From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Category Archive for ‘Non-Fiction’ rss


Gamer+Girl: How to Get Your Girlfriend into Gaming

1. Consider dating someone who is already a gamer

Seriously. If you have a strong interest in gaming (or anything else), doesn’t it make sense to pursue people with similar hobbies? One of the things that baffles me the most about the “How to Get Your Girlfriend into Gaming” lists is that they generally proceed from the assumption that “Your Girlfriend” not only doesn’t like any of the things you like, but might actually even hate them. Why would you date this person?

3. Don’t be an elitist jerk

I am saying this fondly as one geek to others: You know that thing you do where you show off how awesome you are to your friends by challenging them to provide the correct answers to (often very obscure) trivia questions? It’s not attractive.



This morning some gremlins got into our system, delaying Blog for a Beer and then making the comment section go away. Sorry, we forgot not to feed them after midnight. All has been fixed — hopefully for good!


Why the Twilight Series Bugs Me

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try Stephanie Meyer’s NYT-bestselling young adult series, Twilight. I ran through the first two books fast enough that I went to get the other two in order to find out what happened. In many ways, they are well-constructed books of their type. (Lest anyone think that my […]


Stargate: Atlantis’ Rachel Luttrell

Rachel Luttrell is an African-born Canadian actress currently best known for her role as Teyla Emmagan on Sci-Fi channel’s Stargate: Atlantis. In broad strokes, Teyla is an alien warrior who, through her contact with the Atlantis team from Earth, takes on an active role in the fight against the Pegasus galaxy’s Big Bad: The Wraith. It would easy to write her off at the Atlantis version of SG-1’s Teal’c, but from the very beginning Luttrell impressed viewers with her range and skill. Teyla quickly became a fan favorite as Luttrell proved her to be much more than the simple “Noble Warrior” archetype.

Before landing the role on Atlantis, Luttrell earned her geek cred guest starring on Charmed and Forever Knight. Before that she studied ballet, piano, and voice in some of Canada’s most prestigious arts institutions. She’s a triple threat–but Atlantis fans are glad she stuck with acting.

With the show coming to an end, we asked Jacqueline Gross to talk with Rachel about Teyla’s evolution, how the show has changed both character and actress, and her plans for the future.


Eight Reasons You Should be Downloading the First Season of “The Middleman”

1. The Middleman. The milk-swilling superman (whose real name is as yet unknown) is a hero from another era – an era when “What the monkey?” counted as profanity. In between teaching protégé Wendy Watson the finer points of world-saving, he dispenses homespun advice like, “The next time we trap a rampaging pig-insect hybrid from another galaxy that accidentally gets loose in custody, you should shoot after it gets out of the car.” (Helpful advice, by the way.) As the Middleman, Matt Keeslar deftly establishes the tone of the show – right along the line between being the butt of the joke and being in on it. He inhabits the character so fully that it’s hard to imagine he’s not actually the Middleman, and in a show overrun with flying zombie trout, such verisimilitude can be hard to come by.

4. Technical support. Whether it’s Ida the irascible android assistant, Lacey the activist roommate, Pip the landlord’s insufferable poseur son, or Roxy Wasserman the ex-succubus fashionista, there’s never a dull character in Wendy’s life. Though Mary Pat Gleason and Brit Morgan give the slyest performances, knocking every line reading out of the park, there’s enough awesome floating around any given B-plot to make a steaming hot cauldron of awesome soup. (What? Awesome soup is delicious!) Often the show’s best world-building is done in these B-plots; while The Middleman and Wendy are wrestling zombie trout, Lacey is navigating the rough waters of Art Crawl and trying to keep Pip from delivering his hour-long performance piece “Hey Mr. God.” Warning: his performance scene will induce acid flashbacks in anyone who endured art school.

6. The Middleman and Wendy. In this case, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Middleman and Wendy have quickly formed one of sci-fi’s best adventure teams, on par with Scully and Mulder (presuming Mulder ever exclaimed “My little pony!” when times got tough). Their partnership is based on mutual respect and genuine friendship, and though they’re more buddy-cops than longing-gazes, their chemistry effortlessly sells the show every week.


Unbreakable Habits: Heroes Returns

Around this time last year, I and millions of other fans were excited about the Heroes season two premiere. The first season was pretty amazing, usually well-written, sported a great cast, and generally convinced everyone it was made of awesome. The season-long storyline, the inclusion of many women and people of color, and the geeky X-Men homages made the audience eager for more.

But what we got in season two was a steaming pile of crap. It took most people a little while to realize it, as each episode revealed more horrors and systematically dismantled much of what was good about the first season. The writer’s strike put an early end to the mess and creator Tim Kring seemed to recognize what was not working. So it was with cautious optimism that I began Heroes season three, which premiered on Monday. We were treated to two episodes — a whole two hours of Heroes.

Two hours I will never get back.


Favorite Characters From Genre Literature?

Ask any geek who their all-time favorite characters are and they can rattle off at least 5 within seconds. But how many of the characters they mention are from books? Sure, TV and movie characters tend to be sticky — they have an attractive actor or actress attached to them, they utter catch phrases with a quirky smile, they grace billboards and magazines and show up on talk shows. When was the last time Valentine Michael Smith verbally sparred with John Stewart?

Still, there are plenty of great characters who captured our hearts, imagination, and admiration who’ve never set foot outside the pages they were born in. Off the top of my head, I have a deep affection for Uther Doul from Mieville’s The Scar, Tommy, Captain of the Maidenhead from Valente’s Orphan’s Tales, Katherine Campion from Kushner’s Privilege of the Sword, and Miles Vorkosigan from numerous Bujold books.

Top ten lists are such the rage these days, but let’s see if we can go even further. Name 5 – 10 of the most memorable, awesome characters from genre literature. Characters you loved or hated or wanted to be or, most importantly, would want by your side in a fight (even if they’re only there to figure out a clever way to escape from said fight). We’re looking for the top 30 most amazing genre characters of all time. But are there even 30? Only you can say.


Lit and Blog News: WisCon Founder Interviewed, Horror Circa 1987, “Genius” Comic

And More


Guest Column: Five Thoughts On The Popularity Of Steampunk

1. It’s Geekery The Genders Can Share

On the most basic, most appealing social level, steampunk is a way to masculinize romance. That is to say: Steampunk takes something stereotypically feminine that most boys hate — Victorian lace and frills and tea and crumpets — and says, “Hey, how about some robots with that?”


Crossing Lines: Stargate Atlantis — Full Speed Ahead

Most of you have probably already heard that this season will be the last for Stargate Atlantis and it’s truly a shame because this season has featured some of the best episodes that I can remember – mainly because the team is a team again. One of my major quibbles with the show during season 3 was that John Sheppard and Rodney McKay were constantly spotlighted which took away from the rest of the cast and from the team dynamic of the show. What started as an ensemble was drifting into a show that featured two of the characters above all the others. It wasn’t something I enjoyed and is one of the reasons I stopped watching.

Well, I don’t know what exactly happened but all the episodes of Season Five so far have had a much better balance and work to develop all the characters instead of just a select few.

In The Seed, an organic alien virus has made its way into the city and is taking over Dr. Keller. We not only got a little bit of the Rodney/Keller/Ronon triangle that seems to be one of the arcs the season but also a little insight into the Wraith organic-tech because the whole point of the “virus” is to take over systems and create a new hive ship with Keller as the living brain. The episode also served as the return of Dr. Carson Beckett. Well, his clone returned from stasis, but since all the characters seem to be ignoring the fact that the real Carson died — in one of the most absurd ways ever (exploding tumors!) — I suppose I can do the same. Even though Carson returns to earth at the end of the episode I really hope we see more of him and his sketchy, sketchy genetic experiments and lack of scientific ethics in the coming season.