Fantasy bears many children and loves them all, heads, tails, wings, jaws, beaks, two legs, four legs, five and an input console. Magic and technology marry to make aliens; words (e)merge to make new monikers. A complete classification of templates may be impossible, but spotting patterns can be fun as a reader and helpful as a writer.
I’ve picked three basic categories: shape-shifters, cross-breeds, and beautiful frankensteins. Three is a fairytale ideal number. Also, Kafka’s complete short stories provide three fun examples.
Today: the shape-shifters.
Dracula and the vampiric model come to mind: man, cloud of bats, mist. The fictional traits of blood-suckers in fiction are tabulated extensively on Wikipedia.
The w-s yield werewolves, wizards, and witches.
Evil masquerading as good or the duality of the two is well-suited to flipping between forms like in Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
More recently there’s Pennywise the Clown form Stephen King’s It, Mystique from the X-Men Comics, Terminator from Hollywood, and all manner of decanting from body to body, like in Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon.
However, mythologies did it first. Continue reading