Manga

Lessons from Short Manga

Japanese manga is (in)famous for long-running series. Popular titles like One Piece, Hajime No Ippo and Naruto span hundreds of chapters and dozens of volumes. Even lesser-known titles may be graced with lifespans running to the low hundreds. This phenomenon is perfectly understandable: in the cut-throat profit-driven world of Japanese manga, the easiest way to make more money is to […]

Space Opera is about Opera

  Tor launched #SpaceOperaWeek to promote and discusse space opera. In 24 hours, the Pulp Revolution launched a memetic revolution and claimed the hashtag for its own. Now, practically every hashtag and Internet discussion about #SpaceOperaWeek is dominated by the PulpRev folks. This stunning success exposes a hard truth: Tor has no idea what space […]

Thoughts on the Isekai Genre

Fantasy writers need to solve two problems. They need to create a believable fantasy world significantly different from ours that allows for fantasy elements. But this world and the people who live in it can’t be so fantastic that they alienate their audience. The isekai story offers a neat solution. ‘Isekai’ is Japanese for ‘other […]

Can post-cyberpunk fiction be superversive?

“The important part in Cyberpunk is just that: it’s not the technology, it’s the feel. It’s getting that dark, gritty, rain-wet street feeling but at the same time getting that rock and roll, lost and desperate and dangerous quality. Cyberpunk is about that interface between people and technology, but not in that transhumanist way where […]

The Ethics of Piracy in the Digital Age

Ebooks, digital downloads, torrents and the Internet have fundamentally altered the nature of commercial transactions, but definitions of ‘piracy’ remains stuck in the 17th century, in the heyday of pirates at sea. Maritime piracy is clearly evil. Maritime merchant shipping transfers goods from a supplier to a buyer. The supplier expects payment and the buyer […]

Tired Tropes: The Potato Protagonist

If a potato has more personality than the protagonist of a story, the writer is doing it wrong. The best stories are driven by their characters. The best characters aren’t two-dimensional constructs of excessive verbiage, but a reflection and amplification of the myriad facets of humanity. Characters must resonate with readers, acting, talking and thinking […]

Tired Tropes: the Tsundere

Welcome to Tired Tropes, in which I dissect popular tropes I find annoying. While tropes are tools, they can be overused or done badly, and Tired Tropes are especially gregarious examples of them. Here, I take on the tsundere. The tsundere is a staple of Japanese media. She—for the overwhelming majority of tsunderes are female—is […]

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