One of the most common refrains I hear about the entertainment industry is that Hollywood is just recycling old stories. There’s never anything new. Anything fresh or creative. It’s all just sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots. While I can’t exactly argue with the fact that Hollywood blockbusters are now primarily franchise instalments, I don’t agree with the idea that the entertainment industry needs to create wholly original stories to stay culturally relevant. Of course, part of this hinges on your definition of original. But a larger part hinges on the fact that there are no new stories. Culturally, there is a finite number of the different types of stories available to be told. But there are infinite ways in which to tell them. That’s the key. Today’s short story by KM Szpara is the perfect example of this.
“Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” is at its core a story about vampires. A man gets bitten by a vampire and faces the fallout of this event. It’s the same story that has been told countless times in countless stories about vampires. What makes this story unique is that the man in question is a transgender man. Meaning that dealing with the fallout of getting bitten by a vampire also involves dealing with what happens when a body that has already undergone an extraordinary transformation is suddenly forced to undergo another one. It’s a fascinating look at a classic story, and I absolutely loved it.
In fact, I will be the first to admit that I’m not normally drawn to stories about vampires. I have nothing against them, they just don’t normally pique my interest. And yet I wanted to read this one as soon as I heard about it, because it was coming at it from a completely new angle. One that frankly I had never even considered before. But that just made it all the more interesting. Add in the fact that KM Szpara sprinkles in a healthy dose of world-building, including the Federal Vampire Commission and the Blood Offenders Registry, and all I can say is that I was hooked.
There are so many ways to tell a story. So many perspectives and voices. So the next time anyone tries to tell you that Hollywood has run out of ideas, don’t believe them. Hollywood has just run out of ways to tell the same story from the same perspective. Once you look a little further afield, the possibilities are endless.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!