The Role of Fandom in Media

With the new Star Wars film out this weekend, I've been thinking about how fandom fits into modern media. Just in case you haven't seen the movie yet, this is a spoiler-free discussion.

I'm a big fan of the Star Wars franchise. There are more hardcore fans than me, and I certainly don't consume every single piece of Star Wars that is ever released (I haven't even seen any of the animated stuff), but I do enjoy the films and the theming and atmosphere of Star Wars. So around the release of the new films I get excited.

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Book Review: The Black Prism

This book.

I've been waiting for a book that I really felt like I could give five stars to. This one is it. If you like fantasy and clever magic in books, you should read this. I'm serious. Super big recommendation from me if that means anything to you.

I'm always looking for that next book that really hooks me in and gives me that sense of escapism that I think I look for in fiction. Since I'm a bigger reader of speculative fiction, a lot of the time it's in the fantasy genre that this happens, since it's far enough removed from the real world that it engages my imagination in new ways. Science fiction can get me there, but only if it's done really well. Done poorly and my engineer's brain starts poking holes in it and I can't really let myself fall into the narrative.

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Welcome to December

It's a pretty great month, right?

Holidays, time off work, focus on family and thankfulness, remembering the greatest gift to us, eggnog. These are all good things. And I'm in need of some good things at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I'm blessed and have a great life, but sometimes my day-to-day starts to wear me down and I just need a break. A change from the normal.

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Assassin's Apprentice

This book is a little bit cliche. And before you write it off, give it a moment. Lots of books are cliche, and I actually think that in some cases is a good thing. People come to stories with expectations, especially in genre fiction, and those expectations need to either be met by the story or subverted in a way that is tasteful and surprising and refreshing to the reader. In the case of this book, I think they were met well and subverted just a little bit.

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The Teller (Audio)

For archival purposes I wanted to share this video here. Earlier this week my brother-in-law Michael Cole decided to record one of my stories and share it on Facebook. It's well done and you should give it a listen! I never doubted he could outmatch my self-narration, I'm just glad he decided to do it.

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What Are Stories?

Before we get into talking about stories and how we relate to them, and what they do to us, we need to talk about what stories actually are. Before we can delve into why these things are so important, we need to understand what we are actually talking about.

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Why I Wrote Into the Swarm

In case you missed it, last week I posted an audio clip of me reading the first chapter of my forthcoming novella. I still don't have a firm time-frame for when I want to get the novella out into the world, but I'm shooting for sometime in November. You can find that post here.

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about why I wrote this thing, and highlight some of the themes you're going to find in it. I also wanted to show off my (work-in-progress) description for the novella:

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My Novella

I'm just putting the finishing touches on a novella that I wrote a few months back. I originally sent it off to see if there was any interest from magazines and the like, but no such luck. Unfortunately, I think it's a little long for a magazine and a little short for a book publisher, so I'm kinda stuck. So, instead of shelving it, I thought why not put it out there. Self publish. It's a growing thing, and it's easy enough to do, so why not me? 

All that to say it's not ready yet.

But I've been doing something that I haven't done with any of my other work, namely reading it out loud as a final editing pass. Since I was sitting there and reading it, I figured why not turn on a microphone? I'm no voice actor, and I don't claim to have a great voice for reading, and there are errors. Also, it's definitely not a high quality product, but I thought it might be a fun glimpse behind the scenes into what I'm doing.

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With Great Power...

Why do we like stories about super heroes?

Every summer, without fail and without abandon, several movies will come out about ordinary people who have extraordinary power. I'm talking about superheroes, of course. Superman, the X-Men, Iron man, Batman, the list goes on. As a culture right now we are inundated with these power-toting, tight-uniform-wearing, death-defying saviors of the entire universe. There's a problem, it threatens the entire world, and there is only one person (or one team of people) who can solve it. The circumstances and scenery might change around these characters, but the constant is that these are all action stories with some other stuff thrown in for flavor.

I'm not saying that they are all the same. Well, I kind of am saying that, but bear with me. When you cut down to the heart of things, almost all stories are the same. But don't let me get all philosophical and blue-sky-thinking on you, there's plenty of that to come. I intend to break down these genres and really dig into them to see what I can find. Yes it's all speculation on my part, yes I'm doing my best to research these topics and cultivate a better understanding of things, but at the end of the day I'm just a guy with some opinions about things. I get things wrong. I'm under no illusion that what I have to say about something is the last word that is to be spoken on the subject. What I'm doing here is trying to work out these subjects myself, and the reason I post this stuff is to get you, dear reader, to think about it as well.

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