Fantasy

Fantasy Without Fantasy

Modernity has ruined fantasy. At one end of the scale, there is the slice-of-life tale, with ordinary people doing ordinary things, just with some counterfactual elements. At the other end, there is a setting that appears totally foreign to our reality–and yet the people who dwell in it base their actions on values, issues and […]

Thoughts on Jirel of Joiry

Mention the words ‘Strong Female Character’ and immediately a visage of a tigress fills your head. She is powerful and fearless, unbeatable in combat, sexually alluring, takes no nonsense from anyone, and can best any man in any masculine pursuit. It’s a trope solidified over decades of repetition on the silver screen and the printed […]

Designing for Games vs Designing for Stories

A week ago, PulpRev author Jon Mollison wrote a Twitter thread about the role of clerics in Dungeons and Dragons. Among the key insights was this: Wrong. Clerics are a great #dnd class because they fill a proper function within the game – secondary brick with defensive tac support. Designing the class to reflect a literary archetype puts the […]

Isekai is not Japanese Europe in a Video Game

Isekai stories are a staple of modern Japanese fiction. Featuring humans from modern-day Japan transported to another world, it seems there’s a new isekai story published every month. Today, isekai stories are extremely popular. And they are becoming extremely ridiculous. The discerning reader will find much to complain about. Fanservice in place of character development. […]

Mechanical Versus Mythical Magic

Corey McCleery, Alexander Hellene, Xavier Lastra, Rawle Nyanzi and Misha Barnett recently opined on the de-mythologicisation of magic in contemporary fantasy. All five pieces are worth a read, but the thesis running through the heart of the conversation is that de-mythologicisation robs the mystery from magic in contemporary fantasy, making it feel empty. Comparing the works of the pulp-era grandmasters and […]

Writing Faith in Fiction

It is fashionable in modern SFF to denigrate religion as oppressive and outdated superstition. Priests are corrupt hypocrites, gods are dead or evil or both, religious doctrine is a lie — and the worst offender is always Christianity in fantasy dress. Science fiction goes one step further, portraying technologically advanced societies that have outgrown religion […]

Red River Part 12

The Balance The conference room was small but cozy, befitting the intimate and confidential nature of this meeting. Executive Assistant Director Robert Pearce, wearing a bespoke blue suit of fine silk, leaned back in his chair and smiled at his three guests. “I am pleased to report that the Public Security Bureau has smashed the […]

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