Author Commentary

Villains: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Villains: without them, there would be no heroes. But where do villains come from? What causes a person or a being to go down that dark path? And do they realize what they’ve become? I once read that a villain is the hero of his or her own story. I’m not sure if that is true for every villain. After …

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Between the Lines: Agents of Shield

By Steve Rzasa Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. arrived on ABC in 2013, bringing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to television for the first time since the debut of the Iron Man movie five years earlier. Many viewers—even the diehard fans—agree the first half of Season One was rough, to the point a lot of people stopped watching. Those who stuck with …

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In Defense of Fun

By Sharon Hinck Fun frightens me a bit. As a product of a strong work ethic from both sides of my family, I grew up believing that all work must be completed before indulging in play. Since the work never seemed to end, a time for play rarely felt appropriate. Even when I worked hard enough to earn a little …

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What Video Games Taught Me About Speculative Fiction Writing

By Joshua A. Johnston I’ve being playing video games since I was a kid. As a child of the 1980s, my earliest gaming happened on a TRS-80 with a tape drive, followed a few years later by a DOS-based PC. My first console was an NES, which I received—along with a stern lecture from my father about not playing it …

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Keep the Candy, Crush the Saga

By Joshua A. Johnston, originally posted 7/29/2013 at Nintendojo If you are a regular to Facebook, you may have noted a recent uptick in the word “saga” in your news feed. (By leading off with this I am probably dooming this article to being outdated if it is read even six months from now.) Candy Crush Saga and its various kindred apps …

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The “Saviors” of Speculative Fiction

By Joshua A. Johnston FAIR WARNING: there are spoilers here of various science fiction and fantasy movies and novels. In general, I’ve tried to avoid spoilers from less than 5 years from the time of this post (2012 and later) but if you’ve never watched Star Trek or read Lord of the Rings, expect spoilers. “Well, look on the bright …

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The Dark Side of Fiction

I write fiction, and I love it. Fantasy, sci-fi, and my latest book is a dark fantasy paranormal, so it kisses the border of horror. If I’m being honest, it’s not a book I thought I’d write. It includes things like ghosts and divination and temptation. Did you catch that “D” word? Divination is one of those really bad, frowned-upon …

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Between the Lines: Leviathans of Jupiter by Ben Bova

There’s a reason Ben Bova has won six Hugo Awards. The man is a phenomenal writer of science-fiction. Not only does he take hard sci-fi concepts and make them accessible, but he populates his stories with memorable characters. Admittedly, I’m late to the party when it comes to appreciating his work. I’ve only read a handful of his books, and …

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Science Fiction: Hard Versus Soft

By Joshua A. Johnston Anyone who has studied “speculative fiction” – that stuff that goes beyond the normal world we live in – knows that it has categories galore. Fantasy. Science fiction. Steampunk. Horror. Time-travel romance. Science fantasy. Within genres, of course, are subgenres. Here I want to look at two broad categories of subgenre that exist within the genre …

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I Choose to Write Dangerously

A couple weeks ago I received a review that made me scratch my head and ask if this person had really read the same book I wrote? The review seemed far out there. But as I had time to process what this person said, along with what other people had to say, it made me realize something: I choose to write dangerously. I …

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