As much as I love so many books and movies (and really, stories in general), I’ve never been that active in fandom. I am pretty invested, however, in Marissa Meyer’s fantastical series of YA sci-fi fantasy retellings, The Lunar Chronicles. I’ve discussed the special place in my heart that these books hold for me elsewhere on this blog, but for the sake of keeping my long-windedness and redundancy to a minimum, let’s just say that Lunar New Year should totally be an important event in the TLC fandom. Especially since the main character is from futuristic Asia.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re my *favorite* books (even among book series with fandoms, Harry Potter has TLC beat), but they’re tremendous fun and Marissa Meyer’s wonderful blog was a huge inspiration for my own dreams of writing children’s fiction. I’m taking a Children’s Literature class this quarter, partly because I love the subject and the professor and largely because of my own writing plans. It’s my favorite class, and when the first paper prompts included an option to compare a “traditional” fairy tale with a modern remediation, I knew exactly what I would write about!
I have all the books except Fairest, but Winter is the only one I have in my NorCal apartment, so I chose that one to write about. My main point of discussion was how the series reflects modern trends, not just literary but also scientific and social, in updating the Brothers Grimm’s “Snow White” fairy tale for contemporary teen audiences. The shift from folklore to sci-fi reflects scientific advancement and popular current issues like space exploration and genetic engineering, but also the increased prominence of science fiction. Winter’s Blackness and the Earthen Union politics reflect contemporary globalization, as well as greater diversity in the United States. And of course, you can’t discuss The Lunar Chronicles without discussing kickass heroines and the rise of the feminist fairy tale. Lots of fun stuff!
I really get a kick out of writing about my favorite pop culture–one of my favorite papers ever was freshman year, which was basically an exercise in how many Back to the Future references I could cram in while still discussing the Journey of the Hero (I titled that essay “Follow Your Density”). I really enjoyed writing about the Marrying Mr. Darcy card game for my Jane Austen and Pop Culture paper last quarter. This actually isn’t the first paper I’ve written about The Lunar Chronicles –in AP English, we had an assignment to write about the book that most influenced us in high school, and I wrote a paper I (and my teacher, happily!) really loved about how Cinder might not be “better” than Franny and Zooey or Wuthering Heights per se, but how it got me out of a year long reading slump and how for that alone, I would always love it (which I was right about, if this post is any indication). To my surprise, though, this paper was harder than I expected!
For one, Winter is massive–800+ pages, which actually made it difficult to find particular passages or quotes to cite. I freaked in class when our professor noted that we can’t just cite general social trends, such as greater feminist consciousness, without supplying evidence. I spent the last few nights before the paper was due inserting footnotes and statistics to support my points–the successful crowdfunding on Kickstarter of The Princess Who Saved Herself, for example, and the increased marketing of Hollywood movies to China.
I was a little nervous turning this paper in, but I ended up getting an A, to my excitement! I’m still pretty psyched about the whole thing, to be honest. There’s a nice cyclical sort of quality–these books really inspired me to write children’s books, so I almost feel like I’m paying them their due in writing about them for Children’s Lit. And seriously, I wrote a college paper on The Lunar Chronicles. I’ll get over that eventually, but not soon.
If you haven’t read the books yet, definitely pick them up. And if (more likely) you stumbled onto this blog because, like me, you’re a Lunartic, let’s make Lunar New Year in The Lunar Chronicles fandom a thing.