Articles

Is being a geek an expensive lifestyle?
Articles / 15th January 2017

As the relative cost of living has relatively increased over the years (in the UK at least – though I assume this is true in most other parts of the world too), it would seem that we all are finding life to be much more expensive – with more of our income being dispensed on essential costs, and less (for some people near nothing) being left for spending on pleasure and enjoyment. For those of us who subscribe to any “geek” lifestyle, is this more of a factor? What I mean to ask is – if you are a “geek”, is that a more expensive lifestyle choice than others? Of course that’s assuming that we can call it a lifestyle or provide a concrete definition for the term ‘geek’ – which is debatable. For the purpose of this blog entry, I will define it as a follower of science fiction and fantasy, comic books, gaming, manga or collectibles associated with these things (but of course somebody could be a ‘geek’ of most things). This topic could be discussed almost endlessly so I will keep it to a minimum but understand there is lots more I could say. Gaming The cost of systems and…

Fan Theory: Was Han Solo Force Sensitive?
Articles , Fan Theories / 3rd September 2016

Background: This theory stipulates that Han Solo’s incredible skills and luck can be attributed to a very mystical reason. Was Han Solo an unknowing force sensitive? Very likely and there are several reasons why this is likely the case. Certain attributes that apply to Han Solo are usually only applicable to force sensitives in the Star Wars universe. Piloting ability and reflexes: In the Star Wars universe there are four characters known to have exceptional piloting abilities – Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron and Han Solo. There is also a separate theory about Poe Dameron being force sensitive which I may discuss in a later post. Of these characters, two as we know are force sensitive. Qui Gon said of Anakin in The Phantom Menace that if he raced pods he must have “jedi reflexes”. Could this also apply to exceptional pilots like Poe and Han, having jedi reflexes to be able to be exceptional pilots. It is certainly true in Luke’s case that force sensitivity affects his ability to pilot ships to an exceptional level of skill. Piloting ability is highly linked to and implied to be a result of these characters’ exceptionally great reflexes and fast reactions to events. This is in…

Fan Theory: Pokemon/Kanto War
Articles , Fan Theories / 5th June 2016

Background: This theory stipulates that in the Pokemon games (and by implication also in the television series and films) the story takes place in the aftermath of a great war that cost many lives and had a huge impact on the infrastructure of the Kanto region, which it is still recovering from. I will not go into this theory in great depth and for the purposes of this post will focus on the original Pokemon games (Red and Blue), although much of this is also relevant to the later games, TV series and films. As with other fan theories I have discussed before this is not my own but I am elaborating on it. Lack of male adults: One of the biggest pieces of evidence often cited as support for this theory is the makeup of the population of Kanto, where the games are set. For such a fairly large (for late 90s game standards) in-game world with many towns and regions, Kanto has very very few adult males present. Of those that are present they are either very old (like Professor Oak) or they have a job in the military or organised crime. Throughout history it has been very common in some post-war…

Fan Theory: Star Wars Is Set In Our Universe
Articles , Fan Theories / 30th May 2016

Background: Science fiction is a fascinating genre in its ability to bring us expansive, epic and fantastical worlds and characters. The Star Wars franchise is just one collection of stories in the science fiction genre that grips our imaginations and ignites a sense of wonder in all of us. Star Wars is set in “A galaxy far, far away…” from Earth. But exactly how far away is this galaxy from Earth? And does the Star Wars narrative take place in an entirely different dimension of existence? Does Star Wars have links to any other franchise? And the big question: is Earth a planet in the Star Wars universe? I do believe there are many links between the Star Wars universe and that of other science fiction franchises, and there are many deliberate references to Earth in the stories of the Star Wars franchise. Here I will briefly explain some of them. This theory, as with many others I discuss, is not a new theory or a theory of my own. This theory has been written about multiple times across the Internet. But I will discuss my views on the matter and provide an overview of the topic. There are many,…

Fan Theory: Batman Is A Villain
Articles , Fan Theories / 29th May 2016

Background: Batman is undoubtedly one of the most popular characters in comic book fiction and although it cannot be denied that he has good intentions with his vigilantist activities, we are all also aware that he is far from being on a moral high ground. He often bends the rules (including his own) and arguably exacerbates the crime problems of Gotham City with his antics. I would like to argue here that Batman is, despite his own beliefs and that of the residents of Gotham, the villain of his own story. This may sound far-fetched but it is a very reasonable conclusion when we look at the archetypal behaviours of villains and what motivates them. Also, I am far from being the first to make such a claim. If you perform a web search for “is batman a villain”, you will come across many other sources claiming that to be so. I am only presenting my own points on this stance. His motives As with many great villains, Bruce does have a motive behind what he does and also like many great villains he himself does not believe he is villainous or acting out of bad intentions. Bruce’s ultimate aim is,…

In Defence of the Prequels
Articles / 23rd May 2016

The Star Wars prequel trilogy has been criticised extensively since the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999, and still is to this day. Although I will not claim that the prequels match the excellent quality of the original trilogy, I will explain why I believe much of the criticism the prequels receive is unfairly negative and explain why I believe overall they are very good (though not “very great”) films. Background Over the years it has become fashionable to dislike the Star Wars prequel trilogy. But how much of this this criticism is justified? I hold the rather controversial view that many people hate the prequels so much because they feel they should hate them rather than actually hating them. Again, I do not hold them in equal regard to the original trilogy but do believe they are overall good films but with obvious shortcomings and flaws. Things The Prequels Did Wrong Before I defend what I believe to be the strong points of the prequel trilogy, I will start by explaining a few points where I do agree with many others that the prequels went wrong. Reliance on CGI: One major criticism of the prequel trilogy that is often made is…

Discussion: Were The Rebel Alliance A Terrorist Organisation?
Articles / 21st May 2016

When watching a film we always tend to side with the characters who the film focuses on – the protagonists. It tells their story so naturally we want to watch and be told about their experience, their challenges, their achievements. But as we watch the film through the eyes of these characters, we are only being told their side of the story. What if it turned out that the Rebel Alliance of the Star Wars universe were actually one of the villains of the Star Wars saga? Background: Terrorism is usually defined as the use of “terror” in order to pursue political or ideological aims. Terror would include the use of extreme fear tactics and violence against people with the intent of helping them to achieve their desired political aims. In this regard you may argue that the Rebel Alliance are terrorists as they use violence in order to bring about a change in regime and the existing political structure. Although it may also be argued that the Rebel Alliance only use violence against military targets so the definition of terrorism would not apply. Both sides of the argument have weight in their claims. They Are A Terrorist Organisation Military personnel are not their only…

Disney Infinity Discontinued
Articles / 13th May 2016

Disney have announced this week that they will be discontinuing the Disney Infinity line of video game products with plans to release only two more playsets this year (one for Finding Dory and another for Alice Through the Looking Glass). This has come as a great shock to fans, collectors and the gaming community. I will elaborate (but not exhaustively) on my own thoughts in this post. Background Disney have decided that they will be outsourcing development of all their video games and ceasing production of the Disney Infinity range. One reason cited for this was lower-than-expected financial performance. As was the case for many fans of the series, this was a huge shock for me. I always assumed that Disney Infinity was doing very well – particularly considering how often new playsets and figures were being released. One thing that drew me to the series was the inclusion of the Star Wars franchise in Infinity 3.0 and especially with the figures that could be collected of my favourite characters. What could have gone wrong? An interesting point to make about the short life that Disney Infinity has had is that although it was primarily marketed towards children, many of…

Any difference between comic books and graphic novels?
Articles / 19th July 2013

On first assumptions, the answer to the question may appear to be obvious. If it is a story told in images, is longer than a periodical comic book would normally be and is a single release, it is a graphic novel. Right? The question of whether a book with a story told through pictures is a graphic novel is actually a very difficult one to answer. For example, Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman is a story told exclusively through pictures, so may be considered a reasonable addition to the graphic novel section in a bookstore or library based on that criteria alone. However, unlike virtually all books generally referred to as graphic novels, The Snowman features no text at all – not even dialogue. The Snowman is commonly referred to as a children’s picture book and perhaps rightly so. So does that mean that whether a book is a graphic novel depends partially on its target audience? 1: Target audience It has often been argued that though comic books can and very often do contain very mature and adult themes, graphic novels tend to be targeted primarily at a more mature readership. Personally I do not believe this is true. Certainly…

Why I am choosing to self-publish
Articles / 28th June 2013

My debut novel is now essentially finished, and ready for publication after several polishes. I am choosing to self-publish. This is a highly unorthodox option for a young, unpublished novelist. When I tell people who about publishing my novel that this is what I intend to do, it is met with mixed reactions. Many people are impressed and wish me luck in my endeavour, while some others are bewildered as to why I would choose such an option. In the past, self-publishing was seen as a means for people to become published authors who possessed an abundance of funds but a lack of talent. However, this attitude has sharply changed in recent years. It is becoming more commonly known that publishers are primarily interested in books with commercial appeal. Incidentally, books with commercial appeal do not necessarily show examples of great writing. As a matter of fact, many books that are published through a traditional publishing house show a poor quality of writing, characterisation, plot, research and/or storytelling. However these books may still be picked up from a publishing house as they possess commercial appeal by fitting in with current trends or fads (for example erotic romance novels, celebrity biographies…