement… Spooky!

In real life experiments, an observer would not be able to tell B’s state for sure, without A’s observer telling them the result – and this information can’t travel faster than light according to the theory of relativity.

It is so spooky it has inspired a lot of plot devices, which are not always scientifically accurate, as quantum entanglement is often used as a way to teleport information – that said, with extra worm holes, the plot’s physics gets blurry…

Continue reading Quantum Entangled Ever After – Quantum Entanglement in Fiction

Ophelia, Archie and Ariel – The Potential Airship’s friends: Fictional Airships


Airships are well-known tropes as symbols of parallel universes. Often used in steampunk fiction, but not only, I just love them and like to see how creators use them in their fiction.

Some articles say more about airships in fiction, and Ian Mc Donald, author of the great Everness series, has written about his love for airships and fantasy/science fiction fictional airships.

 Here are some fictional airships I like:

Continue reading Ophelia, Archie and Ariel – The Potential Airship’s friends: Fictional Airships

Fictional Libraries I’d like to visit…


…thanks to the Potential Airship. I’d like to own a gorgeous library in my dream mansion!

10- China Sorrows’s library – Skulduggery Pleasant, Derek Landy, 2007-2014

Skulduggery Pleasant is a very nice YA Urban Fantasy series mostly set in Dublin, Ireland that I have discovered a few months ago, thanks to a friend. I have only read the first three books so far, so I don’t know what happens next to the characters or to China’s Library. China Sorrows is very powerful and collects objects and books. In the first book, the library is described as an entire floor stacked with a maze of bookshelves and an open space at the centre.

Edit from 2015: read the entire series. It’s great. The choices the protagonists have to make will change their life forever. Some moments are either beautifully hopeful or fascinatingly horrific, to a point which is rarely reached in YA literature.

Continue reading Fictional Libraries I’d like to visit…

Caspar David Friedrich: Cloister Cemetery in the Snow, 1817-19

The Graveyard Scene


In my previous article, Graveyards and the City, I said my fascination with graveyards began with graveyards scenes in books. I think it was a scene from The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux.

When I think about “The Graveyard Scene”, She’s in Parties by Bauhaus is always stuck in my head.

The Graveyard Scene… The golden years… She’s in parties…

The pre Romantic and Romantic artists were fascinated with death and specifically graveyards.

The Graveyard Poets were some gloom-oriented English poets from 18th Century, among them Thomas Gray wrote An Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Gothic Literature, Victorian Gothic Literature and then Edwardian Literature featured this kind of settings. Early 20th century movies – a lot of book adaptations –  also had a Gothic feel about them (see German Expressionist Movies). The themes and settings survived in later gothic/horror/fantasy books, paintings, movies and video games.

Here are some of my favorite Graveyard Scenes (click the pictures for more details!):

Continue reading The Graveyard Scene