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The collected Fiction Inspirations for Mage: The Ascension

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  • The spaghetti western Nobody. A euthanatos gets a near retired gun fighter to meet his destiny.

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    • The 2019 film Eli is obviously
      as close as it gets to portraying two nascent Widderslaintes. I especially liked how the mother ended up as a loyal, car-driving Dregvat.
      Last edited by Muad'Dib; 03-15-2021, 12:10 PM.

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      • Jujutsu Kaisen, an anime about a group of students at a Tokyo school for exorcists who master the use of cursed energy techniques in order to battle malevolent curse spirits which prey on people. Most of them work well as interesting ideas for Akashic (especially Jnani) or Dreamspeakers.



        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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        • Since Victorian Mage has been successfully funded, I figured it'd be fun to talk a little about that.

          My go-to recommendation for the period is always Anne Perry's historical mystery novels. She has two series, the William Monk one that starts in the 1856 with Face of a Stranger, and the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt one that starts in 1881 with The Cater Street Hangman. One of the reasons I like these books, besides the excellent period detail, is that it presents Victorian British society from a number of different perspectives, especially that of women, and shows how things like gender and class background can tend to color a person's take on things. There's also a strong focus on empathy for ones fellow human beings.

          The other is Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell's hefty tome of a graphic novel, From Hell, which deals with the Ripper Murders as an occult-inspired killing. An entire chapter is devoted to a walking tour of occult London, and the book includes copious footnotes in the back explaining a lot fo stuff and showing where it was researched. (There's also a short bit talking about the history of Ripper research and why at this point its highly unlikely the true culprit will ever be identified.) There is a film adaption (staring Johnny Depp of all people), but it's almost an adaption in name only, having butchered (npi) the story and dumbed it down considerably.

          I also really enjoy George MacDonald Fraiser's Flashman novels. The main character was originally a minor bully character in the period novel Tom Brown's Schooldays, and Fraiser presents him as now grown up, having turned into a total cad, coward and opportunist, who somehow manages to connive his way to glory and fortune around the world (the books range all over the place from Bismarck's Prussia to the Crimean War to India and China to the American Civil War and Wild West). The books are as much a tour of the period and its events as they are a mockery of the 19th century British class system and its attitudes, and also a little bit of a pastiche/parody of James Bond films and their imitators. (I find myself hearing the main character's narrative voice as that of Michael Caine.) There is a film, Royal Flash, starting Malcolm McDowell, from the mid-70s.

          Caleb Carr's The Alienist, in which the latest in turn of the century psychology and criminal forensics is applied to a serial killer case in New York City. Again, it's one of those things rich in period detail. And it has had a recent tv series adaption.

          Michael Crichton's The Great Train Robbery, which is one of his few historical novels. This one involves one of the early efforts to rob a train in 19th century England. Crichton also directed the film version, which stars Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland.

          Sir Arther Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories are world famous. They've also had countless adaptions over the past century. Of special interest for Mage is the 2009 film, starting Robert Downey Jr, which sees the titular hero up against a self-proclaimed occultist. Also worth watching are the 1939 Hound of the Baskervilles with Basil Rathbone, the 1985 Young Sherlock Holmes (which also involves a cult with occult overtones), and the recent anime Moriarty the Patriot, which flips the usual scrips on its head and presents the archvillain as an antihero trying to tear down Victorian Britain's hypocritical and immoral social structures to create what he sees as a more just society.

          HG Wells is probably the most well known period English science fiction writer. Of special interest are his novels The Invisible Man, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The First Men in the Moon, and The Time Machine, as well as short stories such as The New Accelerator, The Land Ironclads, The Argonauts of the Air, The Man Who Could Work Miracles, and The Crystal Egg.

          James Clavel's Tai-Pan is about the establishment of two rival trade companies in post-Opium War Hong Kong and the long standing animosity and conflicts between the two company heads during the 1840s. Also his Gai-Jin, which is set in Japan during the 1860s and deals with both the foreign community in Yokohama and the Japanese government's efforts to deal with having been forcefully opened up to Western trade and potential exploitation.

          In the realm of non-fiction, Ruth Goodman's How to be Victorian is an excellent overview of period mindsets and culture.



          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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