Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Importance of Buddies (Plus Give-away!)

Giveaway Result:

Now I "think", if I've got this right, that Ilona is the only commenter eligible for the giveaway (since it would be just a tad naff if we Supe authors started giving the swag to each other. ;-) )

So that, Ilona, makes you the lucky winner--i
f you email me through my website, contact[at]helenlowe[dot]info I'll arrange to get your winnings in the post to you!

And otherwise--see you all again next month! :)


The Supernatural Underground is about books. Statement of the obvious, huh? Which means that it’s also about storytelling, which is cool—well, I think so anyways! :)

But the Supernatural Underground is also about buddies. We’re a whole bunch of writers who hang out here because we all love what we do, and also love the opportunity to spend time with you—other folk who love paranormal/fantasy/SF as much as we do.

So because it’s Halloween, and because her hot new title Feast is about Halloween, I’ve been delighted to have my Supe buddy, Merrie Destefano, guesting on my “ … on Anything, Really” blog about how she personally gets in the mood for the 31 October festivities. It’s a fun post, so I hope you’ll head on over and check it out, here.

Here’s the thing though, reading Merrie’s post and generally being in October 31st mode made me think about what my favourite Halloween show might be. And because I’m predictable (I know, sad, isn’t it?) I decided that it really had to be the “Halloween” ep of Buffy, Season 2. Which got me thinking about Buffy and why I like the show—what is the magic, really? I wondered. Because, if I’m honest, a lot of the shows are kinda silly. A lot of fun, too, of course, but still …

The fun and vampyre slayage are both definitely important, but I don’t think they’d have kept me viewing for seven seasons. When I reflected some more on what did, I decided it was mainly about the buddies—the friends around the central Buffy character and the ups and downs of all their stories. That was the bit that was like real life—and maybe what kept my disbelief suspended and me watching the show.

Of course this got me thinking about all the other stories where the buddies are part of what makes the story rock. Star Wars is an obvious—with Artoo Detoo and See-Threepio, the wookie Chewbacca, and even Han Solo originally appears as the ‘lovable rogue’ sidekick to the na├»ve hero, Luke Skywalker. Friendship is the heart of another Joss Whedon series, Firefly, with the war buddy team of Captain Mal and Sophie forming the core of the ragtag crew. In another SF series, Babylon 5, friendship—both within the human crew and across species—is the tie that binds the show’s 5 seasons together. Again, in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson shapeshifter series, it is Mercy’s friendships within the paranormal world, as much as her lovers, that empower her—and the same could be said of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse.

We love buddy stories and buddies are a big part of what makes paranormal/fantasy/SF stories rock—just, I suspect, as they are a big part of what makes life rock.

So how about you? What do you think? Have a favourite buddy story, from a book or real life, to tell?

And because we’re all HarperCollins authors here, I’ve got some HC swag to giveaway to a lucky commenter: a Voyager Worldcon bag with a matching HarperVoyager keyring, lanyard and 15th anniversary badge.

Just post your buddy comment here to go in the draw. You can earn points by

+1 Linking to this post on Twitter
+1 Linking to this post on Facebook
+1 Linking to the Supernatural Underground blog on your own blog/website
+1 for also commenting on Merrie Destefano’s post on my Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, here.

(Don’t forget to post the total number of points that you’ve earned in your comment!)

Eligibility will close at midnight, US Eastern Standard Time, September 2—just before my next Super(-natural) colleague is due to post. I will then post the result here so don’t forget to check back. And have fun!


Supernatural Underground author Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet and interviewer. Her latest novel, The Heir of Night, the first of THE WALL OF NIGHT quartet, is published in the USA, UK, and internationally and recently won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2011 for Best Novel. Her first novel, Thornspell, is published in the US by Knopf. Helen blogs every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really site and on the first day of every month right here on the Supernatural Underground.


Merrie Destefano said...

Hi, Helen! Great post (and don't enter me in your fab giveaway, even though I'm seriously drooling over those prizes).

My fave buddy movie of all time was ALIEN MINE, a 1985 movie starring Dennis Quaid and Lou Gosset Jr. I loved it because it was the first time I saw a movie where the love story was between two friends, who were actually mortal enemies in the beginning. I need to buy that movie in DVD. I've lost count of how many times I've watched it on a VHS tape.

And thanks again for inviting me to do a guest post on your blog. It was way fun!

Nicole Murphy said...

Hi Helen

What a fabulous insight - I love all those shows and movies as well and you're right - it is the fabulous relationships between the characters that keeps me coming back.

Wow - I've just learnt a whole lot about why I watch what I watch. Thanks :)


Helen Lowe said...

Hi Merrie--I love your Halloween guest post--all those great movies for getting into the Halloween mood (although we're already getting into Guy Fawkes mode over here!)

I also love the idea of "Feast" being a Halloween story. As a festival it offers such a lot to more paranormal stories in terms of dark spookiness! Which is maybe why I have woven it into one of my 'works in progress" (outside the WALL series though, so it may be some time before it gets 'out there', lol.)

I haven't seen 'Alien Mine' but I I shall have to check it out!

Helen Lowe said...

Nicole, in the final analysis all stories are about relationship of some kind, aren't they? Even 'man alone' stories are about the absence of relationship--but then the dog (eg I Am Legend) will come along and suddenly it's a buddy story after all! :) And aren't all war stories buddy tales in a way?

Of course, the first Star Wars movie had it all--the romance, the buddies, the mentor, the great enemy ... ;-)

zzebra138 said...

I'm currently rewatching NCIS and love how the team interacts and is there for each other from Kate staying with DiNozzo when he had the plague to Ziva bonding with Abby. And everyone giving McGee a hard time.

Don't enter me in the draw.

Terri Garey said...

And this is why we're buddies. Not only do I love and adore Buffy and Firefly, but ALIEN MINE is one of my all-time favorite movies ( which few people have ever heard of)! I've seen it at least five times.

Great post, Helen!

Helen Lowe said...

zzebra--staying with someone who has plague is definitely 'a friend in need.' We all love those stories!

Helen Lowe said...

Thanks, Terri--I am one of those people who haven't seen 'Alien Mine' but I'm going to check it out! And although it's hard to beat watching Buffy on TV, I have been reading the graphic novel series that follows-on from the end of Angel Season 5--and really enjoying them, in part because there's plenty of side stories and tie-ins for the different buddies.

Kim Falconer said...

Helen, you're a Mercy Thompson fan! Me too! I love her friendship with Stefen in particular. Patricia Briggs' vamps are 'creepier' than others (like The Vampire Diaries on the CW-a fav of mine too) but that makes the very real care Mercy has has for him and other 'dangerous' characters like the 'fairy' ilk all the more interesting.

I think I always go for the connections in the story. That's what really lights me up no matter how cool and convoluted the plot. I've recently read Elizabeth Knox's Dreamhunter duet and LOVED it for all of Laura's family and friends, and 'creations', as well as the ridiculously original premise.

Merrie, I haven't seen Alien Mine but I want to now!

I've always thought that because as humans we're hardwired to connect with 150 'others' that series and films and shows with characters we can really get to know over time make up for the isolation in our lives. We need them. We want them, and a good series can fulfill us in that magical way!

Thank you for bringing this to mind! Great post!

felinewyvern said...

Like Merrie my favourite buddy movies is Alien Mine. I remember that I wasn't sure about watching it for two reasons.

One, I'm not big on movies as i prefer to read books and two it was based on one of my favourite stories and I was scared it wouldn't do the written word justice. I was wrong - it's a wonderful film and you really need to try and watch it yourself.

Helen Lowe said...

Kim, I am a Mercy Thompson fan! Although somewhat of a latecomer--it was a blog article earlier this year titled (fittingly given this post) "Mercy and Her friends In My Back Yard" (here's the link: http://www.orbitbooks.net/2011/04/20/mercy-and-her-friends-in-my-back-yard/) that made the books a 'must read' for me. But I haven't looked back since! Interestingly, my MM ('Main Man' or "Mere Male' depending on the circumstances ;-) ) is also a Mercy fan (I often have to hide the new books from him until I've read them first!)

The Dreamhunter duology "is" intriguing--the sheer idea of it is so amazing, too, and the world building is tremendous.

I feel you're right about connection, Kim. Maybe that's why the buddy theme is so prevalent in war stories--we need to affirm that there's something more than the carnage, brutality and death, & buddies/mateship/friendship are life affirming. And although passion and romance may be the icing on the cake, often its the friendships that are the leaven--like the friendship between Jane and Elizabeth Bennett in Pride & Prejudice (they're sisters, sure, but the only two of the five who are also friends) and also between Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas--and a big part of what supports the focal story around Elizabeth and Darcy.

Helen Lowe said...

Ilona, I think you have just given Alien Mine the final little nudge and made it a 'must watch' for my weekend!

Kim Falconer said...

Helen, that is so true about friendship in the times of despair and danger. Think of LOTR and the hobbits!

Ilona, I'm with what Helen said. I have to watch Alien Mine. Where do we get it? DVD? I'll have a hunt!

Helen Lowe said...

Am sure my video hire store will have it 'somewhere', Kim--even if I have to hunt a bit!

felinewyvern said...

sorry for mix up on title but you can get the DVD of Enemy Mine here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Enemy-Mine-DVD-Dennis-Quaid/dp/B000065UHC/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1320313799&sr=1-1

Dakota Banks said...

I was wondering what I missed in this movie everyone was talking about, "Alien Mine." Oh! So it's "Enemy Mine," and I highly recommend it too. A wonderful post, Helen! I'd like to thank all my Harper buds for their awesomeness. :)

Helen Lowe said...

Ilona, thanks for the clarification--it's on my 'hunt for' for Saturday night viewing with popcorn, a glass (or two!) of wine, and probably something chocolate--and my feet up, of course!

Helen Lowe said...

Thanks, Dakota--glad you could drop by! And nice to hear you recommend the movie, too. :)