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

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Latest Articles


Latest Topics


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.


    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 6 months ago
    • 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 4 months ago
    • 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 4 months ago

    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 5 months ago
    • 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 5 months ago
    • 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 4 months ago
    • True; the article's author would get to focus on whatever examples they're familiar with or the ones they most appreciate personally. – noahspud 4 months ago

    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 5 months ago

    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 10 months ago
    • 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 10 months ago
    • Also Back to the Future Part II, Shrek 2, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, X-Men 2, Spiderman 2... – noahspud 10 months ago

    Why Are There So Many Neurodivergent Super-Detectives?

    The list of fictional characters with relatable representation of neurodivergence (ADHD, autism, OCD, et cetera) has a lot of detective characters on it. Examples include Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Benoit Blanc, Adrian Monk, Shawn Spencer, and Sonja Cross from The Bridge.
    Some of these characters were created before the diagnoses became popular, and yet they match the symptoms remarkably well. Their special interests and hyper-focus help them notice details others might miss. At the same time, their unique way of seeing the world often separates them from society.
    Analyze various fictional detectives and consider why so many of them are neurodivergent. Is there some reason neurodivergence would make someone a better detective, as opposed to some other career? Do these characters run the risk of making their diagnosis their entire personality and not being fully developed characters?


      Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: Hard to Adapt?

      Douglas Adams’ foray into detective fiction, with his iconic twist of science fiction and extremely British absurdist comedy, was a novel called Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and its sequel, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. These books have been adapted into two TV shows, one on BBC4 and one on BBC America. The books and TV shows are all quite different from each other; even the character of Dirk Gently changes a bit between adaptations.
      Compare and contrast the book(s) with the TV shows. Why did the shows change so much? Is there something "unadaptable" about Adams’ original work?


        The Red Ten vs The Boys

        From 2011 to 2017, Tyler James and Cesar Feliciano created a ten-issue comic book series in which a parody of the Justice League were mysteriously murdered in a plot eerily similar to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. As in Christie’s novel, it was slowly revealed that the superheroes were being killed because they were guilty of dark secrets.
        This series bears a resemblance to The Boys, the comic series by Garth Ennis currently being adapted into a TV show. This series has its own parody of the Justice League, hiding their own dark secrets. The titular characters, the Boys, set out to test the heroes’ limits and, if necessary, deal out bloody justice.
        Compare and contrast these series, their characters, their themes, etc.

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          Latest Comments

          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’

          Oh yeah. Throwing acid on his employees as opposed to just not providing dental insurance. Rewriting reality so no one knows things used to be different as opposed to just changing the way things are going forward. Rumpel raises the stakes.

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

          He takes his job a little more seriously than necessary in special cases. Is that evil? It’s just vague enough to be interesting, which is one of the things that makes him a great villain.

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

          See also Dimension 20 Neverafter, in which the Big Bad Wolf is the manifest representation of Endings. Like, the words “The End” grew legs and sharp teeth. Arguably worse than death in a world where everyone acknowledges the fact that they’re fictional characters.

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

          Not much did change. That’s the point. Wakanda promised to share their world-changing resources with the world, but then a lot of things happened… Wakanda doesn’t trust the world, and the world keeps proving them right. The MCU keeps giving Wakanda excuses to maintain the status quo.

          Why Don't Superheroes Change the World?

          Those who learn from the mistakes of their ancestors are doomed to watch in horror as other idiots repeat them.

          "Darkest Dungeon": The weight of legacy

          Yup. That’s called “raising the stakes.” Lots of stories do that – Star Wars, the Matrix, and the Hunger Games all start with the bad guys already in control, putting the heroes at a disadvantage. This makes it even cooler when the heroes win.

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