In storytelling, happy endings are the default for good reason. But there is another option. Sometimes the story doesn’t end well; nothing goes the hero’s way, and they either die or lose what is most precious to them. That’s right, this episode is about tragedies: how to write them, what the requirements are, and why it’s so easy to get them wrong. Plus, a healthy amount of sandwich discourse, and how the real tragedy was inside us all along.

Transcript

Generously transcribed by Chelsie Elaine. Volunteer to transcribe a podcast.

Chris: You’re listening to the Mythcreant podcast with your hosts Oren Ashkenazi, Wes Matlock, and Chris Winkle. [opening song]

Oren: And welcome everyone to another episode of the Mythcreants podcast. I’m Oren, with me today is Wes and Chris. And today I bet you were expecting a happy ending, but actually it’s going to be tragic. Everything will go wrong. Nothing will get better. Maybe there will be some kind of lesson about the inherent folly of humanity or whatever. But regardless, it will definitely be very deep because today we’re talking about tragedies. And it’s not just because I watched the finale of Merlin last night and I’m mad. It is mostly that, but there are other reasons. All right. So we will begin this podcast, as I think all good podcasts should begin, with sandwich discourse.

Wes: Mmm… sandwiches.

Oren: The question that we will ask the group is first, “What is a tragedy?” And two, “Is Rogue One a tragedy?” Other than like, is it a bad movie? I know Wes doesn’t like it; but you know, does it count as a tragedy?

Wes: Actually, I just still have not finished it. I told you that I watched the first 40 minutes and then I quit.

Chris: [mock outrage] What?

Wes: So there’s still time.

Chris: Blasphemy.

Wes: Actually, I know, I was thinking about this the other day. And I was like, you know, I should probably just finish that movie to surprise Chris and Oren over winter break or something. So maybe.

Oren: One day. Episode 315: Wes finished Rogue One.

Wes: Yeah. It took him however many years it’s been, I don’t even know.

Oren: Okay. Well, first, Chris, I’ll ask you then: what is a tragedy?

Chris: I would say — I’ve previously said that a tragedy is something that has an entirely sad ending, not a bittersweet ending. The difference being that a bittersweet ending has some hooks that end on a good note. It has both sad parts and happy parts to it; and the happy parts might be accomplishing the hero’s goal or some of the hero’s goals. Whereas a tragedy is something where all of the plot threads end on a sour note. Or all of the important ones anyway, maybe some minor ones wouldn’t have to.

Oren: So by that definition, Rogue One would not be a tragedy?

Chris: Rogue One is not a tragedy.

Oren: I happen to feel the same. Wes, what is a tragedy?

Wes: Yeah, I like that definition, Chris. I think I had the drama definition of it drilled into me a little too hard, so I can’t get past that. So, a tragedy is a play or a story, I guess, where the main character has some kind of flaw and through a series of misfortunes, dies. If I can keep it as succinct as possible, but that’s kind of what’s going on. But the point is that the central character who — maybe you want to call him a hero or not – is brought down by a flaw in their character, you know, with the whole point of us feeling something at the end.

And I was thinking about why this is more of a thing in theater, and it’s like, well, you really rely a lot on actors in that kind of setting where I think you’re maybe more likely to actively feel for that character. I think it’s a little harder to do in prose, certainly. And in TV, there’s just like, I don’t know, they put on like a soundtrack and I cry. So it’s like, not that hard. But I do distinguish like with Chris’ definition, I also acknowledge, but I never — I kind of was thinking about this, how I call stories like that. I don’t call them tragedies. I just say that they’re tragic. And I guess maybe I’ve like, split that a little bit in my little brain. Where there’s like, if something’s tragic, there’s actual calamity or a disaster, or it’s just not happy, I don’t know. But Rogue One, from everything you guys said about it, is not a tragedy.

Oren: Right. Specifically, because the protagonists all die. And it is sad; but they die accomplishing their goal.

Wes: Which is very different from Macbeth or Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. You know, completely different things. And those characters have very specific things about them that lead to their deaths.

Chris: I would also like to clarify that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is not a tragedy.

Wes: I also agree with you.

Chris: Right. That is also a bittersweet ending. Yes, there’s a big deal made of how sad he is that Penny died, and how it’s supposed to be like a hollow victory; but there’s still the victory component of that hollow victory, and that makes it a bittersweet ending. So I would not call it a tragedy.

Wes: Yeah. If his all consumed pursuit of joining the Evil League of Evil had basically ended up with him getting close to Penny, but then losing her — not her dying, just losing her — and also not achieving his goal. And also Captain Hammer just destroys him. Then we’re talking a little bit more of a tragedy.

Oren: Right. So I typically define a tragedy as one in which the main characters fail at whatever their goal was in a way that is sad. And so this is how you can have something like Romeo and Juliet, which we generally acknowledge is a tragedy. Even though at the end, the Montagues and the Capulets — or those guys, you know, the Sharks and the Jets — basically agree to not fight anymore, which is actually a good ending. That’s a good thing. But the reason that it’s a tragedy is because the ending that the characters were trying to achieve was a happy ending between Romeo and his 12-year-old love interest.

Chris: [Laughs] I also think there’s a matter of emphasis here because I get the feeling from what I’ve seen of Romeo and Juliet and the versions I’ve seen that even though it’s bad that the houses are fighting, the focus is really on the romance. And that’s a context that’s used to give the romance some conflict, but it’s very much in the background. And so it’s more of a consolation prize. You know, it doesn’t have a lot of significance. Where, I think that sometimes in some cases where you had more different plot threads and the heroes failed at what they were trying to accomplish, but the other thing that succeeded was more significant, it might not feel like a tragedy.

Oren: And the same thing happens in Merlin. Merlin is a tragedy. It’s not a good tragedy, but it’s a tragedy in that Merlin fails to keep Arthur alive, which was the thing Merlin was trying to do. Even though Morgana is defeated and Guinevere goes on to rule Camelot well, as far as we can tell. So Camelot’s great, Morgana is defeated. So that seems like that should be a good ending; but we failed to keep Arthur alive, which was the primary goal. And that’s why Merlin’s a tragedy; and it’s bad because it’s terribly written.

Chris: Yeah. I have to say I’m feeling more divided now that I seen Merlin the second time about whether or not it’s a tragedy. The first time I watched it, I think probably Arthur dying hit me a little harder because I had not already seen it before. You know, I thought of it — and I was surprised that they went there. Even though that’s in the original legends, I was still surprised. I thought of it very much as a tragedy. Seeing it again, and how much emphasis there is on the fact that the reason why Merlin was supposedly doing this the entire time — the reason why he wanted to protect Arthur — was to create this utopian Albion of some kind. [Laughs] And the dragon tells him at the end that he succeeded at doing that. It makes me question how much of a tragedy it is.

Wes: Does Merlin fail to save Arthur through any fault of his own, besides not calling the dragon on time?

Chris: Absolutely.

Wes: And also is his failing to save Arthur consistent with his behavior through the show? ‘Cause that’s the other thing, if we’re talking like tragic-tragedy type thing. It’s like, is Merlin just absent-minded and that eventually causes him to really mess up after a series of other mess-ups throughout? You know, that’s what I want to know.

Chris: This is hard to answer just because the morality of Merlin is so messed up, that it’s like they definitely set up in the final season…They even have one episode though, where they outright state the lesson that you’re supposed to get out of this much earlier in the season, that it’s Merlin betraying his values in order to save Arthur that ultimately dooms Arthur.

But it’s hard to say that that’s a theme of the show. I actually want to go and see if I can find some content on what was happening behind the scenes in this; because the morality is just so messed up throughout. And it’s really hard to tell whether the writers were doing this because they just thought that they were clever. And it’s like, “See, they were, the heroes were in the wrong the entire time. Isn’t that clever?” Or if they really wanted us to believe that this is what Merlin was supposed to be doing through the entire show, and then decided to just add that stuff in for the final season. And now finally we say he’s wrong.

Oren: There is a scene, to give it a little more detail. There is a scene where Merlin is given the option of whether or not Arthur should legalize magic in Camelot, which is like what Merlin has wanted this entire time. And it has been theoretically the goal of the show, because the show is all about oppressed mages and how mages are like an oppressed minority, which is wrong for its own reasons.

Chris: But also the villains. [Laughs]

Oren: Right. But also the villains. And so this is clearly the thing Merlin should do, but Merlin thinks because of some plot stuff that’s happening in that episode, that if he says yes, that that will lead to Arthur’s death. And so he says no. And the lesson is that he basically takes the selfish path, right? He takes the selfish path to keep his friend alive. And then later, for plot reasons, that ends up causing Arthur’s doom. The problem with it is that Merlin is very bad. [Others laugh] And so they try to set that up, but in between that moment and Arthur actually dying, there are like three dozen points at which Merlin could have stopped Arthur from dying. And he just doesn’t because the show was very badly written and they don’t know how to handle that Merlin is basically a god by the end of the show and can do anything.

Wes: [Laughs]

Chris: Yeah, that’s the thing is that there is clearly something that they have set up where he does the wrong thing, and that’s what dooms Arthur. But because the show is such a mess, it’s just hard to say whether this was supposed to be a theme that was embedded throughout, or is it something that was just kind of stuck half-ass in the fifth season?

Oren: And that’s something that I think a lot of authors have problems with because even though I don’t see that many tragedies, even though I don’t see that many tragedies in print, in published stories; a lot of the manuscripts I work with are tragedies on some level. And what authors seem to have trouble with is understanding that a character failing also has to be satisfying. If the character just fails because of bad luck, or because they were, you know, doomed from the start, or just for some kind of contrived reason, or just because they didn’t fight very good that day or something. That’s not satisfying. It’s not satisfying if they win that way either; but it’s worse if they lose that way, because theoretically we liked them. If not, you know, maybe there’s something else wrong.

Wes: That’s a really good point about satisfaction. Cause, I think that was something with Sophocles and the Greek playwrights and stuff is they wanted people to experience an emotional catharsis, to be satisfied at the conclusion of the story, having felt something. So it’s like, it’s gotta be earned, happy and sad endings. You gotta earn them.

Oren: If I may compare two masterworks — one of which does this correctly, and one of which does not. The first one is King Lear by good old Willie Shakes.

Wes: Billy.

Oren: Yeah. And the other is Coteries of New York, a vampire visual novel, which is very good until the end. Spoilers for that, by the way. So in King Lear, the reason why everything goes to crap and why King Lear and all the people he cared about die is because King Lear had a positive trait, which was loving and trusting his daughters. Which he took in a negative direction, especially when he decided he didn’t want to hear any of his youngest daughter’s lip. And so we could, you know, sympathize with Lear when he’s like, “Yeah, I’ll split my kingdom among my daughters. That sounds great. I love all of them. What could go wrong?” But we can see that that’s a mistake he’s making in his arrogance. He thinks that this will all go fine, right? And it leads to everyone dying.

Whereas in Coteries of New York, you just run around doing cool vampire stuff for a while, and then suddenly the end happens and the bad guy is just like, “Hey, I was too strong. I kill your cool mentor. And now you serve me.” And it’s like, oh, well, I guess that happened. You know, it’s just very unsatisfying. There’s nothing that your character did to cause that to happen. There’s no karmic debt that’s being paid off the way there is in King Lear. And granted, that would always be hard to do in a video game, because players would be like, “Well, were I this protagonist, I would simply choose not to make that wrong decision.” And you know, it’s a challenge, but that was the one they decided to take on and they flubbed it. They flubbed it bad.

Wes: [Laughs] Do you guys want to hear some etymology of “tragedy” real quick?

Oren: Please. I love etymology.

Wes: I mean, I really hope this is right, because I was so excited when I found this bit. So, you know. But so tragedy’s from the Greek — I don’t speak Greek at all, so I apologize, but — trag(o)-aoidiā, maybe, formed by combining the word tragos, which means “he goat”, and aeidein, meaning “song”. [Chris laughs] So a poet that told tragic stories was called a ‘tragoydos’, which basically meant “goat singer”. [Laughs]

Oren: Okay. I’ll buy that.

Chris: That’s amazing.

Wes: Yeah. And they don’t know, they were like, there was something about it like that these poets wore — either they wore goat skins or a key goat was like the prize among people who would swap tragedies because apparently that was a thing that they did. But yeah, ‘he-goat song’, tragedy. [Laughs]

Oren: I mean, if someone kept coming to my town and telling tragedies, when like, I was just trying to get through the winter, I might call them a goat too, to be fair.

Wes: True. Yeah.

Chris: [Laughs]

Oren: You know, like, “Get out of here you goat.”

Wes: “Get out of here, you goat.” [All laugh] One thing too, on the bit of satisfaction, good tragedies — the main character needs to be relatable and likable. And King Lear isn’t quite that; he definitely has some things that Oren pointed out. But I think about the entire — I’m going back into Star Wars. I know we’re not supposed to talk about the prequels, but we will. [Oren laughs]

They definitely set up all three of those thinking, “We’re going to do a tragedy for Darth Vader.” And I think Anakin completely fails at this because he’s never likable and he’s never really relatable. And everything he does, especially in Revenge of the Sith, is just suddenly so evil. I mean, it just seems wildly incompatible with what we’ve seen before in his behavior.

Oren: Well, Revenge of the Sith — or the whole prequel thing with Vader — is just a classic example of them not knowing how to create a karmic ending for Anakin. Because he does some bad stuff; but, first of all, it’s just way out of scope. Like in the second movie, he murders a whole camp full of non-combatants because his mom died. And it’s like, sure, that would make him mad, but clearly he’s now a mass murderer. It’s weird that we’re pretending he’s still a good guy who has some darkness in him. And then, they also just have the issue of failing to create causality between the things Anakin does at first and then the things he does later. He goes from, “I’m going to help Palpatine, because Palpatine can tell me how to save my wife.” ‘Cause you know, medicine in Star Wars is apparently very bad. There’s just no, you know, OB-GYN school of medicine.

And so somehow he goes from that to, “Well Padme’s dead, so I guess I’m going to serve Palpatine forever now. And I’m going to kill the children because Palpatine said so, and I’m going to kill Mace Windu for some reason. And it’s just, there’s no connection there. It’s like the only explanation is basically just that the Dark Side is mind controlling him, which is just not a very satisfying one. It’s like, okay, I guess he’s just got Dark Side contamination on him and that is just not that fun to watch, right? That’s not what a tragedy is.

Chris: Yeah, I do think that if you want it to be a tragedy and feel tragic, a lot of times you do have to have some sympathy for the person, the hero whose bad things has happened to them. As opposed to, if it’s just a horrible person, then it’s just catharsis more instead. It’s that you’re just enjoying watching somebody get punished. And it definitely is really tricky with likability where you do want them to earn their bad karma, at the same time you still want them to be likable. And I think as Oren said, causality, I think is the key here where you want them to have some sort of flaw, but it doesn’t have to be like ‘they’re a horrible murderer’ type flaw. [Wes laughs] It could be a fairly minor flaw as long as you can show the causality of how that creates disastrous results.

One I like to bring up is actually Eddard Stark in game of Thrones, because in this case, Eddard Stark’s flaw is something that in another story would be a strength instead. But because we can see the causality of why this was a wrong choice of — and for anybody who’s not familiar, I don’t think I’m spoiling much by saying Eddard Stark dies because this happens in the first book. Although, it is pretty shocking in the first book, if you’re not familiar with it. But basically how he dies is he’s been doing some uncovering to find out that the queen is treacherous and he’s serving the king. The King is his friend, but he knows when he reveals her treachery to the king — the fact that her children are not the king’s children — that the King will just kill her and the children. And so he, because he doesn’t want the children to die because they’re innocent, decides to warn her ahead of time. But then that gives her the time that she needs to strike out instead, and that results in his death. And so it’s, he’s sticking to his morals to a point where it’s impractical and he’s being almost naive in doing so.

And you can see the connection for why that was disastrous trait to have in this situation. And of course, you know, context and setting up ahead of time that this is not a type of world where unfailingly sticking to your morals, regardless of the situation is a good idea. ‘Cause it’s a very brutal world, and that is also set up ahead.

Oren: It’s the same with Arthas from the Warcraft games, which is one of the better tragic characters of modern media. In his case, his trait is that he’s really devoted to defending his people and winning this war. And in a lot of stories, that would be a purely admirable trait. But in this case, it leads him to make the unwise decision to use this cursed artifact. And earlier I critiqued Anakin for just being mind-controlled by the dark side of the force. So why am I saying Arthas is cool for being mind-controlled by this evil sword? The reason is that Arthas makes the choice to pick the sword up. He knows that the sword is dangerous and could control him, but because he is so devoted to winning this war, and not thinking of other ways, that he has this flaw and he thinks he’s great that he can do it. He chooses to pick up the sword, and so he then suffers the consequences. Whereas Anakin never really has anything like that. If there was a moment where Anakin chose to use the dark side of the force to save someone he cared about, and then we showed that the dark side started to take him over, that would be very different. We never see that in the prequels. We just see that Anakin’s just kind of a bad person from the beginning. And then I guess the dark side gets him.

Chris: Right. He’s also kind of being tricked.

Wes: Yeah. He is being tricked.

Chris: And he’s being kind of like seduced because he doesn’t know that the Sith lord that he’s working for is the Sith lord, at the beginning, right? So he doesn’t actually make that bad choice, and just being tricked isn’t enough of bad karma for your character to have something terrible happen to them.

Oren: Although if you built up some kind of thing where Anakin was just overly trusting of Palpatine, and trusted him and did a thing that seemed like a good idea because he trusted Palpatine, but then it turned out to be a mistake, and someone else in that situation could have seen through it if they hadn’t had that extreme trust for Palpatine, again, that could have worked.

Chris: There could have been even a King Lear situation, right? Where we set up that the reason he trusts Palpatine is he only wants to listen to people who tells him what he wants to hear.

Wes: Just fixed it, you guys. [Laughter]

Oren: I do think that as a rule, tragedies are less common, just because it’s harder to do a sad ending in a way that’s satisfying. Especially in prose where you don’t get to see the actors doing all of their acting.

Chris: Yeah. I have to ask, it feels like even when you do a tragedy that’s correctly constructed, a lot of people just don’t want to go through a story only to be sad at the end. Not that there isn’t value in that, but…

Wes: I enjoy a good sad, every now and then; but yeah, most people consume their media of choice to not necessarily feel sad. So it’s just a smaller group of readers, right?

Chris: Right. Which, not that there isn’t an audience for that, but it does make me wonder about theater. ‘Cause it feels like the number of tragedies in theaters is disproportionate to the audience size that it feels like there are for tragedies, at least in prose. And so I’ve always wondered, how did theaters make their money with so many tragedies. Or did they just not, [Laughs] maybe is the answer to that?

Oren: Well, I mean, part of the answer to that is Shakespeare throwing in his weird jester characters to keep you entertained between moments of tragedy. But I mean, I don’t know. I sort of have a hypothesis that part of the reason that theater has an out-sized representation of tragedies is that the plays that survive were written by kind of, uh, shall we say pretentious intellectuals who thought that they were being very deep. [Chris laughs] And some of them actually were, right? Some tragedies are deep, but I mean, you can see the same thing now.

Chris: Right, it’s like the Hugo winners of the theater era.

Oren: The pretentious, intellectual, literary elite, whatever, don’t really represent necessarily what it is people actually like about stories. And I just have a hypothesis that that’s the way it is with theater, too. Those are the plays that survived because those were the ones written by famous intellectual people. And so we have like a kind of outsized tragedy.

Chris: And preserved by the elite, right? As opposed to what most people actually wanted to see in the theater.

Oren: Right. As opposed to all the plays that we’ll never know about, because there wasn’t any reason to preserve them.

Chris: That’s a good theory.

Oren: And there are other reasons, like there are periods of European theater that are almost entirely tragedy for religious reasons. Because they’re all about how man is bad and how you need God, and if you don’t get Jesus, the devil is going to eat ya. And they decided that the most effective way to teach this lesson was to show you a story of a man who didn’t have Jesus, and then the devil ate him. But there’s a reason we don’t do those plays anymore, right? [Laughter] Like, so a lot less satisfying than Macbeth, or Othello, or Hamlet.

Wes: It’s funny that — I mean, Macbeth is a tragedy in the technical definition, but it’s not nearly… It doesn’t create a sense of sadness that Lear or Othello, or like Hamlet — I mean, like everybody dies in Hamlet — conveys. Macbeth is, I dunno, I can’t help but just root for Macbeth and especially Lady Macbeth, because some witches give them some prophecy and they’re like, “Okay. Yeah, let’s do this.” And I’m like, yeah, you guys, you go do it.

Oren: Yeah. Well, okay. So I think I have some thoughts on Macbeth. Okay. So my, my hypothesis is that first of all, once you’ve seen Macbeth enough times where you start to identify with the character of Macbeth, just because that’s the one you see the most. I also cheer for Macbeth, now, when I watch a good production of Macbeth. I mean, part of the reason why is that they always get the most charismatic actor they can find to play Macbeth and, you know, hopefully someone really good to play Lady Macbeth. When Patrick Stewart is playing Macbeth, yeah, I’m going to sympathize with Macbeth. That’s just how it’s going to happen.
But I also suspect that part of what makes Macbeth work — and I don’t really know how to replicate this — is that at the beginning of the play, it’s pretty clear that these two characters are the villains. And so you’re waiting for them to get their comeuppance, which they do. Like at the end of Macbeth, the good guys win. The good guys are just not Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Wes: The expectations are clear from the get-go, which makes it really easy to follow.

Oren: Do you happen to remember when in the play they start talking about how like Duncan is — or maybe not Duncan — but like, when do they start giving like hints or prophecies that Macbeth is going to die? Do you remember how early that happens?

Wes: It’s not the first time he talks to the witches; but it’s the second time he goes to meet the witches, when they talk about how the forest will move against him, but then they say that no man born of woman can kill him. And then that’s how we — the big reveal at the end is when Macduff is like, “I’m a C-section baby.”

Oren: Right. I mean, you don’t need to be a Rhodes scholar to figure out there’s going to be a loophole in that one. [Laughter]

Chris: Right, that’s obviously being set up so that it will be subverted and that’s obviously setting up for a reveal.

Wes: I think it’s like act two Oren, right? Like later act two, maybe.

Chris: But just to go back to that, having your character who’s tragic just be set up as a plain villain who you’re waiting for them to fail is not something that I would generally recommend that people do.

Oren: I would not, no.

Chris: Right. And so, yes, it does set up expectations so that you’re not as upset when that person dies at the end, but it also gives less reason for the audience to continue. And I think if you have something that’s visual, like you’re in theater or a movie — especially if you’re in a movie theater, right. You’re already in a theater. It’s a lot easier. Your audience is more captive and there’s also the visual spectacle and performance aspect, and it’s shorter. When you get something like a novel, trying to do that, where you start with somebody who’s like, yeah, this person is just a villain and bad person, and you’re going to see them fail at the end, which a lot of writers want to do; I can’t recommend that because a novel takes quite a long time to read, dedication, multiple. You have to put it down, and pick it back up again. There’s no visual spectacle. It’s not a captive audience at all. And it just doesn’t usually give people much reason to continue because they don’t care about the character.

Oren: When it comes down to it, the bottom line is that prose is more work than other forms of media. It takes more work on the reader’s part to get through your story than it does if they’re watching a play or a movie. There’s a reason why your visual artist friends can post a picture they made and everyone’s like, “That’s cool,” and gives them lots of heart reacts. Whereas you’re like, “Can someone read my story?” And everyone’s like, “Eh, I mean, I gotta like, wash my hair. So I don’t know.” [Laughter]

It’s because one of them is way more work than the other one. Even if the picture’s not good, right? It only took me a couple seconds to look at it and be like, “You did a great job, you worked hard”, and put a heart react. Whereas if I have to read even a bad short story, that’s like an hour of my time. [Wes laughs] You want an hour of my time? You better make it worth my while, sir.

Wes: Oh man, this is the true tragedy right here. [Laughter]

Oren: Yeah, I know, right? Guys, I’ve solved the problem with literature. I figured it out. It’s that it’s hard. It’s boring. No one wants to read. [Laughter]

Wes: Oh boy, sad.

Oren: I mean, it’ll be fine until we get CGI software down to the point when like anyone can do it on like a $5 budget. I don’t think it’s going to be a huge problem, but we’ll see. All right. Well, speaking of that being the final tragedy, we are pretty much out of time on this podcast. I hope that you can see how our internal flaws led to this ending, where we basically concluded that prose is a bad storytelling medium. [Laughter]

Wes: Oh, no, what have we done?

Chris: Oh, no, the prophecy came true.

Oren: Oh, no!

Chris: We just didn’t know how.

Oren: We just didn’t know how it was going to happen. And now Arthur’s dead. So we’re going to go ahead and end the podcast on that note. If anything we said piqued your interest, you can leave a comment on the web site at Mythcreants.com.

But before we go, I want to thank a few of our totally non-tragic patrons. First there is Kathy Ferguson, who is a professor of political theory in Star Trek. Next there was Ayman Jaber, who is an urban fantasy writer and a connoisseur of Marvel. And finally we have Danita Rambo and she lives at therambogeeks.com. We’ll talk to you next week.

P.S. Our bills are paid by our wonderful patrons. Could you chip in?

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