Is sexism in high fantasy “just being realistic?”

My friends and I play Dungeons and Dragons, and we all normally play characters of our own gender. I barely remember what the situation was, but a situation once arose during a D&D session where my character wanted to do something, and another player said that the NPC wouldn’t allow it because I was a woman and the middle ages were sexist. 

I was completely taken aback. We weren’t including plague, infant mortality, or suicide in our campaign — in fact, there wasn’t even any gore, sex, or curse words unless the players specified it. The DM was PG at its finest. We were obviously including medieval elements that made things fun, like swords and tyrant kings, but omitting things that would make it less fun, like weight limits and bestiality. So why would sexism be built in to the world?  … More Is sexism in high fantasy “just being realistic?”

Creativity Inc. by Amy Wallace with Ed Catmull (2014)

I hate anyone who tries to tell other writers how to write, who pretends to know the exact elements that a story “must” have. Anyone who thinks that there is a clear formula or clear method of creating a story is diluted.

Creativity Inc. was recommended to me by a good friend years ago, but I only got around to reading it this holiday season because of my New Year’s resolution to read and watch things that people recommended to me (as opposed to putting it off for weeks, months, or years). And hey, the title was about unleashing creativity, not work-shopping a story. How bad could it be?

It was phenomenal.  … More Creativity Inc. by Amy Wallace with Ed Catmull (2014)

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (2017)

I’m not sure whether to call this “Girl Power: the Novel” or “PTSD: the Novel.”

The Alice Network is a historical fiction novel telling the combined stories of Charlie Sinclair and Evelyn Gardener, who both lost a close, spirited friend to the cruelties of the two world wars. They team up in search of Charlie’s missing cousin, Rose, and in the end discover that their experiences were quite similar, embrace independence, and finally hunt down the person who wronged them both.

Now, I don’t think you should read this book. … More The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (2017)

Is there only one story?

Many of you have heard that there is only one story, and it keeps being retold in different forms. Is this real, and should we even care? 

The side you take in this debate boils down to your definition of a “story”. Of course every combination of letters in the alphabet is different. But the “one story” theory states that every story ever told asks the question, “Who am I?” or “What is man?” or something along those lines. In a way, this is true. Every human wants to find herself, and every society wants to know its place in the world.

But in the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t entirely matter.

Today, we’re talking about the implications of “cliches”, and how many people believe that it’s impossible to have an entirely original story. … More Is there only one story?

MoneyBall: The Art of Winning and Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (2003)

Moneyball is not what I expected it to be. I expected it to be a depressing account of how math and machines are slowly going to stamp out our individuality, but the narrative I read was quite different. It was about merit triumphing over appearance, about strategy outdoing wealth, about brain beating brawn, about overlooked young rookies finally being given a chance. It’s one of those untold, hope-inspiring stories of a quiet revolution happening right under our noses. … More MoneyBall: The Art of Winning and Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (2003)

Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen (1962)

This semester, I’m taking a course called Architecture and Society (ARC 308). The professor, Dr. Larry Speck, has a reputation for causing students to switch their major to architecture. So far, I can certainly agree that the class has been important to my intellectual development, so to speak, and has opened my eyes to several interesting … More Experiencing Architecture by Steen Eiler Rasmussen (1962)