Friday, 13 April 2012

A - Z Challenge: M is for Mermaid/Man/Folk and also for McCaffery, Anne

is for


        WHAT IS IT?

The word Mermaid is a joining of Mer, which is French for the sea and maid which is, of course, a girl or young woman.  Feel free to snigger when you combine the masculine.

Mermaids are known for their singing and also their habit of letting sailors fall in love with them before drowning them in the cold embrace of the oceans bosom.


You'll need to be prepared quite well for this one.  Fist off you'll need a boat but not just any ocean going vessel will do.  Your boat will have to be a wooden sailboat with enough of a deck that you can comfortably stand in order to look dashing and available [1]

Once you are out in the open ocean after several days of no water and being chased by all manner of sea going beasties  you should go to the deck  and throw all your efforts into looking lost and abandoned by the world.

This will eventually attract a mermaid who can then be caught by means of a special rope and pulley system the construction of which shall be the subject of a later post.

Assuming that you and the mermaid hit it off you'll need to be prepared for a life of seafood and impromptu musical numbers [2]
But it will all be worth it when you enter the office party with your trophy wife in your arm.  Lets see Mr Vice president top that!

If marriage is not to your liking then perhaps a working relationship would be mutually beneficial if you were prepared to switch careers and go into deep sea salvage.  With the use of Mermaids your overheads would be far below any of your competitors [3].


Upon obtaining a mermaid some people will place their prize in a travelling circus in order to make money from showing her to the public.
Do not do this!

Any mermaid in this situation will make friends with the other performers or a small group of children and a dog wh will help her to escape from your clutches and be delivered back to the ocean and her family.  No matter how hard you chase after them or what clever traps you devise you will only ever catch up with the escapees in time to see the mermaid waving goodbye and finally diving under the water. [4]


I'll stay away from the merfolk + hero = true love that can never be equation since it's pretty much being done to death [5] and simply say that, for good or ill, any encounter with merfolk is going to have an impact for the hero [6]

But if your not going to use the doomed romance angle how can you write the Mer?
They might be a more or less random monster guarding an underwater treasure that the hero needs.
Or rather than leaving them as sword fodder you might have the world being engulfed by water due to some outside force. [7]  Now that small village of merfolk who used to be second class citizens, little better than pets, are suddenly catapulted into importance and positions of real power.

If your writing in the present day perhaps there is some event that threatens the long hidden merfolk enough that they send an ambassador onto dry land to take their seat in the United Nations.

Remember, with politics comes treachery, scheming and delicious amounts of deviousness [8]


        PART II


is also for


For a long time if you wanted to read about dragons you were forced into the fantasy section where they were just big lizards who stole princesses and ate anyone who attempted to stop them.  They were invariably beaten by Sir Hero who would defeat the dragon and return the maiden to her family whereupon a party was thrown with feasting, cavorting and carefully supervised frolicking. [9]

But inside Anne Mccaffery's Chronicles of Pern the dragons certainly wouldn't do any of that stuff because they are much too busy trying to save the world from the thread that rains down upon the planet at narratively important times.

These dragons have voices and personality.  Above all they are friends to humanity and characters in their own right.
The one aspect that I wasn't fond of was when thread,  the main threat to the planet is eventually defeated; though I'll not say how because that would be mean, alot of the life seemed to go out of the riders and their dragons.
It wasn't that they were allowed to relax because there was still all sorts of adventures to be had but I liked the constant danger of threadfall.

I first got introduced to her work when I was in laid up in the hospital for and Red Star Rising was the ONLY book that was tolerable.  Every other book was either a romance novel that was all low cut dresses and a shirtless Fabio or gossip magazines.

I would recommend these books to anyone who likes a good sized novel with great depth for all the characters.

  1. You might have to practise this look in the mirror before setting out
  2. If Disney has taught us anything its that life is a series of impromptu musical numbers
  3. Although pirate ghosts and other such wacky encounters would be a weekly occurrence.
  4. If the people helping her were the other circus performers then, just to add insult to injury, they will quit enmasse.
  5. As we remember from our Hans Christian Anderson it usually ends in death.
  6. Yes, that sounds suitably vague.  I'd hate to think I was actually giving out anything helpful after all!
  7. That's a plot hook right there.  How did the Watering happen?  The gods?  Malicious intent?  Aliens?  Global warming brought about by the hole in the ozone layer?  It's up to you to decide.  (Only don't use that last one.  it's silly and could never really happen)
  8. Deliciousness being the international standard of measurement for deviousness.
  9. It's a wild generalisation I know but it serves the point well enough.

The melodious Meritorious Mouse,
who played a merry minuet on the


  1. Mermaids are cool! When that last "Pirates of the Carribean" came out, and the mermaid thing was going on, my daughter was like "Wait. What?" because she only knew of "The Little Mermaid", that Disney ani. with the singing crab. That was my fault though. But, I've had fun showing her how cool they can be, as baddies, now. Good post!

  2. The mermaids were one of my favourite parts of the Pirates Movies. That and Davy Johns beard were SQUEE moments for me.