Originally from the United States, I've lived in Melbourne, Australia since 1998. I'm an engineer and I love fantasy, sci-fi, and gaming - and reading and writing about them

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    Emerald City, and Darkness Falling

    Emerald City is a TV series that ran for one season before being cancelled. Its premise was a darker, grittier vision of the Wizard of Oz mythos – something like Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, but turned up even further. The original Wizard of Oz books and movies had much less heavy themes and a much less grim worldview, so why were these changes made? Are they merely trying to piggyback on the popularity of Game of Thrones, or is this more related to the shift in cultural expectations over the past twenty years? Or perhaps there is a deeper reason? The essay could speculate on what such changes add to the Oz mythos or tell us about it, and could also branch off into similar evolutions seen in other series, perhaps even in other genres like video games.

    • I wonder if they were inspired by using the thematic tones of 'Return to Oz' which was so much darker and surreal? – SaraiMW 5 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    In some ways I’m quite bound by the scientific worldview, to the point where I feel constrained by it (I’m an engineer). But in spite of that, I’ve always been too afraid to even try a ouija board.

    Ouija Boards in Movies

    Very interesting and comprehensive! Thank you.

    The genres may be better defined now; I always tend to remember the blurred lines and the exceptions. For example, Conan met an alien from space in one of his early stories, “Tower of the Elephant”; and later, there was a crashed spaceship in one of the kingdoms of Mystara, from the early Dungeons and Dragons sourcebooks.

    Science-Fiction: Defining a Sprawling Genre.

    Very interesting! Thank you for this.

    I’ve always thought the best thing about Batman and Catwoman’s relationship was that they augment each other’s lives without defining each other’s lives. Each one can still function apart and has their own lives, but they’re even better when they come together. (Well, when the writers realize this and don’t make some kind of bizarre dysfunctional . . . thing!)

    I agree with other commenters who said that the idea that heroes won’t be driven if they’re happy is ridiculous. It’s not only laziness and tropery on the part of writers, but in some cases it’s simply setting up short-term shocking moments (Guy Gardner’s girlfriend got murdered! etc).

    The Batman/Catwoman Wedding Is Supposed to Upset You

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve always thought that while Tolkien provided a lot of the tropes and images used in fantasy RPGs, the gameplay owes a lot to Conan, John Carter, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouster, Tarzan, and other pulp-era heroes. Fantasy games tend to centre on a lone character or small group, who have to use their strength, wits, guile, and pluck to achieve an objective. You could even argue that the thievery and murder rampages that quite a lot of video game quests ask you to do are more like Conan’s impulsive self-interest than like Tolkien’s heroes who tend to be more conventionally morally upright.

    The Influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on Modern Video Gaming