Commentary

Five Social Justice Fails That Angered Fans

Game-of-Thrones-Cersei-Jaime

We advocate for socially just stories because it’s the right thing to do, and that won’t change. But sometimes this purpose can feed false ideas about the supposed costs of social justice in our tales, as though we must choose between social justice and good storytelling or … read more »

Worldbuilding

Creating Realistic Cultures

The Monastery of St. Nilus

One of the most common mistakes in worldbuilding is treating culture like it’s arbitrary. Clothing styles, gender roles, and religion are decided as though they just popped out of the ether one day. In reality, few aspects of culture are arbitrary; most are the result of … read more »

Analysis

Five Times Stories Broke Promises to the Audience

Commander Shepard at the end of Mass Effect 3.

Stories make promises, whether they mean to or not. When The Next Generation’s Captain Picard declares that the Enterprise’s mission is “to boldly go where no one has gone before,” the show is explicitly promising episodes about discovery and exploration.* Other promises are more implicit, such as the … read more »