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Author of off-kilter Sci Fi/fantasy books. Fond of apocalyptic and fantastical things. Known for phuquerie. I bite. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00BGWZRCW

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Hipsters: Why They're Not The End, Part 2

 Hello, hello!

So, this article came out not long ago. And more recently, we saw this one. And this one. And this one. Now, it's well-known that I technically participate in several of these cultures to a certain extent. Hippie and bohemian styles influence my wardrobe heavily, and writing from the romantic era of the 19th century is some of my favorite. And, yes, I've even been known to listen to a lot of 'indie' music and drink microbrews, and yes, there's a lot more black velvet and Victorian trappings and lace in my wardrobe than statistically average. So take that for what it's worth: I could be lumped into some of 'these people' and these tribes (in the Doctorow sense of the word).

Also, I haven't included the geek culture in this discussion because it's actually a departure from the trend, but there are some similarities. However, I don't want to get sidelined into some sort of 'geeks and nerds are morally superior' crapsack of an endless debate, so let's set that to the side. Why hipsters? Well, I got started with this post, so here's the rest of it--the how and the why, the rhyme and the reason.




Source. Even Victor Hugo liked to make fun of those damn bohemians.


How did this whole thing happen, anyway? When did being poor and dressing strangely become cool? 

I got started on it last week, but let's go deeper.

There's an element of classism here that cuts both ways in these aesthetics. Rich or middle-class kids pretending to be poor, poor kids pretending to be rich--British 'Chav' kids, for instance--and a tendency for the movements to be centred on white (Euro/American) kids while borrowing from other cultures to be cool, without providing context for them. The rapper kids are another glaring example of this trend, borrowing the aesthetic and struggles of African-Americans to provide a cool factor. Obviously, my knowledge here is limited to North America's trends, but I know quite a few of these actually originated in Europe, and that Europe partook in the phenomena, so that's something. (If anyone has more cultural context they want to share in the comments, awesome.)

Another thing about the rich-people-pretending-to-be-poor element common to all of these is that it lends a sort of false dignity and nobility to the kids who practice the lifestyles. I've read On the Road by Kerouac a couple of times, and The Great Gatsby as well, and they both exemplify this nicely. People love to slum it, partaking in what's perceived to be a 'more difficult' lifestyle to make them feel that their own wheel-spinning has context and meaning. After all, if you're poor, you must be doing something hard, right? And if you're suffering, life has meaning. Oh, sure, it may suck, but life without resistance and struggle is the most boring thing imaginable. "We droids are made to suffer, it's our lot in life", but if we didn't, we wouldn't be human.

Less philosophically, there's also the whole nasty 'noble poverty' culture we've been bequeathed from Regency and Victorian-era philosophers. Telling oneself that one's serfs are 'better people' for their suffering and that a reward awaits in the Great (Theoretical) Hereafter, and that everything will be better, is a great way to shut your conscience up. But the Victorian Calvinists weren't the only ones at it--there's certainly some traces of that line of thought in the Feudal era. Though admittedly, Victorian fascination for the Middle Ages has kind of messed up our understanding of what they were actually like, so this might just be another one of those industrial-era-guilt-and-inequality things.

So...isn't this still a cultural cancer? 


Are hipsters the polo and hair-gelled vanguard of the apocalypse? Nah. The movements above are definitely products of inequality, but realistically speaking, we're not going to stop having obnoxious rich/middle-class people pretending to be poor until we fix widespread economic inequality. And even then, that could worsen the problem--given the current exploitative structure of our economic system, there's a chance that hipsters/poverty fetishization would worsen as it became rarer. Seems like a small price to pay, frankly.

With life being easier for those in the middle and upper classes than it ever was before, and a large (though apparently shrinking) middle class, the fake struggle in hipsterdom certainly has a weird kind of appeal. Consider the flannels and Pabst Blue Ribbon and keffiahs--all of them were symbols of the lower class and of oppressed people. Ironically, by appropriating these symbols, they've lost their original meaning.

However, wailing and gnashing our teeth over fashion isn't the answer. People make new symbols. The old ones endure in spite of fashion trends, and even if ubiquity has deleterious effects on sacredness, it can't erase that sacredness completely. Irony, too, is probably safe as a form of expression. At worst, it's going to fall out of favour, but that just means it'll be cool again in twenty years. We can slag the fashion industry for borrowing and recycling and basically doing a one-man Human Centipede with trends, but that's been going on for several hundred years. We borrow, we steal, we modify, we file off serial numbers--this is human nature.

I don't think it's possible to eradicate hipsters, because by the very nature of cultural cycles, something else will rise up to replace them. Again, geek culture is kind of doing this right now, but the poor-is-cool aspect isn't as predominant. It has its own issues, such as racism and misogyny, but it's kind of a step forward in the whole trend cycle.



Source.

Do we need to fix it?


Yes? No? Maybe? As noted above, this isn't something you really fix. It's a chronic condition, something you live with and try to ameliorate. But who knows? Maybe we'll some day come up with a happy drug that makes people treat each other with respect and not steal from each other's cultures disrespectfully and not idolize being poor because it somehow makes you a better person. I tend to doubt it, but I guess we could try borrowing from bonobos--those little guys seem to have the whole diffusing conflict thing worked out pretty well. In the meantime, being aware that colonialism hasn't really stopped might help. At least people are starting to figure that out. Starting.

I'd like to end with a non-ironic Kurt Vonnegut quote that sticks in my head on a regular basis:

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”



*****
Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hipsters: The Cultural Circlejerk, Part 1

 Hello, hello!

So, this article came out not long ago. And more recently, we saw this one. And this one. And this one. Like emo kids from the early/mid-2000s, hipsters are the well-worn punching bags of the internet. And of course, formal media sites also love to take shots at them. From claiming that they're using moral high grounds to dispense the most obnoxious kind of liberal hypocrisy to claiming (ironically) that they're killing culture with overuse of irony, we love to hate on hipsters.

Why hipsters? Why are bearded, skinny-jeans-wearing, paperboy-hatted, fixer-bike and typewriter-using, soy-latte-drinking, occasionally androgynous, infamously Tumblr and Instagram-addicted twentysomethings getting so much heat?



Source.


Clothes (and beards) make the punching bag


But the real issue is actually just something very familiar--a vintage issue, even--dressed up in a flannel shirt and thrift-store fur coat. The hate on hipsters is about class warfare and the backlash against the social ruling elite, a fight against the arbitrary and frustrating realm of coolness.

It's fashionable to look "poor" and to dress like the blue-collar workers, even to drink their beer--Pabst Blue Ribbon was originally the "working man's" beer. This might have started as a backlash against the trappings of wealth, but in the context of irony-worship, it has a nasty undertone to it. I'm just going to offer the phrase "ironic poverty" and leave it there for you to dissect and unpack.

Hipster culture also comes from university students, who are in the unusual economic bracket composed of people just well-off enough to attend university or college, but who often have to work their fingers to the bone in order to afford attendance. Thus, the fashion statements hipsters make, with thrift-store aesthetics as chic must-haves, actually result in offering more flexible fashion options for people who can't afford new clothes.

So how the hell did this become a subculture, and why "contaminate" other subcultures by saying that hipsters are just repeating the mistakes of those who came before?



Source. The terrifying thing? The term "hippy" came from the word "hipster".


What makes a subculture?


 Consider a few other famous targets of a backlash, with eras. These groups comprise people who were both idolised and derided. All of these terms were used--and sometimes still are used--as perjoratives as well as descriptors.

  • Emo kids (mid-2000s)
  • Rappers and gangsta kids (mid-2000s)
  • Jocks (90s)
  • Yuppies (80s and 90s)
  • Hippies (60s and 70s)
  • Beatniks/Hipsters (50s)
  • Jazz fiends (30s and 40s)
  • Flappers (20s) 
  • Bohemians (1830s onward; resurgence in 60s, 90s)

Obviously, this could be further refined, but you should notice an interesting and very consistent trend. The mechanics of the trends share a shocking amount of overlap. These include wealth-restricted items, such as craft beers, brand-y designer shoes, fancy coffees, and weird knick-knacks; unusual clothing that is imitated by the mainstream designers but also rejected by them mainstream culture, and a sense of common culture between people who participate in the movement that also involves rejecting the 'normals'. The rappers, punks, and some of the fiends were definitely associated with poorer populations, but it was the rich who made the trends, well, trendy.

A bunch of them--the Jazz fiends, Bohemians, Rappers, Hippies, and Yuppies--also tended to rest of borrowing elements of their trends from non-Anglo-Saxon cultures. Jazz fiends and Rappers lean on the experiences, music, and stylings of African-American people; Bohemians and Hippies (as well as some Yuppies) borrowed from Indian, First Nations/Indian American, and Asian cultures in their aesthetics.

Maybe it's also about a coping mechanism for wealth and white privilege--camouflaging oneself and playing dress-up in an (admittedly problematic and strange) attempt to understand other people's lives and experiences. However, the line between participating in someone's culture and dressing up as that culture, especially in the context of the weird ironic racism thing, is a pretty easy-to-define one. Sure, culture-hunting makes a certain amount of sense, and learning is good--but minimal-effort learning and, as I said, "playing dress-up" are really bad things.

However, this is running a little on the long side--next time, let's talk about how the whole thing got started. There's a few hints here, but of course, I'm not going to stop here. Tune in next week!

*****
Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 



Saturday, 2 August 2014

Comparatively Analyse This: American Psycho vs American Psycho vs Banksters, Part 2


Hello hello!

This is a continuation of a three-way comparative analysis of American Psycho the movie vs the book vs an indie parody/standalone called Banksters by Nic Wilson. Obviously, there are some epic

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS


ahead. Round one is here, but let's get to round two. This is a three-way fight--book vs book vs movie!



It's like the internet!

Portrayal of Characters


Banksters has more female characters, and the side characters feel more real than the ones in American Psycho. Obviously, this is intentional, because the human cost in Banksters actually feels higher. They both have a detached prose style, but you can still get a glimpse of humanity in the first one. Like Patrick Bateman, Mark Danes is a misogynist, but his casual objectification is less grating and repetitive, and like a shark, he just doesn't care about his victims. It makes the book a lot easier to read, but the characters also stand alone from the American Psycho cast quite well. Alice and Elizabeth, in particular, are great, and his secretary, Petra, and the head of security, Julee, were both memorable, too.

The thing about the characters in American Psycho is that the detachment comes back to haunt the author--Jeannette the secretary and Luis Carruthers were fairly human, and even Courtney and Evelyn were somewhat unintentionally sympathetic, but the other yuppies are just so interchangeable and dully horrible that you don't even mind much when bad things happen to them. Again, that's the point, but it's still annoying. And poor Bethany--I liked her so much for the brief time we spent with her. It was a damn shame.

In the movie, the detachment comes across too, but the characters are still a bit better and more carefully treated, and there are fewer, too, which makes for a less confusing flow. Of course, you can also see some of the points the book is trying to make--I mean that literally; Bateman's physical similarities to his friends are clearer. Christian Bale and Willem Dafoe and Reese Witherspoon all do a great job bringing the characters to life, and they lose none of the humour from the book. Well, it's a little blunter, maybe, but it works better, and it's a fair tradeoff for all the damn torture porn in the original.



Source. I feel like Bale had too much fun with this role. Seriously. Too much fun. It's scary.

Ending 


Banksters has an evil but satisfying...happy ending, I guess? I don't want to spoil that, actually, in spite of my warning, because it is the indie book and most people won't know about it. However, I will say that it was narratively satisfying.

My biggest problem with American Psycho, in contrast, was the ending--it was not narratively satisfying, it felt rushed and sloppy, and it didn't really have enough of a payoff after all the build-up. I literally threw down my phone (I tend to read on my Kindle app) and yelled, "WHAT THE PHUQUE?" when I was finished. Then I had to listen to Evil Dead: The Musical and read Charles Dickens until my soul felt cleaner. It was gross and infuriating and hopeless, and not in a way that was appreciable, either. Sure, madness narratives aren't really where you go for a happy ending, but they don't have to be letdowns either.

Now, the movie has to cut so much from the book that it's much more compact and tightly paced, and for the most part, that works to its advantage. There is a big change, though; Jean finds Bateman's crude scribbles in a dayplanner, and they don't really have a relationship. Also, Bateman's lack of resolution is left intact--but here, again, the metaphor for the corruption in Wall Street and the human cost of it, and the meaninglessness of a single person's attempts to reform all come across more clearly. It's the same, but it's better.

Final Verdict 


Over all, I think I liked the movie most, but Banksters bruised my soul a lot less, and that counts for something. Oh, they're all brutal, but I think it's a mark of style and panache if a book or movie can scare you more by doing less. The ultimate horror film, I think, would be rated PG for gore alone (Parental Guidance, for non-Canadians, is basically a G rating with a few swearwords) but leave you awake and shaking in bed for days. Banksters was disturbing in a way that lingered, and it had the least gore of all, though there is a graphic rape scene at the end of the book. I'd have to call this one a tie between the movie version of American Psycho and Banksters. 

Here's the breakdown:

American Psycho--book: 4/10
American Psycho--movie: 8/10
Banksters--book only: 9/10

Basically, I only enjoyed two thirds of the experience, but it was still worth it. So, on that note, I'm going to go watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic or some Jane Austen or something to cleanse my soul.

*****
Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Comparatively Analyse This: American Psycho vs American Psycho vs Banksters, Part 1

Hello hello!

So, while I write and edit, I sneak in time to read for leisure, and I often play movies and shows in the background while I edit. In a way, this is technically a "Missed It" review, because I have the marvellous skill (?) of being ten years late to every party, and of somehow insulating myself from things I haven't seen or read, no matter how famous they are. Obviously, both the movie and book fit these perimeters.

But let's talk about the book and the movie. I just finished reading American Psycho, and the movie called to me--especially after a bunch of my friends confirmed that it's much better. Obviously, there are some epic

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS


ahead. I'll also be mentioning an indie parody called Banksters by Nic Wilson because it's based on American Psycho. Now, with that out of the way, let's get down to business. This is a three-way fight--book vs book vs movie!

Banksters


I've mentioned it before, but I actually had the chance to read that first, before either the book or movie crossed the desk in my mind-palace. Banksters focuses on the machinations of a sociopath sexing, manipulating, and murdering his way to the top of a company. It's less metaphorical than American Psycho, and Mark Danes is both a more appealing protagonist and a more clear-minded one; it's more akin to the power porn I enjoy so much, things like Breaking Mad Game of Cards, for instance. (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, and House of Cards--both the British and the American versions--are all basically "power porn".) Banksters, though, is darkly humorous, and that counts for something. The prose is sexy and clever, and it's a really fun ride. Go buy it here if you haven't already.

American Psycho


Both the book and the movie tell the story of Patrick Bateman, and honestly, I can't do much better than the Netflix description--"with chiseled good looks that belie his insanity, a businessman takes pathological pride in yuppie pursuits and indulges in sudden homicidal urges." It's basically a story about the symbolic exploitation and abuse of the working class by the people at the helm of the economy, and the madness induced by meaninglessness of consumer culture and lifestyles, as well as the worthlessness of the trappings of wealth. Also, there's sexual torture. Lots of it. Proceed with caution. 



I have no source and no justification. 


Prose, Style, Cinematography


The book...ugh.  It's a very polarizing work. I really love books about madness, and I'm quite a Palahniuk fan--I love Lovecraft, I like William Golding a lot, I enjoyed Joseph Heller's Catch-22...you get the idea. American Psycho was on my bucket list for a long-ass time. Of course, now that I've read it, I'm glad I did, but I still have mixed feelings. Some of the descriptions of madness were wonderful, and I really liked the concept. The descriptions of clothing entertained me and ended up informing me about various kinds of fabric in some detail, though, so I guess that's actually a point in their favour--but all the gourmet food and the other stuff got really irritating to read about because there was just so goddamn much of it. However, the thematically appropriate but annoyingly detailed album reviews, and the completely over-the-top descriptions of the violence against women really got to me. I am not going to mention rats, electric shock machine torture, eyeballs, or cannibalism, because your brain will fill in the details of what happens to the (mostly women and hookers) for me. And I can guarantee you, the descriptions were worse than whatever your brain just came up with. I like my violence tasteful--no pun intended--and there was just too much of it to be really effective.

I kept comparing it to Banksters, because while that book isn't perfect, the murders and violence are more clever and the sex is less repulsive. The female characters are also much better and more interesting--more on that later--and there's a larger cast to work with. There's also a nice theme of examining the cost of the glass ceiling for women, and violence on women in the workplace, which I really appreciated. The point of American Psycho is partly how utterly interchangeable the people at the top are, and that actually ended up being to its detriment because it was hard to care when bad things happened. Anyway, the descriptions and prose in Banksters drew me in a lot more, and the wealth and opulence still came across. It's knifeblade prose, and there was much less waste and repetition than in its source. Also, American Psycho put me off sex and Banksters made me want to have sex, so that has to be counted as a point in its favour.

I wanted to love it, but it was a book you endure, not one you enjoy, and the reason is partly the jerky pacing. As Kyle Kallgren, "Oancitizen" of Channel Awesome put it, "It cannot be watched, merely inflicted," and that describes the experience of reading this book. I understand the symbolism of Wall Street broker types abusing poorer people and committing violence against them, and I understand the giant time jumps at the end of the book, but the clever symbolism didn't make up for the truly frustrating experience of reading the book. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson was much less of a slog, and so was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Those books aren't totally perfect, but they're a damn sight less annoying, and the protagonists are better. More on that in a minute.

Now, the movie is loyal and faithful to the book, but it cuts out the annoying descriptions and replaces them mostly with, well, visuals; I think that works a lot better. The voice-over was a little distracting, and close-ups on all the labels and a silent opening--or one with music--could have been better, but it's a really well-filmed and nicely framed movie. It's also seductively paced and witty from step one, but in a more engaging way, and the message still gets across. There's a lot of dead weight that's just cut, a couple of things--like the breakup speech with Courtney--are rearranged, and it just flows so much better. Also, I could look away during the gory scenes in the movie, and frankly, that was preferable to having to read about what happened in the original text. They cut a lot out, including plenty of animal cruelty and torture porn, and I am more than okay with that. In exchange, we got some amazingly goofy Christian Bale faces.



Source.



This is getting a bit on the long side, so we'll take a short commercial break before we get back to the second half later this week!

*****
Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 


Sunday, 27 July 2014

D%&$ It, Bioware, I Was Using That Heart: Mass Effect Revisited

Hello hello!

So, my turbulent and ultimately ill-fated love affair with the Mass Effect trilogy is pretty well known at this point. In case you missed all that, you can find info here, here, and here. There are

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS


 about the first three games at all six of those links, by the way. I've written about this series a lot, and one of the reasons I love Farscape so much is that it gave me what I was hoping for from Mass Effect, but without the most tragic backstory ever written.

Well, the release of the fourth game in the franchise has been revealed at--where else?--the San Diego Comic Con. I waited with baited breath as I clicked on the link, hoping for a reveal of the future of the universe.


 Source: Cheezburger.



The next game is going to happen concurrently with the events of the last one, ME3. You know, that game. The one that ruined a company's reputation, earned EA the "Worst Company of the Year" award in 2012, and was universally hailed as a clusterphuque of earthshaking proportions. The original ending was so universally hated, they ended up revamping it with extended narration and explanations of the consequences. More on the extended endings in a minute. But all the phuquerie that resulted from that terrible, cliched, tropey, backstabbing of an ending happened because gamers felt betrayed. I was even one of them, and I shed my tears with the rest. But why? And why did I get a bad case of feels when I finally watched the extended cuts today?

What went wrong?


I'll try to keep this short because it's been discussed elsewhere. The problems with the ending boil down to five things.

First, the ending felt too simplistic compared to the complex and multilayered games that preceded it. The endings of the first two games were heavily reliant on previous actions, with Mass Effect 2's ending being the best example of that. Perhaps all the storylines they had going ended up collapsing on their own weight, but I think most of us expected some sort of large final battle where the results were determined by resources and alliances accrued and accumulated during the rest of the games. That isn't what happened. Like, at all.

Second, Shepard dies unnecessarily...or lives, if you (possibly) sacrifice all Geth and Synthetic life. I'm not restating that blog post about why hero death is a stupid and borderline unhealthy trope, but here's another link to it.

Third, the Starchild is a stupid and unnecessary brat with terrible voice acting and worse writing. The Illusive Man, a Geth, EDI herself, a Keeper (you know, those plot device bugs who were never used for anything in spite of substantial build-up in the first games?), or even, why not, the Rachni Queen, would all have been better choices. Sure, you have the little weird kid running around in Shep's head through the first half of the game, but freaky children are a stupid cliche at best, and it didn't belong in this game. Add in all the stuff about madness in the excellent DLCs for the series and you have a sinister perspective on the little brat--who, we are somehow supposed to believe, is some kind of peaceful and neutral force. You choose the McGuffin or you epic-fail. I actually love the new fourth ending, but the last time I saw an ending this hamstrung was at a sex show involving bondage and oral pleasure. At least with the "refusal" option, the stupid storytelling bit at the end makes sense.

Fourth, your team crash lands on a random planet for no particular reason. Why? Why did this happen? Why did they get sucked into a portal? Sure, the extended endings fix that up a bit, but why does this even occur?

Fifth, that stupid damn storyteller ending. I love Synthesis, and I can stand Destroy because Shepard lives, but Control always felt evil to me. And yet all three of these end with a stupid cutscene after the credits that even Buzz Aldrin's cameo couldn't save. The Starchild voice actor returns (shudder) and an old man tells him he might go to the stars...in a way that implies all knowledge of space travel has been lost. That blatantly contradicts two of the three endings, and worse, the "tell me another story about the Shepard" bit teases us with the false promise of another game about our protagonist. You know, the game they promised they'd never make. This storytelling ending actually makes sense for the Refusal ending, which was the most coherent, but the fact that they left it in the extended endings felt like a slap in the face.



This is basically how I feel about the whole thing. 

Why are we rehashing all this?


Oh, there's a reason. The new game will be set at the end of the third. Are they going to retcon the ending? How will they deal with the incredible fame of Shepard's character if your character is just some scrub? Are you going to have somehow never heard of the most famous person in the galaxy, a.k.a. Space Jesus? It's going to focus on the multiplayer side of things, sure, but this feels like a stall for time. My partner called it a money-grab, and not the real sequel, and added, "unless I'm absolutely wrong, you can completely ignore this game." Did I mention that they explicitly promised the next game would be set in the far future?


Okay, fine; how could you possibly fix it?


Just abandoning the series--which would actually be wise--probably isn't a viable option. A jump backwards in time would have solved a lot of their problems, and quite a few fans have been hoping for something set during the human-Turian First Contact War. Jumping drastically far forward into the future would also be an option.

What I'd love to happen, as much as I will weep angry tears over the impossibility of it, would be a proper exploration of the Synthesis ending. The extended version hints that a golden age was dawning, but change is scary. There's plenty of conflict you could mine from the sudden friendliness of the Reapers, the ancient technologies gifted to the unprepared galaxy, the fact that all races and species have the possible opportunity to be immortal, and the equalization forced on everyone. Diplomacy games! New wars! Playing as a Reaper! Dealing with grieving! New conflict rising as unknown or rare civilizations are encountered! Religious conflict! All the ingredients of amazing story potentials are right there, and there is no way we'll get to play with those toys.




Synthesis in a nutshell. 



The lesson in all of this is that creating a series is hard, and kind of dangerous. It's hard to please fans at the best of times, but the more complicated your world gets and the more plot devices and plotlines you pile on, the easier it is to screw them up. Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth series is the only one even close to Mass Effect in terms of McGuffin implosions, and that was a mess too. The lesson is that introducing endless plot mechanics and shiny toys is a bad idea. And sometimes, you just have to pretend something didn't happen and move forward with the story instead of trying to fix an old problem that's basically unrepairable. Writing is not always fun and it's rarely "easy", but at least we can learn from the failures of others.

*****
Thanks for dropping by the nest once again. Don't miss any of the phuquerie. Find Michelle on TwitterFacebook, and on Tumblr, and find her work on Amazon. Check back on the blog to see when one of the irregular posts has careened onto your feed. This is the one and only SciFiMagpie, over and out! 

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