Doing research for the speculative

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It’s pretty much a given that if you’re a writer you’re going to have to do research for whatever you’re writing about. The biggest issue I find with this is if I’m writing speculative fiction, how can I research the impossible? I often find that browsing the internet (often on google images or wikipedia) can help get the creative juices flowing. If ideas don’t click, maybe looking at something similar or reading about something I want to refer back to, or just something that’s on my mind, may give me something to work with, or even take my writing in a new direction. Recently, this has involved reading about, and looking at pictures of spiders and snakes, albino people and animals, weird things that might help with the weird things I’m trying to write about. I’ve even occasionally googled some shit that — if I weren’t a writer — would make me look like a begginer arsonist. The lastest task that’s been set out before me is a workshop assignment where I’ve got to write a story based on the tarot archetype, ‘the moon’. The card looks like this:

From here, I googled a series of images that jump to my mind as interesting and unusual depictions of the moon. Such as the classic moon-face from the George Méliès film, A Trip to the Moon.

The Mighty Boosh parody,

and the Smashing Pumpkins tribute.

Then there’s the creepy as fuck Majora’s Mask moon,

and the just-as-creepy moon from Soul Eater (although I think the sun may be slightly creepier).

A further googling of “moon face” gave me this,

which reminded me of this smug bastard.

And then this Australian celebrity appropriately referred to as “moonface”.

And I ended up looking at a once-off character from Cowboy Bebop, Pierrot Le Fou, who has all the characteristics, the illusion, the fear, and anxiety, of the moon in human form.

So, what does this tell me about the moon? And, more importantly, what does this tell me about how the moon is represented in speculative fiction? For one thing, whenever the moon is worth remembering, it’s because THERE’S A FUCKING FACE ON IT.  For another, it’s always smiling or frowning or staring down at you. It’s creepy as fuck. I’m thinking for this workshop assignment I might end up creating a human character and give them the characteristics of the moon. Those last few images came after I decided I wanted to bind the moon in human flesh, and I wanted to figure out what that might look like. I’ve seen those images before, but it helps to come back to them from this context. I also cross referenced films and characters and such on wikipedia as I went along, to round things out. But really, in addition to the card itself, these images have given me a pretty good starting point for my own speculative interpretation of the moon. Of course I’m not going to blatantly rip off this or that, but I often find with speculative fiction that this method of procrastination research can help when I’m struggling for words.

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2 thoughts on “Doing research for the speculative

  1. Haha! I’ve always thought that Rummicub face was smug! I’ve probably spelt it wrong but I never liked playing that game because the face creeped me out.

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