Discussion: Buzz Words


Today I’d like to discuss the buzz words you hear that immediately make you want to read or watch something. You hear the description, and they say that one word that means you’re there. They don’t need to say anything else at all to hook you in. The best way to talk about this is to discuss my own. So let’s do that.

Priests. If I hear there are priests involved, I want it. The end. Nuns will do, too. I’m not Catholic. I was raised protestant, but I wouldn’t call myself practicing anymore. Why the instant, positive reaction? I think I’m fascinated by piety, by people who make the choice to forsake everything for this single cause. Something in me finds that really noble, and I gravitate toward those characters. Which also means I’m not really into the “evil priest” trope. I’m aware they exist in reality, but I’m more interested in priests and nuns as hero figures. If their faith is challenged, that’s also interesting, I admit. I also enjoy it when they’re badass in ways that maybe contradict church doctrine, but come on, we all want to see that.

The Circus. I’ve never been to a circus. I don’t want to go to the circus. I love reading about and watching films set in the circus. There’s something magical about it. In fact, it lends itself very easily to urban fantasy and magical realism, which are both great subgenres. I even love when the magic is peeled away and we see what a seedy, living-from-town-to-town life it really is. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of stories that play with this setting, but it means that I cherish the ones that do even more.

Werewolves. Vampires are horror’s golden children. Zombies were the fad for a long chunk of time. Werewolves have never really gotten their day in the… moon. They’ve always played second fiddle to some other creature, and I’d love to see a boom in werewolf fiction the way there was for vampires and zombies. I’d also just love to see anything with a werewolf that doesn’t automatically include a vampire, as if a werewolf can’t carry its own story. They work on so many levels. They’re bestial and horrifying, so they can bring the scares. They’re cursed and tragic, so they bring the pathos. They’re basically giant dogs, so they could be funny if you like. It seems anything can be turned into a romance, so that could happen, too. There’s a lot of potential that isn’t being tapped into is all I’m saying.

The Apocalypse. The idea of the world ending is one of the scariest things I can imagine, and there are many very real scenarios that could happen to the human race to facilitate that. So of course I’m fascinated by it, because I tend to be drawn to the things I’m most afraid of. Whether it’s realistic or totally bonkers, I love watching the end of all things with the last survivors struggling their way through a dying world. I don’t think there’s anything more compelling or dramatic for a story than that. Or sometimes there is no struggle and it’s just over. That’s much more nihilistic, but it’s also an interesting approach (re: Kurt Vonnegut).

Weird. “This was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.” Where is it? I need to watch it. “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever read.” Give it to me. Put it in my hands. “I didn’t even know what to think. What was this?” Let me have it! I love the bizarre. The more something sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard of before, the more likely I am to want to experience it immediately. I love originality. I love strangeness. I love people who take chances. Even when they fail and we’re all left scratching our heads, at least you can honestly say that was new and you’ve never seen its like. By far, this is what I look for, especially in books. I want to be stunned into laughter by wild risks.

This isn’t everything, of course, but these are the more out-of-the-way buzz words I have. That last is probably the most common guide I use in my entertainment choices. What are some of yours? Leave them in the comments. As always, happy geeking!

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