From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Category Archive for ‘Non-Fiction’ rss


Puppet Strings: Michael Greenhut

Watermark is actually a small drop in a very large pond, pardon the pun. Years ago, I wrote a novel called The Memory Graveyard and planned several more, all of which I still hope to publish one day. It was a pretty involved epic with quite a few character arcs and backstories. One of the supporting characters was Etinaye, who eventually became the protagonist of Watermark. So, I pretty much had her story down in my head, and some of it in words, before I told this part of it…


Unbreakable Habits: The Lonely God is a Jerk

This year at WisCon, the feminist science fiction convention, I was on a panel called Martha Jones: Made of Awesome or Disappointing Stereotype? I had hoped we would explore the different fan reactions to the way the writers handled Martha’s character, story arcs, and race. The panel didn’t turn out as I expected, but something Chris Hill said sparked a thought. He mentioned feeling that the Doctor’s character was uneven–sometimes he’s incredibly cruel and judgmental and other times he’s compassionate and reluctant to do harm. My response was that I didn’t see this as unevenness, I saw it as purposeful part of his character. I truly feel, particularly after the events of Season 4, that the writers want us to think that the Doctor is a complicated and deeply flawed person. He is, to be blunt, a jerk…


An Atypical Princess: Ashelia B’Nargin Dalmasca

Female video game characters began as either the prize, the motive or the vixen, and then settled into supportive roles. Currently, video game ladies struggle to break free of the “hot and deadly” shell of a male audience. Princess Ashelia B’Nargin Dalmasca deviates from the stereotypical female role with her powerful personality and abilities in Final Fantasy XII and empowers females, gamers and characters alike.

Princesses in video games rarely appear without a typical entourage: gallant princes, castles and flowing dresses. Pursuing these princesses are devious, not-as-pretty women and arrogant, ill-intentioned men. FFXII’s Ashe does not carry such baggage; a refreshing and much needed change.


Firespinning to Firebird’s Child

Check out this great video of firespinners by Blueyed Beccer. It’s set to the song “Firebird’s Child” by S. J. Tucker, which was inspired by Catherynne M. Valente’s Orphan’s Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice


Native Tales Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi Comedies, Thomas M. Disch’s Last Interview

Movies John Scalzi Explains the Trouble with Sci-Fi Comedies Creepy Spoiler Pics of Heath Ledger as the Joker Just Might Be Real New Film Based on an Animated Short: The World’s Most Beautiful Zombies Television EW Wants to Know: Why Is TV So White? Roz Kaveney Spoils Season 4 of “Battlestar Galactica” @ Strange Horizons […]


Chris Howard, author of Seaborn

Chris Howard loves to create, primarily with words. As an army brat, he grew up all over: Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Indiana, Presidio of San Francisco, France, Germany, and Japan. He’s now settled in coastal New Hampshire with his wife and two wonderful kids. He’s a writer who also paints, working in pen and ink, watercolor, and digital formats. Chris has blogged steadily since 2004, mostly on writing, art, Aristotle and technology. Seaborn is his first novel.


The Jeremiads: Why the Geek Hierarchy Has to Go

A few years ago, Lore Sjöberg, famous internet humorist, put into flowchart form what has been subconsciously understood among geek culture for as long as I’ve been a geek. There is an implicit hierarchy of respect among the geek tribes. Producers of paid, commercial content sit at the top of the cultural hierarchy and command respect far and wide. Furries, child gamers, and fan fiction writers rank at the bottom, with some combination of all of the above being the ultimate untouchable caste, and don’t command respect from much of anyone. Somewhere in the middle are fans of various geek hobbies, the consumers of commercial content produced at the top of the pyramid.

The flowchart is amusing, and was generally meant in good fun. It strikes us as funny because it is true, if not often said. Most everyone with which I have shared it has examined the chart and, regardless of where they feel they themselves fit in, agree with the structure. The chart simply describes that those above feel that they themselves are “less geeky” than those below. “Less geeky,” but by whose terms, exactly?


“WALL-E” Success, Joss Whedon Musical, and Female Fantasy Writers

Movies Gary Westfahl Is Ashamed to Admit It: Animated “WALL-E” Is Best SF Film in Years Where New Superhero Flick “Hancock” Went Wrong, by io9 New Animated Feature “Fly Me to the Moon” Brings Insect Stowaways to Outer Space io9 Details 10 Books That Were Better Off on Paper Television Joss Whedon Announces Air Dates […]


Excerpt from Seaborn by Chris Howard

The water followed her home from the library, water in the air slipping over her skin as if afraid to touch her without permission. The sound of water played in her ears–a child’s laughter splashing, a creek burbling a mile down Atlantic Avenue–and the soft rain skipped in her footprints.

Headlights broke over the hill behind her, and the wet air reacted. The water snapped flat and reflective on every surface until the car passed.

The hiss of automobile tires faded into the whisper of rain and, in the distance, she watched a spray of pinpoint lights, shiny and heavy like mercury on the leaves that folded over the road.

The car was gone and the water spoke to her, words that seeped and dribbled into her head. I will clothe you in mirror, my lady, shield you in ice, become the crown you already wear…


Gregory Bernard Banks on Disability in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Fantasy: Where are the differently-abled characters in science fiction and fantasy? Obviously you don’t know about them all. But from the perspective of a casual but pretty informed reader, I hardly see any. Is it a case of me missing them, or are they as scarce as I perceive?

Gregory Bernard Banks: Although there may be some that I’m unaware of, I don’t think there are very many people writing about disabled characters. Or, if they are disabled, it’s in a way in which the disability is either fictionalized or really not a major part of the story. One thing about Science Fiction and Fantasy is that, when written in their traditional forms such as Epic Fantasy or the pulp-style adventure Science Fiction most popular 50 or 60 years ago, the protagonists are normally archetypical heroes–the athletic Indian Jones type who always runs toward or away from danger, or the clever starship captain (sort of like Hans Solo of Star Wars fame) who zips around outer space getting into fights and conning his way out of trouble. Usually the hero is a dashing man who always seems to find love no matter where he finds himself at any particular time.