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TV Tropes Monday: Artificial Limbs

Tweet of the Day: Sci-Fi Romance Heroines and the Chivalric Code


Nothing says, “Welcome to the Future!” like a background character sporting a shiny new cybernetic arm, or an advert on TV about the new YT-900 series of artificial legs that allow you to run three times as fast as best human athlete. Real life Artificial Limbs rarely confer super strength or speed as they do in fiction but are growing in sophistication. Nor are these limbs limited to science fiction. Multiple fantasy and steampunk stories feature magical or alchemical contraptions that allow otherwise disable characters to move about freely with significant advantages over the flesh and blood counterparts.

When it comes to using this trope as a story element it usually falls somewhere between Nature vs. Technology. On the Nature side, the new limb is a inferior replacement, a reminder of something lost. Not just the loss of flesh, but also a lost of innocence and purity. On the Technology side, the new limb is an upgrade, a sign of the times where man transcends the limits of the mortal coil. Even when an author presents both sides of the divide, they tend to chose one over the other.


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Weekend Wrapup: October 12-18


Tweet of the Day: 8 Elements to NAILING Your Plot & Owning NaNo


Oh this week….

The week of something awful. That vague feeling that nothing is right with the world. Mind you, if you’re keeping up with the news there is a lot of people screaming about a lot of scary things, or at least things they want you to be scared about. But you always find a place a place for shelter from the withering storm. Until you find something rotten there as well. Famous writers promoting pedophilia, hobbyist exposed as massive misogynist, death threats for the mos innocuous stuff, it never seems to end. Add a dollop of family (and familiar) drama and well it ends up being…well…one of those weeks. But you’re not here for the moaning (at least not that kind of moaning). You’re here to catch up on the week in posts:

By the way, I suggest you follow Dodger (the wonderful human being behind Welcome to the Fandom). If you ever need a pick me up, she is it.  To quote her, I hope you had an amazing week.



Space for Rent: An Open Letter to “Both Sides”


Nobody likes to be the bad guy.

Rarely does a bad guy sees himself as a bad guy.

Yet, sometimes you are wrong.

Sometimes, I am wrong.

How so?

If you defend pedophilia? You are wrong.

If you side with serial abusers, stalkers, and misogynist? Guess what, you are wrong.

It may not seem fair that you got tainted by their stench. It is not fair at all. But sometimes doing the right thing means walking away from the wrong.

Fairness abused is unfair.

Yes, there are both sides to each story.

And sometimes one side is just wrong.

You don’t need to side with the worst of humanity just to make a point you already made so many times before.

Just walk away.

Just let it go.

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Mass Effect: Cargo


Tweet of the Day: Levels of Violence in Science Fiction


A thick curtain of smoke covered the entrance. Periodically, pairs of mechs would march through, guns blazing. A few shotgun blast later and they joined the pile of smoking servos on the floor.

Turtman turned to Mr. Aten, “I think it’s time to break out your pyjak moves, Mr. Aten.”

Mr. Aten cloaked. More smoke grenades exploded around the entrance. The batarian engineer, Si’nn, curled into a ball in the deepest, smallest corner of the room.

Mr. Aten even yet deep voice came over the radio, “Enemy at platoon strength, plus eight mechs. The leading pair are at ten meters from your location armed with grenade launchers. A well timed attack should disperse their leading elements and give me an opening to strike.”

“Got it,” said Turman. “Listen up, overload your guns and set for ten meters. I want time on target on my mark,” he said to the others.

The other krogan nodded in turn. Turtman got out of cover. A blue sphere appeared on his right hand.

“Whenever you’re ready, Mr. Aten,” said Turtman.

“Now,” said Mr. Aten.

Turtman hurled the biotic sphere down the corridor. Simultaneously, the other krogan fired their overloaded shot guns. Turtman let out a battle roar and charged through the smoke. He jumped over the debris of two more mechs, shot an batarian in the face and backhanded another mercenary into wall. The body slumped to the ground and twitched for a few seconds.

Mr. Aten stepped around another corpse father down the line, “I think it is time to secure the bridge. Mr. Si’nn?”

“Yeah, I’m coming, I’m coming,” said the batarian as he gingerly stepped over the bodies.

They double timed it to the bridge. Two krogan took positions on both sides of the doors while a third cut through with his omni-tool. The moment the doors snapped open, the assault force threw a volley of flashbangs inside. A series of loud flashes followed. The krogans stormed the bridge. A few mercenaries fired back but the sheer force of the assault neutralized them. Verminus jumped from the back of the captain’s chair. He knocked Turtman flat on his back. The turians sharp talons dug into Turtman throat. Verminus’ eyes shone with bright white light.


“Not today,” said Turtman.

He shoved the turian aside with a biotic blast. Verminus bounced back from the floor. Turtman stuck the barrel of his shotgun in Verminus face. One pull of the trigger later and Verminus headless body crumbled in a pool of blue blood.

“I say I missed you, but I didn’t,” said Turtman. He tapped his another krogan on the shoulder, “Status?”

“Bridge secured, sir,” said his second in command.

Mr. Si’nn went over the consoles and gasped.

“Something wrong, Mr. Si’nn,” asked Mr. Aten.

“Yeah, something is wrong. There is a thing in cargo bay B and it putting out all kinds of radiation. We have dark energy spikes across the board,” said Mr. Si’nn.

Mr. Aten and Turtman moved to Si’nn’s position. An object that looked like a small pyramid emanated pulses of white light.

“That, Mr. Si’nn, is a Reaper artifact,” declared Mr. Aten.

Si’nn shook his head, “That’s why the captain ordered us to abandon ship.  We were ordered to stop by a research station out in Orthus. Okay, opening cargo bay doors. Cargo lifters engaged. Damn, it’s too heavy. Disengaging artificial gravity.”

Diverting all power to the FTL drive including inertial dampeners,” said Si’nn. Si’nn rushed to another panel. “You better grab on to something quick.”

Turtman did as he was told then radio the team on in the shuttle bay, “Sergeant Kratos, get your team back into the shuttle and hold on, we are about to jump,” radioed Turtman.


“Just do it!” said Turtman.

“Dampeners at minimum power, navigation computer is online, jumping in three, two, one!”


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TV Tropes Monday: A Storm is Coming


Tweet of the Day: On sexism, sexual assault and the threat of the ‘non-bro’


A Storm is Coming….

A trope used so often that it also a cliche. But why is this trope so popular? What is it about the image of a storm on the horizon that conveys doom and gloom like nothing else? Well, for once it is a kind of Moody Weather, where in the weather obligingly fits the mood of the story. Storms are dark and… yes, tempestuous, just like the best conflicts in stories. They are also unpredictable yet inevitable. Wild winds, torrential rains, pummeling sleet, smothering snow are some of the hazards that storms bring. You don’t know what will survive intact. The strongest structures collapse, the flimsiest things remain unscathed.  The sense of unpredictability adds to the foreboding. So does the sense that you can not outrun a storm, only take shelter from it. And as seen above, there might not be shelter strong enough to protect you. All this adds up to a sense of hopelessness bordering on despair.

Whether natural or man made, storms mark the landscape.

But storms pass.

People survive.

Communities rebuild.

Until the storm comes again.


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Sunday Treat: Welcome to the Fandom

Tweet of the Day: Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Strategic Thinking


I haven’t done one of these in awhile so here it is. Meet Dodger, YouTube personality, gamer, geek, manga/anime fan, and all around swell gal. She is loved by two kitties, named Sherlock and Watson (of course) and works for the video game YouTube channel Polaris. She also does her own videos on the side including the series Welcome to the Fandom, where in she discusses aspects of fandom. If you ever wondered about such things as fan fiction, shipping, tropes, and anime, among other things, this is a great place to start:

I hope you enjoy it. Yes, she is speaking to us from her closet. No, it doesn’t mean anything other that it the best place in her apartment for it.


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Weekend Roundup: October 5 – 11

Tweet of the Day: Bulfinch’s Mythology as Myth-Making


About a month ago I wrote about so called Gamer Gate on this blog. I laid down some of my thoughts about it in a “split down the middle and see what is inside” kind of way.  While most of my points were pro-consumer and critical of the media my last point was directed at those using social media to harass and intimidate others. Some fine folks like John “Total Biscuit” Bain, Erik Kain (from The Wall Street Journal), and The Escapist Magazine tried to give a voice to all sides and have a serious discussion about the issues. But as I wrote on that post:

There is a clear set of agendas behind some in #GamerGate and the like that have nothing to do with games, journalism, ethics, or support for consumers but rather neo-atheist/MRAs with a clear anti-feminist agenda that simply have latched on to certain figures in the industry to vent their views upon.

In other words it backfired spectacularly.  One might even say, predictably. It is very difficult to extract gold out of a cesspool as The Escapist found out the hard way. Take this example by “Xbro”:

“I’ve personally been against the phenomena of ‘social justice warriors’, as well as the path certain gaming publications have taken in recent years (more and more discussions on morals, feminism, misogyny and other non-game related issues, and less talk about actual games and the industry).”

If this is “I don’t want your girl cooties in my video games” rant, I don’t know what is. One interview got cut out because the person interview has a track record of harassing people online, including contributors to the magazine.  This is the kind of raising the ghetto walls that Michal of the excellent One Last Sketch blog and I have talked about.  The only thing that I can do is once again make a call to burn down the wagons and move on from this sorry state of affairs.

Well I ranted long enough, now lets have a look at this week’s post:

So much for this week and thanks for all the fish!



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