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Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights

The Weird Tradition

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1frahealee
Edited: Sep 18, 2018, 12:55pm Top

The idea of spirits inhabiting snowflakes or storms or ice crystals is appealing enough. Does anyone know of short stories or novels where light is featured as the 'carrier/channel/medium'? Other than Brother Bear (2003) and Brother Bear 2 (2006) of course. Maybe even The Golden Compass (2007). I have seen that movie but not read the book(s). You'll have to forgive me, I've been watching children's entertainment for the past 20 years!

The mixture of the remote locales, the darkness, the waiting, the science, the magnetic fields, the colour and pulsing energy … makes my mouth water.

I understand there would be a lot of overlap territory here. Merely sourcing out specifics. Maybe it qualifies as more sci-fi theme, but in the absence of technology... ??!

2elenchus
Sep 18, 2018, 12:49pm Top

The Dust in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (and presumably later trilogy) features prominently in the Aurora Borealis.

3frahealee
Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 10:28am Top

>2 elenchus: Interesting description: the intersection of science, theology, magic. Have not read the trilogy myself, but The Subtle Knife is in our stock of books so someone must have given it as a gift to my boyos at some point.

Drummed up a copy of The Snow Walker (2003) with Barry Pepper, since I have never read the book and always wanted to do so. I've read a dozen by Farley Mowat's, but for some reason they don't show up in the 'Canadian' section of my tags (I don't know enough about LT yet to understand how these distinctions are made, since I entered my 200 books manually from memory). Knowing the ending already made me persevere but it is a long film with little dialogue. The experience is the critical factor, and assumed northern lights might have featured more prominently. Although they are glorious to behold, they are brief and not integral to the plot. A lovely poem is read over that scene by one of the characters, played by James Cromwell. Terrific casting in this movie, as Pepper grew up in Campbell River, hunting and fishing and farming. He gets the language of the terrain. It was filmed in BC & Nunavut & Churchill, Manitoba (polar bear country).

Bottom line, the indigenous nature of this film makes it disrespectful to call it 'weird' so I will keep searching, but I loved the flavour of this film. The bare bones approach to existence, and what happens when you're 'alone with your thoughts' for weeks on end. Is it madness, or is it the most rational you've ever been?

ETA: Found this quote from Never Cry Wolf (1983) which made me chuckle … Tyler: "I'd heard some of the tales about the Arctic: the mad trappers, Diamond Tooth Gertie, The Ice-Worm Cocktail and all that. So, I was prepared for things to be a little weird." (this actor went on to direct The Snow Walker 20yrs later)

4frahealee
Edited: Sep 21, 2018, 11:15am Top

Here is a site I prefer not to lose track of, so will post it here for posterity.

http://ewebtribe.com/NACulture/articles/aurora.html

https://www.nathab.com/articles/alaska-and-northern/churchill-northern-lights/na...

The themes of 'demons' and ghosts and stew pots have potential, if my research goes well ...

5elenchus
Sep 21, 2018, 11:06am Top

>4 frahealee:

I especially like the idea that one should only answer the Sky Dwellers in a whisper.

6frahealee
Edited: Sep 24, 2018, 5:31am Top

>5 elenchus: Yes, which in the movie The Snow Walker, he does not do initially, he rages at the forces against him, looking up into the sky, kicking the plane, pounding his fists into metal and into empty space and bellowing. He later learns the magnitude of silence in good and bad circumstance.

In The Wendigo, it seemed like lowering your voice would keep you off the radar of those who might be hunting you, not just the value of keeping quiet when hunting moose. Locals felt hunted while visitors felt larger than life with their excursion underway.

Jostled around some boxes/shelves of books this weekend, and voila, a copy of The Amber Spyglass. Made me grin. Might be a worthy chore next year, to uncover mysterious abandoned treasures belonging to my kids, and read them each in turn, to repack or relocate. Slows down my TBR list somewhat, but will prevent overlap. Nicholas Nickleby was here the whole time (since I noticed the 75Bks Grp assign it for January's group read) and I only just discovered it after buying it and The Old Curiosity Shop as ebooks. Ugh.

7WeeTurtle
Edited: Oct 27, 2018, 10:59pm Top

I've read The Golden Compass but not the other two. The film does a great job with the aesthetics but removes a lot of the significance of the dust and other things that I think would attach more meaning to the lights. I would definitely read it if you can nab a copy.

I haven't seen the idea much in print but it's once I've been musing on for a while, and have written a short piece that really doesn't go anyway, taking the idea that there are creatures living either in the lights or using them as pathways, which is why they flicker. Their reasons for coming to the Arctic I haven't figured out, but through the cracks in ice is one area. I picked up the idea a little from the Largos in the Guild Wars 2 video game, which are a deep sea race you don't see often. I can agree though, that the mix of dark, isolation, expanse, open sky and deep sea all make a ready mix for Weird, especially when you take into account things like Arctic Hysteria.

8Jarandel
Oct 28, 2018, 3:52pm Top

There would be Radix by A.A. Attanasio, post-apocalyptic sci-fi with the Voor as a people of light, or some kind of psychically-endowed cosmic rays, if I remember right.

Group: The Weird Tradition

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