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…
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.
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…
…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.
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!):