Trailer Tuesdays: Terminator Genisys

As a kid, my family actually really liked the Terminator films a lot. I don’t know what about them was so appealing to us, but we all loved them and watched them—the first two, at least—several times over. So when the trailer for Terminator Genisys started appearing in the commercial breaks of my TV shows, weird title spelling and all, I was pretty excited. Cautiously excited, but still excited.

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Cruelty and Class in Yu Yu Hakusho

Another trip back home, and another trip back to my old manga collection. When it comes to situations like this, I know I’ll get some analysis out of it, but I’m never quite sure what it will be. This time I was especially surprised, and I guess I can blame our very own Stinekey for that. A while ago, she wrote a very well thought out post on perceived poverty in geek media using Harry Potter as a jumping off point. The post has been in my head ever since, looming in the back of my mind as I go about my media consumption, but only now have I reached the point where I think I can bring up another point of discussion.

Sometimes life makes you pick a bad lot.

Sometimes life makes you pick a bad lot.

Poverty and lower socioeconomic situations in general just aren’t really portrayed in media unless it’s used as a prop—most commonly used in cop shows to show just how bad off someone was, or to show the struggle of one person while not at all going over the repercussions and struggles that they’ve faced (just that they’re less well-off than the other characters). Especially in terms of shonen manga, when your characters are going through the motions of gaining greater and greater amounts of power and, in some cases, doing thousands upon millions of dollars in property damage in efforts to save the Earth, bringing up the real-life repercussions of money can be a bit of an unwanted reality check. However, reading through the volumes of one of my all-time favorite series, Yu Yu Hakusho, I discovered that the series does a lot more to bring up the struggle of those in relative poverty than I would have expected it would have; though its approach is much more ‘in your face’ than Rowling’s was—which is refreshingly reflective of the series’s protagonist.

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Magical Mondays: Concrete Magical Worldbuilding vs. Nebulous Magical Worldbuilding

xmen90sRecently, a friend and I were talking about writing a story together, and since we’re both very into fantasy, we decided to write something with magical characters. However, we quickly ran into a problem: there are… way too many stories with magical elements out there. (As you might know from this column.) So what was the best way to build a world that had magic, but wasn’t cliché or boring? And if you’re building a magical system from scratch, what was the best way to set limits for your magical characters? I looked at some of my own favorite genre stories to get an idea of what I was getting into. Some appeared to have pretty concrete magical worldbuilding, and some appeared to have more nebulous worldbuilding. Both worked, but which was better?

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Orphan Black: “History Yet to be Written” Review

orphan-black-season-3This year’s finale felt a little more toned-down than the finales of seasons past. The threats have piled up this season, and in this episode they all fall down like dominoes, giving us one mini-finale after another. After the sounds of the technologically superb clone dinner party faded away, we’re left with a number of revelations. Spoilers after the jump!

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: The Sparrows from A Song of Ice and Fire, Christianity, and Women

Cersei_and_High_Sparrow-5x03The Sparrows have been a pretty big part of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, and if there’s one thing I can credit Game of Thrones’s fifth season with, it’s that the show did a semi-decent job of keeping its take on the Sparrows mostly true to their book counterparts. In the books, the Sparrows are a perfect example of people using their religious freedom to abuse and oppress others. This is something that we deal with ourselves in the real world, especially when it comes to equality. Women’s rights are something that many Christian churches have been against for nearly the entire history of Christianity, and this oppression is still alive and well today. The Sparrows and their faith are based on the Catholic Church in the middle ages, and how the Sparrows dehumanize people is pretty indicative of some of our current churches’ backward beliefs.

Trigger warning for rape culture and misogyny after the jump. Also, spoilers for the latest season of Game of Thrones.

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Sexualized Saturdays: More LGBTQ+ Characters in Fantasy!

I don’t know about you, but one of the main reasons I read fantasy is to escape reality. I want to be transported into worlds that are full of magic and excitement. I want to know that I can be an elf with perfect aim or a magician with the power to control the weather. Unfortunately, as a queer person I often run into a problem—I apparently don’t exist in most of the worlds I want to visit. There is enough bigotry and ignorance in the real world. The point of a fantasy world is that it’s different from the real one. But how different is it, really, if there is no place for LGBTQ+ people in it? (Same goes for many other minorities, but that’s a topic for another post, perhaps.) And I’m so tired of it.

fantasy_world_by_liang91

I just want to find myself in there (art by liang91)

I am also particularly tired of people trying to justify the lack of LGBTQ+ characters in fantasy. Setting aside arguments about “the gay agenda” and queer characters being “distracting”, which you see in any kind of fiction, one of the most common and frustrating lines that comes up when discussing fantasy is “labels such as gay, lesbian, etc. wouldn’t make sense in a fantasy world”. All this argument does, in my opinion, is betray a lack of creativity and abundance of bigotry in both the readers and the authors. Not only do these labels make sense, they’re extremely easy to add in.

Spoilers for the Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce and Pantomime by Laura Lam below the jump.

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Hannibal: “Secondo” Review

hannibal season 3A “Secondo” is a formal Italian meal’s second true course, and usually has a meat or fish dish. Think something like turkey, salmon, steak, or lamb. And fittingly, it’s in this episode that we get our first real mentions of lambs, a nice homage to Silence of the Lambs.

While last week gave us a pretty meditative and surreal episode, this week is much more plot-heavy. Hannibal and Bedelia get up to their usual shenanigans in Italy (murder and psychoanalyzing murderers), Will Graham travels to Hannibal’s childhood home in Lithuania, and Jack comes to Italy searching for Will.

Spoilers and the usual Hannibal trigger warnings below (gore, cannibalism, lots of snails, artsy crime scenes, you know the drill).

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