Mark Teppo’s Unifying Theory of Urban Fantasy and Aleister Crowley’s Bad Rap

“Aleister Crowley gets a bad rap,” says Mark Teppo,  guest-blogging on Jeff VanderMeer’s Ecstaic Days. “As a fabulist,” continues Mark, “(Crowley has) a boundless imagination that is like quicksilver and lightning in a bottle. Yeah, I know, that verges on nonsensical, but whatever it is, it must be in constant motion, right? Violating all sorts of scientific principles of time and space. His writings on magick are the same way: mercurial, playful, serious, and completely incomprehensible to those who don’t devoted a good portion of their lives to deciphering them. Is he insane, or is he laughing at us? That’s a good question, and one that taunts me a great deal.
“Crowley is a nocturnal satyr who crouches on the end of your bed-not the footboard, the actual bed, so that you feel this odd weight on the mattress with you-and what wakes you up is this insistent tapping against the heel of your foot with his long fingernail. When you’re good and awake, he leaps off the bed, rips out all the plastic eyeballs from your childhood stuffed animals, grinds them into powder, snorts this line of your fractured childhood, defecates on the torn corpses, and then leaps out the window. ‘Follow me, Darling!’ he cries, warbling like a night bird. ‘Follow me!’ “
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From November 24 through 29, Teppo logged fun and insightful dispatches from the world of urban fantasy. I recommend reading them all, but here’s a good excerpt from the day on which Mark unveiled his Unifying Theory of Urban Fantasy:
“Urban fantasy is about power, and how that power is manifested and manipulated (i.e., “magic”). It is about how the world is really different than we think it is. When we sleep at night, that which slumbers during the day awakens, and that includes our own secret selves. Joseph Campbell, in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, his landmark examination of the structure of myth, argues that the protagonist, having been selected to be the hero, must leave the normal world and travel into the world of myth in order to pursue his quest.”
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