Rape in Life and Fiction

Tarquinius and Lucretia

Tarquinius and Lucretia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that’s not a pretentious blog post title or anything…..

As I write this, society (or at least social media) is still reeling with the verdict from the Stuebenville rape case, in which two high school athletes (illegally drinking) sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl (illegally drinking) and were convicted with minor sentences, possibly never carrying the sex offender label, with a warning from the judge to be careful “how you record things on social media that are so prevalent today.” That’s right, kids, if you’re going to rape, just be sure your friends don’t post incriminating evidence on YouTube.

My opinion’s clear enough in the above paragraph on that case, so I won’t spend any more time on that. But the trial prompted me to review a topic I’d been mulling occasionally already, on rape in fiction. Continue reading

Fantasy, and Why We Need It

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(Photo credit: Hani Amir)

Today I intend to justify fantasy as a genre. Not that it needs justified, no more than any other genre, but I’m going to anyway.

But first, I’m going to tell you a story. Continue reading

The Music of the Spheres

Han Solo

Han Solo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Working on a science-fiction short and surprising myself with how much I’m enjoying it. One of my writers’ group last night commented that a character was “a mix of a symphony conductor and Han Solo” — and I’m pretty happy with that description.

I went searching today for some title ideas, and I happened across this nifty toy — tool — program — quest — thing, a computer code meant to blend mathematics and light and sound into a literal music of the spheres. Continue reading

Ben-Hur: Drama, Conflict, and Parody

Cover of "Ben-Hur (Four-Disc Collector's ...

Cover of Ben-Hur (Four-Disc Collector’s Edition)I love Ben Hur.

I love Ben-Hur.

Yes, it’s become somewhat fashionable in recent years for critics to wave their hands disdainfully at the film which was previously held in such esteem. Fine, they can have their pretense of superior taste. And okay, sure, trends in acting have changed in the last half-century. But I still love the film.

No, seriously, I once calculated that I’ve spent maybe half a week or so of my life watching Ben-Hur. Step aside, amateurs. Continue reading

A Game Not For One Night, But For A Thousand and One Nights….

English: Princess Parizade Bringing Home the S...

Princess Parizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree, 1906, oil on paper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend Mark gave me a new board game for Christmas. The setting is the world of the traditional 1001 Nights, in which Scheherazade is weaving tales to amuse Shahryar and keep herself alive. Players are story characters, with literally thousands of game paths (very re-playable).

It’s a bit different, as games go, rewarding not just game accomplishments in terms of points or accumulated treasures and things, but extreme storytelling — that is, the more dramatic, tragic, twisted, inspiring, and generally enthralling your character’s journey is, the more likely you’ll win the game. Continue reading

Choose Your Own Hamlet Adventure?!

I’m not making this up. Check this out. Shakespeare’s Hamlet as a choose-your-own-path book. With lots and lots of illustrations.

I really love Hamlet, and I also really love parodies of Hamlet. This sounds kinda awesome.

Continue reading

Our Annual Christmas Movie, and Don’t Argue With Me.

English: Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna...

Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly every year of my life, my immediate family has gathered on Christmas Eve, invited friends and pseudo-adopted family, eaten ourselves silly on shrimp and brownies and cheese balls and red and green M&Ms, and watched It’s a Wonderful Life.

“That old hack of a film? Really?” you ask.

If you asked it silently to yourself, read on, and I’ll explain. If you asked aloud, there’s the door over there. We don’t argue about It’s a Wonderful Life. Continue reading

The Seventh Day of Kitsune – Where Are They Now? Part 1

This entry is part 7 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune

So for thousands of years, creatures of folklore and mythology have stalked the Japanese countryside, keeping wayward children in at night. But what about in the era of electric lights and digital cameras? What happened to the youkai, the bakemono, the monomo and ayakeshi — where are they now?

They’re glad you asked. Continue reading

The Fifth Day of Kitsune — Dining with the Daimyou

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune
nishiki food market, kyoto, pickled vegetables...

nishiki food market, kyoto, pickled vegetables (nukamiso) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we’re going to have a meal with the oyakata-sama and okugata-sama, the lord and lady of the household. Have you been practicing with your chopsticks? I hope you’re hungry! Continue reading

Pep Talk from Hell.

Anger Controlls Him

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone on the NaNoWriMo chat group mentioned a technique in which a writer writes a pep talk from his or her characters. She said she had found it helpful.

I hadn’t heard of the technique, but just the thought of it scared the snot out of me. Continue reading