Okay, here’s how sixty minutes of aimless wandering on the internet can take you places you never thought you’d go. And not necessarily in a good way.
First, I was checking out the entertainment sites. Because I do that. Starting off with Ain’t it Cool News and Newsarama, in which both report that Edgar Rice Burroughs’ JOHN CARTER OF MARS series has been cast. Taylor Kitsch will be playing John Carter, while Lynn Collins will be taking on the scantily clad role of Dejah Thoris. This is not earth shattering news to me, though like others, I have trouble imagining Kitsch (no matter how handsome he is) doing “battle with a sea of 15 foot-tall alien warriors” for Collins—in what I feel are both, well, iconic roles. I mean, it’s like all those movie adaptations of Tarzan. Who are you ever going to find who can really, really, pull that off? Some things are better left in your head, or on the page.
Or left to Frank Frazetta, whom I naturally think of as I’m reading all that movie gossip about John Carter. Now, for those who don’t know who Frazetta is, then you need to get yourself on Google and do a search on the man—if you like illustrative art, of epic fantasy proportions, that is. I mean, this guy is responsible for all the iconic looks of Conan the Barbarian, John Carter and Dejah Thoris, bloody battles, monsters, (mostly naked) warrior maidens, warrior men (in space), and so on, and so on. Really cool stuff.
So I’m cruising around, checking out his art, and I come upon this one page (the official Robert E. Howard forum, no less) that’s talking about how the costumes in Star Wars were designed off of Frazetta’s work. Interesting. I peruse, and suddenly see this line:
“I researched this a bit online, and actually could find no historical precedent for anything resembling the “brass bra”. Apparently, the modern bra, or brassiere, only goes back to the late 1800s.”
Oh, the brass bra. To all my friends from high school, especially you, E. B., I remember that Princess Leia slave girl outfit you wanted me to wear to prom. Oh, yes. I do.
Which leads me to a) the history of the bra (1860s – Corsets come back in fashion with a vengeance. Severe corset “training” is common which reduces waists to such unhealthy levels that ribs and internal organs become deformed. Controversy over corseting health risks ensues), b) the history of brassieres (In ancient Egypt, women were generally bare breasted), and c) Roman bikini girls. Some of whom appear to be lifting weights and playing volleyball.
None of which has any bearing on the work I’m doing at the moment. Nor is there much of a point to anything I just wrote, except that the internet will eat your time like a chocolate sundae and spit the cherry pit in your face once you realize you’ve spent a nice sunny afternoon looking at illustrations of Conan the Barbarian, and reading about the history of women’s undergarments. Which, actually, is rather fascinating, especially if you’re considering work on a fantasy or historical novel. Or if, like, you’re a girl and actually have to wear the things.
Okay, back to work. For real, this time. Stayed tuned to the blog or twitter, because tomorrow part two of Grant’s letter will be released at Tor.com—and a new contest will begin!