Kids fantasize about being adults, or at least they fantasize about having the freedom and power that adults seem to have. That’s why so much of media made for children features kids doing adult things: solving mysteries, fighting monsters, having adventures, thwarting adults. Oftentimes kids have the clarity and imagination to see the supernatural for what it is, while their parents are too stuffy and boring to see what’s in front of their eyes. In these stories, kids get to be the heroes by playing the part of adults.
I have a confession: I haven’t actually read a lot of classic science fiction, and most of what I have read, I hated. Clarke’s too horny, Bradbury’s too racist, Dick’s too pessimistic, Orwell’s too reactionary. But one book in the “canon” actually stuck with me to this day because of its exploration of non-human intelligence: Asimov’s I, Robot.
There are interesting layers of meaning to the word “soft”. In one sense, it can mean comfortable, inviting, pleasant to touch. In another, it conveys instead looseness, a lack of structure, or a yielding quality. These connotations have an unspoken gendered quality to them – “soft” is code, in so many ways, for “feminine”, and whether something being soft is a good or bad thing betrays much about the speaker’s attitude towards femininity.
Webcomics have been happening since basically the beginning of the web itself, but it wasn’t until the dot-com boom of the late 90s that the medium began to attract attention and grow in a significant way. The “build it and they will come” optimism of this period made the majority of web content completely unbearable, and webcomics were no exception; much like how every asshole with a half-baked business model thought the internet would make them a millionaire, suddenly there were dozens of mediocre dudes who thought that the world wanted to hear their video game opinions.
Autobiographies are a dangerous creature. If you think of a story as a product, something a writer produces for consumption by readers, then when you craft an autobiographical work, the product isn’t merely your story – it’s you. In many ways, what you’re selling is yourself. (This is an update to an old review I had removed. I feel that it now meets my new standards.)