My pre-writing for the research paper

I am not entirely sure what is going on with the pre-writing for this. Hopefully sometime soon I see a formal prompt on the class blog. But for now here is how I wish to pre-write.


Identity and SF + How it relates to life

  • Specifically in Video Games
  • The internet


Those who are confused about the effects of technology on the way different people view their identity. The purpose of this paper is to inform people about how technology is affecting the way we view “Identity”


This paper will remain solely focused on the way that SF novels (specifically Ready Player One) portrays Identity and how this can be seen in life through interactions on the internet and in games. I will stay away from people with social disorders and (depending on the amount of information that can be found) choose between racial identity vs gender identity.

The Tentative Position:

Ready Player One shows the reader how the internet and video games allow us to adopt new identities due to the anonymity of the mediums. I believe that this can create a better blended society as people become known for who they are rather than what they appear to be.

Main Points:

(I saved this post as a draft and came back to it. When I came back the bullet points feature was all screwed up. I am very sorry)

    1. How the internet has affected LGBT feelings about themselves
    • The youtube “It Gets Better” Project (research found)
    • Anonymous Chat rooms
    1. How the internet has affected gender identities
      • People who play second life as the opposite gender, and adopt entirely new personalities (the documentary on second life “Life 2.0”)How children use games
        • Girls and how they view femininity (research found)
        • Boys and how it affects their view of mascuinity (research found)
    1. How Ready Player One shows this
    • The way in which Art3mis acts
    • The reveal of Aechs real life identity
      • Why Aech chooses this fake identity
      • The way that Wade reacts to this reveal
    • Aech uses fake names in all her/his files
    • Wade being nervous thatArt3mis is not a girl
    • Halliday could only talk to girls if he was in character.


    Well there you have it. This is my pre-writing for the research paper. I will continue to compile more information and get started on my formal proposal so that everything will be nice and polished. Hope I formatted this properly. Sorry about the weird bullet point issues.(also anyone reading this should totally check out the section of my blog called “My Stories”. I personally find them to be pretty cool.)

Posted in Class related | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Academy

The gong sounded at around four in the morning. Inaza stumbled out of bed and walked over to the chest where she kept her armor. She grabbed her bow as well as a sling of arrows as she made her way out of the fortress. As Inaza climbed up the ladder to the surface, she marveled at how well hidden the fortress of the Traveling Sword was. To the average passer by this fortress was nothing more than a small training barracks for the nearby village of Milturn. In reality there was a hidden ladder inside the break room that led to an underground complex.

“Inaza! Get out here now, or so help me I will make you the target for this morning’s drill!” Inaza’s trainer Morgal Blacktooth shouted at her. Morgal was one of the top commanders in the Traveling Sword. As she approached the Dwarf turned to her angrily, “Bought time you got over here Elf. I was beginning to think that maybe dear old dad was right, and you are all just lazy philosophers.” He scolded.

“Sorry sir. Won’t happen again.” Inaza told him.

“Good. Now then, today is a very special day in every cadet’s life. Today is the day that you are assigned your squads.” Morgal told the group. Up until this point, Inaza had been trained in large groups, mainly other archers, but occasionally she ran into a mage or warlock who specialized in artillery spells. “The people you are about to meet will be your brothers and sisters in arms. You will live with these people; you will bleed with these people. You may even die with these people.

You need to be truthful with your squad at all times; you will keep no secrets, and you will never, I repeat NEVER, abandon them. This is the number one rule in the Sword. Remember, your squad is your family, and you never forget about your family.” Morgal finished with a flourish. “Now without further ado, I want you to meet the Grand Master of the Traveling Sword Deaenla Xeaz.”

Inaza could feel the power emanating from Deaenla as she walked towards the group. “I am sure that my good friend Morgal has already told you how much we value the camaraderie that comes from being a part of a squad, so I will try not to take too much of your time. I just want to remind you all of what this organization is, as well as your part in it.” Deaenla began to walk through the group. “This organization exists to defend the entire continent of Darien. You do not get to choose between two city-states. If one city asks for your help to destroy another, you refuse. We are here to protect the inhabitants, not the cities; always look for ways to avoid the death of innocents. While you work for this organization, you will be given quests ranging from taking down a bandit camp to mediating negotiations between two city-states. In the event of a foreign invasion, you would be used as special operatives, as well as advisors to the armies of each city-state. Are each of you prepared for the responsibilities of being a member of the Traveling Sword?”

“YES MA’AM!!” Each recruit including Inaza shouted.

“Well I am sure you are all anxious to hear your assignments, so head on over to the main atrium after your training with Morgal.” With that Deaenla walked back towards the direction of the fortress.

Inaza had a hard time focusing on her training. What squad would she be put in? Would she be placed on a defense detail for the merchant caravans? Would she be one of the assault commanders? Maybe she would be one of the scouts who are currently engaged in exploring the rest of the world. Inaza was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she nearly hit Morgal with one of her arrows when he walked over to ask why she kept missing the target. When the gong finally rang to announce the end of training Inaza rushed into the atrium so that she could get close to the front of the room for the announcement.

Deaenla, and Morgal took center stage, they were then followed by Dorgal Torand the merchant (another dwarf), and Moralis the healer (who was en elf like Inaza). There were several other trainers on the stage as well who Inaza did not recognize. After around thirty minutes of general announcements, the true show began. Deaenla stepped forward. “The squads that are being formed will each contain five cadets. Some of you will not be placed in a squad; rather you will be assigned to one of the exploration ships currently looking for new continents outside of Darien. Now with that disclaimer out of the way, here are the squad lists:

Squad 1

Codename: Silent Rune

  • Oraisk
  • Freken
  • Arize
  • Jatea
  • Baezix


Squad 2

Codename: Bronze Crown

  • Goun
  • Vamarra
  • Dyd
  • Keakr
  • Kyndroa


Squad 3

Codename: Crystal Spider

  • Anoylah
  • Tear
  • Reancoe
  • Inokri
  • Crutri


Squad 4

Codename: Sapphire Eye

  • Thushixas
  • Shoadoa
  • Zaissus
  • Naelines
  • Saess


Squad 5

Codename: Crystal Heart

  • Kanor
  • Shear
  • Aeleatho
  • Truryri
  • Inaza

Squad 6


Inaza stopped paying attention once she heard her name called. All she could think about were the adventures she would be going on soon. After being assigned to a squad cadets were then given a series of quests in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses. In total the process would take nearly a year to complete because of the traveling her squad would be doing. It was going to be a busy year.

Crystal Heart, I like it. Inaza thought as she made her way back to her room. Tomorrow she would meet her new family.

Posted in My Stories, Tales of the Traveling Sword | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Part 3: The Rising Dead

Lords of a Forgotten Land is a DnD home campaign that follows a group of adventurers who flee to a new country after their homeland is overrun by the deformed armies of the mad King Blackwood. The story is told from the point of view of Ashar, who possesses strange elemental abilities.

Part 3: The Rising Dead

I wonder what the old fool did that made him so sick. Ashar wondered s yet another doctor left the Drunk Monk. It had been around week since the party had returned from their previous quest, and Silas Foran had fallen ill around 6 days ago. With their main source of income gone, Ashar, Kira, and the others had had nothing to do but hang around the tavern acting as bouncers and doing general duties for Zarra. Zarra was happy about the extra help because Gorp and Wilmer were causing more problems than they were worth.

Suddenly the door opened, and in walked Tyris Hyperion, everyone’s favorite quest bringer. Ashar immediately walked over his table, and asked him why he had come.

“What I can’t just stop in and say hello to my favorite dragon slayers?” Tyris asked Ashar.

Ashar just looked at him.

“You got me; I found out that there may be some treasure buried right beneath our feet.”

“Treasure or cursed gold that we can’t actually take home with us?” Ashar asked through clenched teeth.

“Treasure, or rather, a single gem that is worth more than you can possibly imagine.”

“Where is it?”

“You know the abandoned catacombs that run between the cities of this continent?”

“I know of them, yes.”

“Well it turns out that there is a burial chamber near one of the roads, and inside is the tomb of Agera Sarion.” Tyris told him. Ashar knew of Sarion. She was a famous mage who used her power of mind control to enthrall enemy armies and turn them against each other. She was defeated in battle by her father when she used an army of undead orcs to usurp the kingdom.

“If you need us to help you find this, we will be there.” Ashar promised.


The next day

Bright and early the next moment Tyris stopped by to Grigore is technically undead, so Tyris decided it was too risky to bring him along. Orion also elected to stay behind, Ashar noticed that Orion wouldn’t make eye contact with Tyris the entire time he was present.

The party set off, and soon they entered the catacombs, these catacombs had been used centuries ago to hide from dragons, and to travel safely between the different city-states.

Tyris led the group to an area where the wall had begun to collapse; he held a finger to his mouth and headed in. Soon the party came upon a large door, which had been bolted shut. Ashar managed to break it down with a strong kick. As they entered the room, he heard Tyris mutter “I hope that wasn’t to keep something trapped inside.”

Kira took point, because she could see in the dark. Suddenly she stopped and dropped low; the party put out their torches and listened.

“Why did the boss tell us to sit out here? I am getting bored of sitting outside this tomb all day and night.”

“Would you shut up? We do whatever the boss says, or else she will end our new lives. Now sit quietly and wait.”

Kira quietly snuck into the room and positioned herself to take the men by surprise, When Ashar heard the first scream; he pulled out his torch and rushed into the room. The man turned around, and Ashar was shocked to see that he was running towards an Orc that appeared to be missing his lower jaw, as well as most of the skin on his chest. A quick sweep around the room proved that all of the men in the room were Orcs, and all appeared to be reanimated corpses. Kira appeared to be thrilled with this new development, and she began striking down the Orcs as quickly as she could while screaming prayers to the Raven Queen.

After the final Orc was dispatched, the party began to search the room for whatever the Orcs were guarding. Soon Balasar stumbled up a trap door in the floor. Ashar peered down and saw the tomb of Agera Sarion inside.

Balasar and Tyris pushed the cover off of the casket while Kira and Ashar looked around. Tyris found the mummified remains of Agera Sarion inside the tomb, and she was clutching the gem just like Tyris said she would be. He reached out and grabbed it.

As the party made for the exit, suddenly there was a loud scream, and Ashar turned around to see Agera making her way out of the casket, the wraps falling from her body to reveal a body in perfect condition. Ashar was shocked, how could this be? She had been dead for hundreds of years, and yet she there is not even a stab wound on her. Before the party could react she took control of their minds, and began to make them attack each other.

The next few minutes were a blur. Ashar knew he was making his way towards Balasar, but he was unable to stop himself from raising his weapon. Suddenly Agera screamed, and he had control of his motions again. Ashar ran in to strike at Agera, but he was knocked down by Tyris. Then Kira stuck Agera from behind, only to have Balasar dowse them both in fire. Kira fell down unconscious, but Agera didn’t even appear fazed. Of course, she is fire proof. Ashar thought as he struggled to get up. As the party fought on, it began to look like defeat was imminent, Agera was about to strike down Kira, Kira gave a prayer to the Raven Queen, then suddenly Agera’s eyes became lifeless, and she fell to the ground.

As Balasar and Tyris regained consciousness Ashar tended to Kira’s wounds. Then the party made their way out of the tomb. Suddenly Ashar heard an organ playing in the distance, then Kira noticed, and soon everyone else began to hear it as well.

“What the hell is that?” Tyris shouted.

I don’t think that belongs to you!” A strange voice boomed.

The party began to run towards the exit, the organ music getting louder and louder as they ran. As they burst out of the tomb, the music stopped, and suddenly the party found themselves unable to move. Ashar could feel something breathing down his neck, and he heard footsteps coming up the stairs behind him. The organ restarted and a voice screamed:

“Five greedy little mice caught in a trap

Five little mice running from fate

Five little mice satisfied with their cheese

But the cat will have his day”

The organ music crescendoed, and then ended as abruptly as it began. Tyris turned to the party, pale as a horse.

“I need to look into this.”

End of Part Three

Posted in Lords of a Forgotten Land, My Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I play this game a lot. It is very interesting to see the math done for me.

The Sinepost

I’ve recently been playing XCOM, the new revamp of the classic alien-invasion turn-based strategy series. For those who don’t know the game: you are in charge of XCOM, a force put together to defend the Earth from alien invasion. There’s two aspects to the game: one is an overall management view, deciding what to invest in, what to research, how to equip your UFO interceptors and so on. The other aspect is a turn-based tactical game, moving your squad of soldiers around the battlefield and shooting at the aliens.

Each turn, each soldier has two actions, one of which can be to shoot at an alien. There’s all sorts of other abilities that override this simple rule, but that’s the basic rule: at most, one shot per turn. When you go to shoot, the game tells you the exact probability of your shot connecting:

Your shot either hits…

View original post 1,360 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breakdown of my interview with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer

Last Wednesday I got to participate in an interview/discussion with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. The two are best known for their work in collecting and releasing short story collections by various authors in different Sci-Fi genres. The class had been assigned to read Jeff VanderMeers short story “Three Days in a Border Town” as well as two essays that he and his wife had used as introduction in their “New Weird” collection novels.

Jeff and Ann talked about how similar writing is a lot when they were telling us how they selected stories to go into their collection books. Ann said that there are many times when she finds stories so similar that she would swear the authors wrote them together, only to find that they live in opposite corners of the world. She said that this makes the collections easier to tackle because she doesn’t have to think about which “genre” the stories fall into (something that she hates doing, because she feels that labels limit authors) but rather she can just compare the stories together and see if they are similar. I found this to be fascinating to think about. Authors who are not even aware that their writing fits under this definition of “Weird” fiction, are writing stories so similar that it seems like they collaborated together.

I wasn’t super sure what “Weird” fiction was, so here is a quick list of what the VanderMeers described “Weird” fiction as:

  • The story does not return to normalcy at the end (the monster isn’t killed/we don’t find out what it was)
  • Has some kind of an inexplicable element to it, just as their are inexplicable things in real life
  • Connection is found through the characters rather than the events

We compared the weird to horror novels a lot during the discussion because of how similar the two are. The main difference between weird novels and horror novels is the return to normalcy section.

We had a quick discussion about genre collapse and what the VanderMeers think about it. They seemed to be in favor of it, because suddenly authors didn’t feel the need to write to a specific genre. This is something that never occurred to me. I was not happy about the collapse of genres because suddenly I didn’t know if I could trust the novels that were being labeled as Sci-Fi, to actually be Sci-Fi. It never occurred to me that the genre definitions were hurting authors because they felt constrained to certain genre tropes in order to get their books published.

The topic that I wished we would have talked more about is how to get published. Jeff mentioned briefly in the end of the discussion that the publishing industry is incredibly volatile right now and that authors need to make sure they retain control of all their works, and don’t just take the first contract that comes along if they lost the rights to their own works. He specifically mentioned as a good place to try and get investors for your novel if you feel like self publication is the way to go. I found it interesting that he would urge people to consider kickstarter because Ann is an editor and the two of them work together to get authors stories published. So the fact that he cared more about getting more books made, rather than telling people to go to his publishing company to get their novels published surprised me.


Well there are some of the moments of the discussion that stuck out to me. I hope it makes sense and isn’t too disjointed. I learned a lot of my talk with the VanderMeers,and I will never look at authors the same way.

Posted in Class related | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A tentative plan for revising my essay on Kindred by Octavia Butler

Wow. This paper turned out much worse that I thought it did. Going back over it now, I am not even sure what I was thinking about when I wrote it. Probably something about Assassins and how I needed it to be over so I could actually spend time on the paper. I don’t really know. The worst part is that going back and looking at the paper now, I could probably find 17 different arguments to make based off of specific sections of the book.  Unfortunately I don’t think that I am allowed to turn in a brand new paper.

So right now I don’t have any kind of “plan” for this revision. So first off I am going to read through each paragraph and see I can find ways to make them clearer to them read more clearly. I will attempt to make each paragraph clear in its objective, and more scholarly.

Then I am going to see if I can find a way to make my thesis more concise, and give it some kind of an argument that makes sense with the paper I already have.

Then I am going to go through the entire paper paragraph by paragraph again, this time making sure that the argument is being fought out properly.


I have no idea if I am going to be able to do this. I will do my best. But it will be a challenge. Hopefully it turns out good and raises my grade a little bit.

I’m scared…
Posted in Class related | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Discussion Group Questions

Here are my questions and answers for the upcoming discussion in class. I had a very difficult time finding discussion questions that didn’t move into the realm claimed by the other members of my group. So here is what I found.

What business were the Marabour and Maltese involved in?


The Marabou and Maltese acquired whatever the client wanted, we find out that it can be anything, legal or illegal. It is hinted at in the novel that Marabou has smuggled people in and out of countries, and of course they reveal at the end that they have no problem with murder. The issue of what “procurements” really means is a recurring theme in the novel.


What medicine are the twins put on in order to get them to do Odi’s bidding?


This is especially important because the medicine is what ultimately causes Song and S’bu to kill each other. It makes them loopy enough to do whatever is suggested to them. This is shown with Carmen when she starts stabbing herself.


What is the Undertow?

It is smoke that kills a person who lets their animal die

The undertow causes many characters to act the way that they do. It causes Zinzi to take fewer risks when she is in danger because if anything happens to sloth then she will die as well. Zinzi fails to save Songweza and S’bu because she so scared of the undertow. The book even devotes an entire chapter to explaining the Undertow to the reader. This is an important element because the fear of it influences so many characters actions.


What is Zinzi’s Sin?

She murdered her brother

This is important because Zinzi makes very clear distinctions over her life before her brother died and after. Once she begins to associate with people from her past we watch as she lapses back into alcohol and drugs. The discovery that her brothers death is what gave her the animal explains why she didn’t want to become involved in the journalism scene she used be involved in.


What is “the company”?

It is an organization like the mafia that specializes in scams like the phishing emails, as well as other illicit activities. Zinzi uses them to find out if song had been using her phone, as well as hacking into her email accounts. The company is important because they are basically holding Zinzi hostage due to the large debt that she owes.


Not really sure what happened with the formatting here… Oh well…

Posted in Class related | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment