My trouble with battles in genre fiction

Having moved back home (yey, I am back to writing stuff and paying bills), I finally found time to rearrange the books I’ve been lugging around, while visiting conferences and parents. Going through the shelves, I noticed an interesting pattern: half of my academic interests revolve around military matters and social networks, while everything elseContinue reading “My trouble with battles in genre fiction”

Why Grand Admiral Thrawn should not be the Villain in the Mandalorian

I originally posted this essay on Medium, but decided to leave a copy here. Because the difference between an ‘enemy’ and an ‘antagonist’ is something that gets lost all too often when we talk about complicated characters in fiction. Because TV adaptations are tricky. And because Zahn’s books deserve recognition. Spoilers ahead! (Star Wars ThrawnContinue reading “Why Grand Admiral Thrawn should not be the Villain in the Mandalorian”

The beauty of unrelatable characters

Most tips for introducing the main character in fiction revolve around one important concept – relatability. A relatable protagonist allows the audience to get attached to them easily. Unlike most things in history and sociology, the theory behind relatable protagonists is straight-forward: if you understand the goals and desires of a person, you are moreContinue reading “The beauty of unrelatable characters”

What makes a good political fantasy

As a social historian I have always been fascinated by the patterns of human interaction and the ways one can influence them. In reality, we are not as unpredictable as we want to believe. Choices can be manipulated. Heroes are made rather than born. Above all else, our nation-states are all creations of the 18thContinue reading “What makes a good political fantasy”