Namely, getting things wrapped up for the work client; very little time, and probably none tomorrow. On the other hand, you’ve gotten a couple thousand words out of me already this week, and I imagine you’re good with a light day or two.
So let me give you one thing that’s caught my (rapidly skimming in between work obligations) eye today, as it combines two of my favorite things: respect for fairy tales and Ursula Vernon. She’s offering up some old-school European tales (complete with Aarne-Thompson type codes) with her own commentary, complete with keen observations that sometimes you can’t tell who the protagonist is, who the adversary is, and how sometimes either or both switch back and forth from magnanimous to malevolent, or clever to stupid:
All those who think that the prince will have learned to listen to the absurdly competent Master-maid and will be very sure not to break his promise, raise your hand!
Okay, if your hand is raised, you have failed Fairytales 101. Please report to the office for our remedial class, entitled “Why We Do Not Insult Old Women At Wells And Other Vital Lessons.”
That would be from The Master-Maid, which I’m certain I’ve never read before, but which seemed oddly familiar in places (Aarne-Thompson type 313), and which offers up a casual reference to an unexplained artifact/creature/I don’t know and assumes we should recognize it:
Okay, forget the rest of the story, what the heck is a river-sucker? And how is it so completely common that the storyteller doesn’t even bother to explain—”You know, a river-sucker, jeez, what’re you, dumb?”—as if they’re as common as horses, stables, and porridge.
I don’t know what a river-sucker is, but I halfway expect one to show up in Øyvind Thorsby’s Hitmen for Destiny¹. The other, shorter tale is The Blue Light (Aarne-Thompson type 562, which I recognized as a variation of The Magic Tinderbox), which is a stellar example of story where the “hero” has some real dick tendencies. Good times!
Okay, I lied, one other thing to recommend to you: Lore Sjöberg (proprietor of Wired magazine’s Alt Text, the sadly-offline Bad Gods, and the least creepy white cargo van in the country) has managed to resurrect his most famous endeavour, The Brunching Shuttlecocks! This means the return of most of Bandwidth Theater (including the much-beloved Kitchen Floor²), and many of the Lore Brand Lore comics. Significant portions of his work still await reconstruction after the devastation wrought by particularly malicious spammer/hackers³, but as the world is no longer lacking a short animation featuring a depleted-uranium beholder statue, who am I to complain?
¹ NB: Øvind Thorsby remains an awesome name, and that Hitmen for Destiny remains … challenging in its art.
² Warning: this short not only contains a depleted-uranium beholder statue, but also two (two!) of the most creative pieces of profanity that have ever been uttered. It’s glorious.
³ Or should that be “spammers/hacker”? Can I get a ruling, Ryan North?