Monday, February 06, 2017

Magic and the New Age



I suppose it's a mountain out of a molehill, but I've gotten feedback that one of my (rejected) urban fantasy stories had a "glib New Age" feel to it.  (To be fair, they didn't like the main character more than they didn't like the New Age feel.)

Years ago, "Mask Glass Magic," got dinged in one review for being New Age as well.   This is a head-scratcher because I'm basing my stories' magical systems on the magical ritual theory of Wicca, Dion Fortune's "The Mystical Qaballa," "Psychic Self-Defence," and (more loosely) "The Secrets of Dr. Taverner."   Mercedies Lacky would be another influence, and also Charles DeLint.  I've read New Age stuff like "The Celestene Prophecy," and "Shamanic Mysteries of Egypt," which is completely different from what I'm trying to do.  

If we were talking about architecture instead of my stories, it would be like if I'd built an Art Deco apartment building, and someone said they didn't like an expanse of a concrete wall because it was too much in the Brutalist Style.  I get that the wall is the source of the negative critique, but I don't understand why.  My concern as a writer of fantasy with magic in it is that if people are going to not want to buy my stories because they're too New Age, then I need to present the magical system differently.  Luckily, I don't have this problem when I write science fiction.

Looking back at the latest story, there's some mention of ectoplasm, and tearing the veil between the worlds, and spells... but it's not like the characters are talking about writing checks to themselves signed "the law of attraction" or going on for pages about crystals from Atlantis.  One character does wear a magic sapphire -- but it's more a magical talisman than a power-crystal that heals chakras, attracts parking spaces, or aids with really good sex.  
Anyway, it's only one rejection and the meaning I should assign to it is that the editors didn't buy my story.  I'm still making the sideways Scooby-Doo face, though.
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