noahspud

I've been writing since fourth grade and blogging since 2014. I've been a nerd my whole life.

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Latest Topics

3

Supernatural Age-Gap Romance: Dope or Nope?

In stories where some characters are immortal – i.e. living for a very long time without aging – the subject of romance can be a touchy topic. It is hard to find people with shared life experience when everyone else measures life in decades rather than centuries. There is often a question of power imbalance when one side of a relationship is so much older than the other.
On the other hand, an immortal character finding romance with a regular mortal is an example of love bridging gaps. It means the immortal has chosen to care about people, even though he will outlive all of them.
Examine arguments for and against these age-gap romances. Examples include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, the Immortal and Dupli-Kate from Invincible, Thor and Jane Foster from Marvel, and more.

  • Diana Prince and Steve Trevor. – T. Palomino 1 month ago
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2

Anakin Skywalker vs Darth Vader: Character Development in Reverse

Many Star Wars fans consider Anakin Skywalker effectively a different character from Darth Vader. However, analyzing Anakin’s character progression from Jedi to Sith can be very interesting, especially depending on viewing order. For fans of the original trilogy, the prequels’ portrayal of Anakin may have been startling. On the other hand, a chronological viewing, especially one that includes the Clone Wars series, may depict a slow but steady character arc for young Skywalker with a tragic but inevitable conclusion.

Compare and contrast the two characters. What traits of Anakin’s remain in Darth Vader, and how are they portrayed differently? Where do we see traits of Darth Vader peeking through in Anakin during the prequel era? Does this change how we see other heroes and villains, like Luke Skywalker or Kylo Ren, and even characters from other franchises?

  • Regarding the aspects of Luke and Kylo, it might be useful to look at things that used to be canon in Star Wars, but are no longer. What comes to mind is the comic that likely inspired the Ben Solo in the new trilogy. – Siothrún 3 months ago
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Are Superheroes Fantasy or Science Fiction?

Superhero stories are filled with fantasy tropes: wizards, knights in shining armor, dragons and other monsters, gods of various mythologies, and so on. Meanwhile, many superhero and supervillain origin stories seem like science fiction premises (mutated DNA, aliens, and so on). Most superpowers, even the ones that are supposedly based on science, defy science to the point where they would be indistinguishable from magic in a fantasy setting.
Consider the characteristics that differentiate the Fantasy Genre from the Science Fiction Genre. Then consider the central characteristics of superhero stories – Marvel, DC Comics, Invincible, pick your favorite – and analyze whether they fall more on one side or the other. If some superheroes belong to one genre and some belong to another, what happens when those superheroes team up with each other?
What are the implications of which genre superheroes "belong to"? Does this affect the future of superhero stories?

  • I'd consider seeing if superheroes might fall into an in-between category like science fantasy as well. – Siothrún 3 months ago
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5

Arrow: Oliver Queen's Trauma Recovery

In the CW’s Arrow, before Oliver Queen got stuck on Trauma Island, he was a stereotypical Billionaire Playboy. When he got back, he spent a lot of time pretending he was still the same person, in order to cover up who he had really become: a vigilante on a quest for justice. Oliver pretended his five years of trauma hadn’t dramatically changed him.
This was part of Oliver’s strategy for recovering from his trauma. While he worked on becoming a healthier (less angry and murderous) person with the help of his trusted friends, he pretended he had already recovered.
An article on this topic could analyze the progress Oliver makes on his trauma recovery over the course of the show.

    9

    Are Detectives the Main Characters in their Own Stories?

    An interesting trend in mystery fiction is the "outsider" nature of the classic detective. These characters – Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, Scooby Doo, etc – seem to exist for the purpose of helping other people’s stories reach resolution. Although they are often the perspective characters in their stories, it can be argued that the main characters are the victims and the perpetrators of the crimes being investigated. Those are the characters who are causing events to happen and having events happen to them.
    Consider the stories where a detective finds themselves in the middle of a mysterious situation they were not hired to investigate, and yet they decide to root out the who, how, and why for the net benefit of everyone else.
    An article on this topic could explore why detective characters are so often written this way. Why does this affect the mystery genre in particular? Is this a net benefit or problem with the genre?

    • This is an intriguing way to look at detective stories. When discussing the affect the conventional detective point-of-view has on mystery stories, as well as to what extent this benefits the genre, it could be interesting to mention the few mystery stories that do not position the detective as the focal character. Off the top of my head, the only detective story I could think of that does foreground another character over the detective is the first Knives Out film by Rian Johnson. [MILD SPOILERS FOR KNIVES OUT] The second half of the film is told primarily from the perspective of another character, with the detective Benoit Blanc not even appearing in some scenes focused on the other character. Within the context of the film, this shifted focus is supposed to subvert expectations of the mystery genre, as the story follows the other character’s efforts to avoid the detective finding out what they did. – Magnolia 12 months ago
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    • I think this is a potentially interesting topic. In terms of other detective pieces that could be discussed are the detective tv series Columbo (and others like it, like the more recent Poker Face), where the detective sometimes turns up a little late in the story. The beginning focuses on other characters, other stories. – AnnieEM 9 months ago
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    • I find this to be a very interesting topic for various reasons 1) The perspective of the detective as outsider who becomes the insider by choice mirrors the process the reader goes through; she after all steps into the "situation"/the fiction by choice (picking up the book/movie/TV show) and 2) the idea of net benefit has a lot of potential: I think noahspud uses the idea in two ways. First, it is suggested that the detective decides to solve the mystery with a net benefit for everyone else. Moreover, it is also suggested that the detective as a main character in their own story "gains" something by being involved, so the detective is really part of the net-benefitting? Secondly, insofar as the reader develops parallel with the detective, she "benefits." Of course, the reader can also develop beyond the detective, in which case she also benefits (albeit differently). It would be interesting to explore how these benefits look if we were to take different literary examples. I am thinking in particular of the recent season of the TV show Endeavour (a season which had a huge audience across various countries), which takes its audience through a significant emotional and ethical journey alongside the main detective but in such a way that the detective always deflects from total identification with him. I look forward to reading someone's article on this topic, and appreciate the ideas. – gitte 9 months ago
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    • I think this topic could be properly expanded by looking at the crime genre more broadly, and how various elements or components of the genre have been explored to give the genre its vast diversity despite its genre unity. From the top of my head, crucial components would include the crime (event), the setting, the criminal, the victim, and the detective(s). A detective story can be written event-centred to not have main characters. Otherwise, an author could choose to make the detective, or the criminal, or the victim the main character. These options in a way create the subgenres within crime fiction, such as the classical mystery, or noir, or gothic/horror, or psychological thriller. – lgorejones 3 months ago
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    6

    Fantastic Racism: The Universal Prejudice Metaphor

    Fantastic Racism is the term for writers creating a non-human race – aliens from outer space, vampires, werewolves, mutants, elves, orcs, etc. – and then using that race as a metaphor for real-world demographics that are the target of prejudice. The strength of this metaphor is that it can potentially be used in place of any minority group.

    In the world of X-Men, mutants have served as a metaphor for various real-world minorities over the decades, from Jewish people to Black people to LGBT’s.

    In many fantasy worlds, orcs are seen as barbaric, monstrous outsiders. A plot requiring humans and orcs to put aside their differences – such as the film Warcraft – can be used as a metaphor for international conflicts as well as domestic diversity. Meanwhile, in Max Landis’ urban fantasy world of Bright, orcs become a metaphor for any group with an antagonistic relationship with the police, due to poverty, ethnicity, or culture.

    Other examples include Skyrim, Supergirl, True Blood, and even Harry Potter. Analyze these and other examples of Fantastic Racism. Do some work better as metaphors than others? Can we learn different lessons from these stories that we may not see in stories about real-world human minority groups?

    • A topic worth pondering! The reference to eugenics could add further dimensions to this topic. And how whiteness, for example, the race of elves, is glorified against the narratives of demonizing non-white orcs. – Golam Rabbani 11 months ago
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    • I just loved this topic!! We can actually gain insights and perspectives that may not be as apparent in narratives centered on real-world human minority groups. I believe it can lead to a broader understanding of prejudice and discrimination. Amazing! – allan reis 11 months ago
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    • A great subject, considering how often Fantastic Racism can get messy if poorly handled. I'm almost wondering if the topic too broad for a single article, considering how often it comes up in media. You seem to be focusing on fantasy here, but scifi has a lot to offer the subject as well. Star Wars, The Animatrix, and Star Trek are all worth mentioning. – Petar 10 months ago
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    • True; the article's author would get to focus on whatever examples they're familiar with or the ones they most appreciate personally. – noahspud 10 months ago
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    6

    Urban Fantasy vs Cosmic Horror

    In the Urban Fantasy genre – Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, etc. – magic and magical creatures exist alongside humans, but humans don’t know about them.
    The Cosmic Horror genre – i.e. H.P. Lovecraft – has a similar rule, except if humans see "past the veil," what they see is usually terrifying and even madness-inducing.
    Meanwhile, in the Percy Jackson series, a demigod can see monsters just fine, but looking at a god or titan’s true divine form is hazardous to their health. This seems to be an overlap between Urban Fantasy and Cosmic Horror. Similarly, the existence of Squibs and Obscurials in Fantastic Beasts lore sometimes approaches Cosmic Horror territory.
    Compare and contrast the two genres. What other overlap exists between them? Where do world-builders and storytellers make distinctions between the genres and why? Do interesting themes and lessons emerge when you consider Urban Fantasy from a Cosmic Horror perspective or vice versa?

    • This topic could be more complete if you delved into the historical functions of both genres. Horror studies traditionally position the horror genre as a means of confronting taboo or unfamiliar things. Why is it that demigods in Percy Jackson are the only ones allowed to witness - regardless of the risk - beings that can cause insanity, whereas Lovecraft's works allow ordinary people to peek behind the veil? Could that be because fantasy-as-escapism invites an extra distance between the reader and the horrifying truths they're confronting? Try looking into some theorists or case studies examining the functions of cosmic horror and YA fantasy. – CharlieSimmons 11 months ago
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    6

    The Dark Knight: How Do You Measure The "Best" Sequel?

    The Dark Knight is widely regarded as one of the best movies of its kind. It is officially a sequel to Batman Begins, but unlike most sequels, audiences don’t really need to watch the first movie to understand or enjoy the plot of the second. The only major plotline that continues between the two (apart from Bruce Wayne Being Batman, of course) is Bruce and Rachel’s relationship ("If there is ever a time when Gotham doesn’t need Batman, we can be together.")
    Does the stand-alone nature of this movie make it a better sequel? Or a worse one? What metrics do you use to measure the quality of a sequel? We don’t determine the quality of a horror movie by how much it makes us laugh, for example. Do we determine the quality of a sequel by how much it depends on the story of the first movie?
    Compare to Terminator 2, Rocky 2, John Wick 2, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, and other movies considered some of the best sequels of all time.

    • Godfather 2, Aliens, Toy Story 2, Logan as well. – Sunni Ago 1 year ago
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    • I think it's important to remember the difference between this sequel and the other's you named-- source material. I'm not saying it lacks originality, I adore THE DARK KNIGHT but there were characters and relationships that we as a culture were familiar with before the first film even released too. Might be interesting to explore the effect it had – hudsonmakesmovies 1 year ago
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    • Also Back to the Future Part II, Shrek 2, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, X-Men 2, Spiderman 2... – noahspud 1 year ago
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    Latest Comments

    There was a story in an episode of Adventures in Odyssey about a boy with a magic stopwatch that he could use to fast-forward his life. It was a lot like Click, eight years earlier.

    Click: A Tragic Tale Exploring the Importance of Family

    Some have posited it’s because they threw in some Vegeta while they were at it.

    Superman, Alienation, and Evil

    If the stories of some of these “infinity girls” were told from another perspective, they might be seen as Manic Pixie Dream Girls – which just adds to the central tension of real-world girls who relate to them not knowing what to do with themselves as adults.

    Classic Literature's "Infinity Girls"

    Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” may have started a new sub-genre of “pre-apocalypse” movies. Before that, post-apocalyptic stories were a heck of a lot more popular; the hope that anyone who survives a nuclear war will be able to have some kind of fulfilling life, even if civilization is dead, is more attractive than fear, even fear of something realistic.

    Nuclear Nightmares in Film and Preventing Eventual Armageddon

    It happened once in the comics. It ended about like you would expect: Dr. Manhattan having a philosophical debate with himself about whether Superman deserves to punch his head off or not (Dr. Manhattan thought he could, so he probably could). And then they just kinda became friends and went home.

    Superman, Alienation, and Evil

    Fair point. I didn’t want to throw in too many examples.
    Brandon Breyer developed a superiority complex from his superior intelligence and his superpowers, but it was mainly his spaceship messing with his head. His parents tried to raise him well and show him love and human connection, but he was simply unresponsive to them. Not much there for audiences to find relatable, so I left him out of the discussion.

    Superman, Alienation, and Evil

    Yup. Arranging things in categories like that is a side effect of overthinking way. too. much. about them.

    Villains of the Shrek Universe: From Nursery Rhymes to the Grim Reaper

    Man, I love time loops. I especially love how there are so many different potential responses to time loops. Exploring every possible location searching for a way to stop the time loop, only to realize you can’t… that’s fun.

    Outer Wilds and the Concept of ‘Going in Blind’