Analysis

154 – The Force

The Mythcreant Podcast

The Force is an energy field created by all living things, except it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with living things. Is it just a collection of Jedi superpowers, or does it mean something more? What is the ‘Dark Side,’ and can there … read more »

Five Underpowered Antagonists

Loki on the ground after being beaten up by the Hulk.

While not all antagonists are full villains, they all provide opposition to the protagonists. It’s their job to drive the story’s conflict, and to do that job well, it must feel like they can defeat the heroes. One reason we remember the likes of Darth Vader and … read more »

The Last Jedi and the Power of Failure

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an ode to the power of failure. The main characters fail at many of their plans. However, the more they fail, the more they learn and grow. This film shows the benefit of learning from mistakes, giving this tale … read more »

Five Behaviors Fiction Needs to Stop Demonizing

Jake Peralta from Brooklyn 99

A while back, I wrote about bad behaviors fiction needs to stop glorifying. That was only half of the equation. Fiction is just as capable of demonizing benign or helpful behaviors, and it does so with disturbing frequency. This has harmful consequences in real life, … read more »

Five Stories Hurt by Unlikable Protagonists

Likability is a critical aspect of storytelling.* If the audience doesn’t like a character, they won’t become invested in what happens. This investment is especially important for the protagonist. If the story has an unlikable protagonist, many people won’t finish it. Let’s look at some blatant offenders. A “likable” character … read more »

Six Misogynistic Messages From The Orville

The Orville has a lot of problems, but most of them pale in comparison to the show’s biggest flaw: misogyny. While most speculative fiction is lurching toward better treatment of women, The Orville is here to remind us exactly what we need to avoid. Read more »

Six Stories That Covered Up Major Plot Holes

Even highly successful stories aren’t immune to plot holes. In Star Wars, Leia realizes the Millennium Falcon is bugged but doesn’t do anything about it. In Harry Potter, the Ministry knows what spells are cast in Harry’s house but can’t locate him when he goes … read more »

Five Stories That Violate Their Own Conceit

No story can perfectly mirror reality, especially stories with lots of speculative elements. Sometimes, for a story to work, the audience must accept certain conceits. In X-Men, we accept that mutants are persecuted for their powers, even though in real life they’d be rock stars. In … read more »

Six Novels With Weak Throughlines

The Gentleman and Norrell from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

A throughline is a story’s core, the problem that’s introduced at the beginning and resolved at the end. It is the single most important element of a story. When you tell someone what a story is “about,” you’re usually describing the throughline. Read more »