Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Conjure Wife

Episode 37: Conjure Wife
Fritz Leiber is probably best known to fantasy fans as the creator of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, but he was also an accomplished author across a myriad of pulp formats. In his 1943 novel Conjure Wife, he creates a world that is only modern on its surface, where behind every great academic is an equally great witch. When sociologist Norman Saylor discovers his wife's occult activities, he convinces her to stop her conjuration. Shortly thereafter, a series of terrible coincidences--or is it black magic?--start to turn his world upside down.
What are the risks of being the big bohemian on campus? What are some of the ways authors keep magic magical in their stories and stop if from being just another form of science? What do this book's witches think about astrology? And what is up with the sexy college gown striptease? All these questions and more will be answered in this episode of Bad Books for Bad People.
BBfBP theme song by True Creature 
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  1. "he convinces her to stop her conjuration"

    False. When sociologist Norman Saylor discovers his wife's occult activities, he begins researching a book-length ethnography of her coven, starting himself on a trajectory that will culminate, two decades later, in a magnum opus that reveals the magickal America hidden behind the wainscoting, its publication fortuitously timed to coincide with the election of America's first Wiccan president in 1964.

    Entrelaced between chapters documenting the rise of Dr Saylor's career in academia and Mrs Saylor's rock-star status in the Witch World, Leiber presents an alternate history of American sociology, where the early influence of feminism and witchcraft radically alters the course of academic history. Beginning with the failure of the Chicago School to establish its dominance and the marginalization of Talcott Parsons, Leiber imagines a new academy, combining the actual words of historically-marginalized sociologists with his own (indistinguishable) prose to weave a seamless vision of magickal sociology.

  2. I think the Downard crossover is Our Lady of Darkness A++

  3. What I learned form this episode: Don't use magic powers to cure your husband of pneumonia or Pre-Malone69 will take you to B/X-BDSM Mars.