eSports in Fiction
eSports is an untapped well of creativity and storytelling. The competitive gaming scene is growing at an exponential rate, so where are the stories? Video games have been the subject of countless novels and films over the years. Tron is an early standout that many are familiar with. The movie stars Jeff Bridges as a computer programmer who was zapped with a laser and transported into a digital world. Ever since the early successes of films like Tron and Wargames the gaming industry has...
The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Some authors live to write, and some write to live. Others fall somewhere in between, and a few just seem to fall into it. Mark Twain, author of multiple Great American Novels such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, encapsulates all of those traits, yet somehow also exists outside of them, or, perhaps, above them. In this episode we will learn how Mark Twain’s legendary career as an author began from the man himself. I am Arthur McMahon and this is Paracosms. Now known as one of...
The Hero’s Journey in the Writer’s Toolbox
The monomyth, now more popularly known as the Hero’s Journey, is a common structural pattern that serves as the foundation for countless stories. It has been a basic form of storytelling for as far back as humanity can remember, laying down the plot structure for ancient epics like Gilgamesh and in many of today’s New York Times best sellers and Hollywood blockbusters. Author’s haven’t always followed the Hero’s Journey structure, knowing that they were doing so. It wasn’t until the 1800s...
Game of Thrones- When is the Next Book Out?
Ever since Game of Thrones was published in 1996, fans of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series have ceaselessly asked “Hey Georgie boy, Georgie from the block. Mr. R.R. Martin, when’s the next book coming out?” His responses, summed up, have been usually something like “Heh. Well, soon. Not yet, sorry about that.” Years of effort are put into crafting each volume of the series. The last release, A Dance With Dragons, came out in 2011 after six years of writing, editing, and...
My Own Universe
In celebration of the upcoming release of Deceit of Humanity, the second book in my Shadow Assassin series, I am giving you a quick look into my own imaginary universe and creative process. As a special treat, you also get to listen to the audiobook of Vengeance of Humanity, my first Shadow Assassin book, for free! Thank you to the wonderfully talented Zehra Jane Naqvi for narrating and producing my Shadow Assassin audiobooks. She is super talented and great to work with. I couldn't be...
Father of the Alien Xenomorph
H.R. Giger is the father of the Xenomorph. We call it an alien, we call it a monster, but to Giger his creation was beautiful, no matter how many people it raped and killed. Known for its interspecies sexual domination and wanton destruction, the xenomorph is not unlike ourselves. Perhaps we are the real monsters. Full Transcript Just a fair warning, this episode covers topics that some of you may not want to hear. Due to the nature of the Alien films and renowned artist H.R. Giger, the...
On Being a Muggle
I was never invited to Hogwarts. In this episode I offer you the Wizarding World as seen from an outsider's perspective. This is a muggle's story. Full Transcript Hey everyone. You’re listening to Paracosms where my goal is to help you get to know your fiction. I’m Arthur McMahon and I’ll be taking todays episode down a different path. Rather than peering deep into the inner workings of the Harry Potter universe, I’ve decided to offer you the wizarding world as seen by an outsider, someone...
Ghost in the Shell is an American Horror Story
Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell franchise can be summed up in two words: fear and philosophy. The story became a success because it mirrored real American fears during a time when Cold War tensions were rising and the Internet was still a mystery to most. Full Transcript In 1989 I was three years old. My experience with technology was limited to those old, boxy CRT televisions with knob dials and spiral-corded land-line phones. The most futuristic possession my family had was the...
The Layers of Discworld
Discworld is perhaps the quintessential example of worldbuilding. Decades of imagination by the late author Terry Pratchett went into creating a land so rich with depth that it has become a lens into our own world. Full Transcript Discworld is one of the most detailed and storied worlds in the realm of modern fiction. It’s a place where fantasy and science fiction intertwine with folklore and philosophy and historical nonsense. It is perhaps the quintessential example of world building, of...
The Legend of Zelda is a Modern Fairytale
The Legend of Zelda has used the fairytale formula to create memorable settings and characters that will stick in our memories for ages to come, but it has also added a new layer of complexity to the method in the form of interactivity, the game mechanics. Full Transcript The Legend of Zelda is one of the most well known video game franchises across the globe. It truly is a legend in many respects, having sold millions of copies over the last several decades. Generations of gamers have...
The Walking Dead Wants to be Star Trek
AMC says that the Walking Dead franchise has the potential to last as long as Star Trek has. I have an issue with that. In comparing the Walking Dead's decade of success to the fifty years that Star Trek has been around, I don't have much faith in the franchise's longevity. But there is a chance. The Walking Dead's narrative exploration of human nature is not worlds apart from what made Star Trek a success, though the underlying structure of the walker world's narrative limits how far the...
Marvel’s Cinematic Universe – Where the Villains Don’t Matter
The Marvel Cinematic Universe highlights its heroes and neglects its villains. Why is this? Marvel has a history of creating complex comic book villains with rich character depth, but the MCU movies display the bad guys as hollow shells of their true selves, nothing more than stepping-stones for the heroes to show their own growth. But there is one Marvel villain who was given proper attention and nuance. Loki, the God of Mischief. What makes Loki different? Why was he the one villain...
Middle-earth Was Not Made For You
J.R.R. Tolkien did not write his books for you or for me. Middle-earth was a personal project, firstly created for himself and his family. Tolkien originally wrote The Hobbit as a story for his own children, but after his breakout book became a great success he was convinced by his publisher and fans to create a sequel to Bilbo Baggins' adventure. Fans of The Hobbit wished for more of the same, wanting more dragons and whimsy. But the author turned inward as he wrote The Lord of the Rings....