Cognizant – A Free Short Story

Again I haven’t written anything on here for a while.. Please accept a free short story as an apology that totally isn’t hyping for an upcoming book release.

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Again I haven’t written anything on here for a while.. Please accept a free short story as an apology that totally isn’t hyping for an upcoming book release.

 

Cognizant


The transport capsules exited the planet’s atmosphere at the minimum required escape velocity. They were limping away. Beaten. Defeated. Humiliated.
Vree looked out the window of his capsule and took a deep breath as the thrust cut out as his capsule drifted away from Earth, its gravitational pull finally subsided. Although his body felt the welcome microgravity of space, his aching limbs getting some relief from the stress of the last few hours and days, mentally he was barely holding together. The Blongamun put all four of his arms towards his face, took a deep breath, then sighed quite loudly. He opened his eyes and moved his arms towards the instruments of the capsule’s distress system. The other passengers of the capsule were still out, still under shock. As he worked the necessary switches and buttons to get the solar array and the radio working, it occurred to him that he had to be the most lucid Blongamun among the twenty-odd people who managed to climb aboard before they had launched from the pad. And he was barely holding together as was, three of his massive arms shaking, his sharp-edged teeth shattering. Clattering? Something like that, it didn’t really matter. Not anymore. Not after the days and weeks that lay behind them.
“Vree, what are going to do?” It was a quiet voice that suddenly spoke up. Vree turned around and saw Daki from accounting uncomfortably scratching at his restraining harness. He held a big brown paper bag. The smell told him everything he needed to know. He looked pale beneath the bright orange fur. Poor guy.
“Relax, Daki, we got this. We were trained for this,” Vree responded, trying to sound as confident as possible. Truth be told, he wasn’t trained for it, neither was Daki. All the people who were, had remained behind for the last wave. If there ever was a last wave. Vree shuttered again as he tried to get the radio working.
“You think Captain Ula got away in time?” Daki had managed to open his restraining harness and found a way to store the brown bag. He floated next to Vree, who was grateful that he kept his voice down. The others aboard, all carrying wounds both physically and mentally, scars for life, didn’t need to hear the half of it.
“I don’t know,” Vree responded harsher than he needed, “last time I saw her was when she led the embassy’s Marine detachment against the mob.”
“She’s got to be okay then, right? She was at Trendo Ridge after all.”
“I know,” Vree pressed through his teeth. He chastised himself from being so harsh with Daki. The poor kid was an accountant straight out of school, he wasn’t ready for any of this. Then again, neither was he and he was just the janitor. “Look, the Captain’s resourceful, if she can’t get a shuttle out, she’ll lay low, gather any survivors around her, and make due until we can get help.”
“Can we get help?”
Daki’s question cut deep and Vree didn’t blame him for his pessimism. Here they were after all, a bunch of embassy staff, an accountant, and a janitor fleeing a hostile planet in a half-broken escape vehicle that had been shot at during launch. It was a wonder that it still flew.
Then, a light switched to green. Solar arrays extending, read the screen next to it and showed an outside view of the capsule. And just like that the panels extended in a way that Vree never thought could be in any way beautiful, but as the light of the upcoming sun reflected in the midnight blue panels, Vree could find hope for the first time in this very long month that lay behind them. Another panel lit up: main power on.
“Yes, Daki, yes, we can get help,” Vree said with a smile. He switched the radio on with another button. “What’s the frequency again?”
“I thought you knew?” Daki scratched his head. A crust of dried blood had formed and Vree quickly slapped his finger. Blood was easy to get out of floors and clothing under normal gravity but in space it was a bit trickier. He didn’t need his ten-hour course in space janitorial duties to understand that.
“I’m the assistant deputy janitor,” Vree replied annoyed. He looked down into the passenger hold. People were slowly coming to or out of their catatonic state. “Hey, what’s the emergency frequency?”
“104-Jerry,” a voice came from the hold.
“Thanks, Hoz.”
“Sure.”

It took an agonizingly slow three minutes for a Blongamun light cruiser to warp into high Earth orbit and tractor beam the escape transport into its cargo hold. Vree felt even more nautious than before now, the quick switch between microgravity and real honest to god simulated Blongamun Prime gravity, the first time he had felt this solid in years.
He was the first to stumble out of the hatch and immediately fell to the ground. It was the perfect metaphor for the shittiest day of his life. The loud alarm siren blaring in the background didn’t help.
“You okay, sir?” It was a medic that tried to help him immediately up.
“Yup, couldn’t be better, but thanks for asking. There’s people in there that need more help than I do.”
“No worries,” the medic replied, putting his arms around his waist and gently pulling him up. He handed him a bottle of water and waved around an eye light in his blurry vision. “We got you all, you’re save now.”
Vree almost wanted to believe the fleet medic when the cargo hold’s doors opened once again and an angry-looking officer marched in flanked by two marines. “The fuck is going on?” It was a voice that inspired dread. Which was all fine and good in most situations involving scary men with guns but not really today. “Who’s in charge?”
“I don’t think anyone is, Commander, that’s kinda the point” Vree stood up, his legs still wobbly. He wondered if he had been hit when the embassy was attacked or later during the escape to the launchpad.
The naval officer looked him up and down with disdain. “A janitor?”
“Assistant Deputy Janitor Vree, sir,” Vree stated, “I’m sorry, but we really need to send a rescue team down there, there’s still dozens of our people stuck.”
The officer frowned, then sighed. “Sorry about that, son, we’re a bit on edge right now.”
Vree kept a snarky comment applicable in this situation to himself. “It’s okay, sir, I… it hit us too.”
The commander beckoned a marine to come over and help steady Vree. Together they slowly limbed out of the cargo hold. “Tell me, son, what the hell happened down there on Earth?”

“I don’t know when it started,” Vree said, as the commander had brought him to the bridge and introduced him to the captain, a no-nonsense aristocrat that reminded him very much of Captain Ula as she was just as confident and scary looking. “Maybe a couple of days ago?”
The Captain, whose name tag read Inez, nodded, “That seems likely. We monitored the planet’s communications for a while now, but it seemed peaceful all things considered.”
“It was until a while ago. Most of the humans welcomed us just fine. I was there for over a year and I could walk the streets in peace,” Vree said and meant it, “then, I don’t know, in the last few weeks the mood changed.”
“Just like that?” Captain Inez exchanged glances with her first officer and he immediately gave orders to ready the ship for battle. Ironically, this meant that the still blaring alarm sirens went silent. Probably so that everyone could hear it when the captain ordered Earth to be shelled.
“Just like that,” Vree stated in as clear a tone as possible. “I don’t even think it’s the majority of humans that want us any harm. I think it’s a fringe element.”
The captain seemed more than a little perplexed and Vree couldn’t blame her. This entire day, this week, was quickly turning into his worst experience in life. She looked around and saw the different bridge officers trying to casually listen in. She stood up, straightened her uniform, then turned over command to the first officer. “Come with me, Mister Vree.”
The two of them quickly left the bridge and Vree had trouble keeping up with the captain as they walked into a briefing room adjacent to the bridge. Now alone, the captain walked over to a big holographic display of the planet below. The ship had now settled into a high orbit. High enough for Earth missiles not to reach them, if they could even hurt them at all, low enough to send out landing ships to search for the other Blongamun still missing.
Captain Inez motioned for Vree to take a seat at the big table as she kept her back to him, clearly pondering the situation. She sighed. “PDI?”
Vree straightened up, almost like a switch was flipped in him hearing those magical initials of the spy agency he belonged to. “Yes, ma’am. May I ask how you knew?”
“It’s an open secret that all janitors are secret agents,” Inez snarked. “So tell me what the hell went on down there. I need to know more before I can commit troops to a SAR mission.”
“Fair enough,” Vree said, glad not to play pretend anymore. “From what I can tell it’s not attacks carried out by the planetary governments.”
“That does actually surprise me,” Captain Inez stated, “making first contact with a race that isn’t even speaking with a unified voice was stupid. But then who did this?”
“Ving O’Malley.”
“Pardon?”
“He’s a media personality back on Earth, lives in the United States,” Vree said. He looked around for a water fountain or something but to no avail, so he simply walked up to the holographic display to look down on the planet that had betrayed all their trust.
“His name doesn’t appear in any of the briefings on this place I can remember. Enlighten me,” said the Captain.
Vree shrugged. “He wasn’t on our radar as we made contact three years ago. He had a small online presence that was mostly dedicated to political commentary. Harmless. Ever since we landed though, he got really big with Anti-Blongamun speech.”
“And he wasn’t silenced by the human governments?” The aristocrat in the captain was now speaking up.
“The humans are big on free speech,” he explained, “they’ll defend the right of any idiot to lie.”
“I’m starting to see where this is going and I’m not liking it,” Captain Inez mumbled.
Vree allowed himself the first smile in a while. “Well, it’s where things get complicated. Turns out the humans are actually really paranoid. They thought we’d come to secretly subjugate them.”
Now Captain Inez finally turned to him, unable to contain her dumbfoundedness anymore. “That’s stupid. If we wanted we could have dropped a single squad of soldiers on their planets or shelled them from orbit if we wanted to do that. They know we have full automation, right?”
“The thing with these people like O’Malley is that they just spout any old nonsense and are taken seriously by their fans. They could say that the sky is purple and the delusional people around the world who actually believe that would still defend that claim.”
“And how do we come into this?”
“From what I could gather from my undercover work, these scam artists like O’Malley were slowly losing influence over the last few years because people finally wised up on their tricks. And then…”
“And then we showed up and gave their conspiracy theories new fuel. Oh boy,” Captain Inez rubbed her temples.
“Apparently the cancer cure we traded them would lower their birthrates or something.”
“Does it?” Captain Inez eyed the undercover spy suspiciously.
“No,” Vree said harmfully, “Look, just because we used to do that doesn’t mean we didn’t clean up our act all those years ago. Anyway this O’Malley ended up inspiring a lot of the society’s malcontents to stand up against us and built an underground movement. Those are the people who attacked us this week. They’re better organized than we believed.”
Captain Inez nodded thoughtfully. “So we have a planet of angry idiots with access to nuclear weapons. Wonderful.” She sighed and opened up an intercom channel. “Launch SAR team, get our people off that planet. Prep for hyperspace jump.”

For the next hour, Vree and Captain Inez observed as the rescue operation was launched, executed, and finally successfully concluded. The military shuttles were back aboard within the hour. The results were meager, much to Vree’s dismay. Dozens of Blongamun had been saved, but the majority of embassy staff from around the planet had been killed, including the troops posted to defend them.
Disheartened by the news, Vree departed the ship’s command center. He had been assigned a quarter for the return journey home. For now he would slip back into the rule of Vree the deputy assistant janitor. He was just glad to be gone from this planet.
The room he was assigned, ended up being a shared space with none other than Daki from accounting. “You feeling okay?”
The accountant nodded. “They checked me out. I might need some therapy though.”
“Don’t we all. That planet,” he said and pointed towards the window in which the planet Earth was getting smaller, “needs therapy en masse.”
“Aren’t we going to, you know, nuke the planet?”
Vree gave Daki a perplexed look. “No. Why would we? We’re just going to leave. Jeez.”
The accountant looked somewhat ashamed. “I’ll be in the mess hall. You want to come?”
Vree looked out of the window again, pondering life for a moment. “Maybe later. I need a shower first.”
Daki nodded understandingly, then left. Vree was alone with his thoughts. His thoughts and a computer terminal to log in with his secret agent access codes.
“Record encrypted message to PDI headquarters,” he stated as he continued to watch Earth growing smaller. He imagined the people cheering for the departure of the horribly oppressive Blongamun.
“Special Agent Vree reporting from Assignment ‘Earth Plumbing’.”
He imagined art being made in order to celebrate victory over a more advanced species with plucky underdog themes and lots of pathos.
“Deputy Director Tir, I regret to inform you that planet Earth turned out to be a massive waste of time.”
He imagined the planet now unifying under the control of xenophobes and fear mongers, emboldened by the actions of the few as governments scrambled to establish communications with the Blongamun people over the hyperspace radio channels established years ago.
“It’s not really worth developing the planet or species further as a trading partner or ally.”
He imagined the fear mongers gaining more and more power as fear of new alien contacts, maybe retaliation or actual invasion, grew more and more as humans goaded each other on in their little echo chamber.
“Maybe we can use this to our advantage. Send the coordinated to the Pofjep… Pofjeppu… the crab monsters from sector 7. We still owe them one for that quagmire on Sirius. Could be fun to watch… Save message.” Continue reading “Cognizant – A Free Short Story”

Robert Hewitt Wolfe and the Secret of Game of Thrones

This might be a shocker, but I really like Game of Thrones these days again. There was a time there between the first two seasons and me devouring the books in the interim that I was losing more and more patience with the tv series. This came to ahead in seasons 4 and 5, which started a severe break from the narrative of the books, while at the same time retaining the drum solo that was the entire experience of A Dance with Dragons and A Feast for Crows. But something curious happened by the time season 6 came about. I started to like the show again.

For all the grandeur and quality of the book series, the ability to communicate grander and less mainstream ideas, combined with an infinite budget and more deliberate pacing, a book is in many ways a superior form of storytelling to a tv show constrained by budget, time, and sheer possibility and legality sometimes. Yet seasons 6 and 7 of Game of Thrones drew me in once more. Why is that?

Robert Hewitt Wolfe is a former staff writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and was the showrunner for Andromeda when it was a show with potential. In an interview he once gave, he put a succinct point into what makes television, as a medium, unique from more standalone fair. To quote the essence of his words: “In movies and books it doesn’t matter how unlikable for irredeemable your characters are. In television it’s not so simple, you need a reason to invite these characters into your home every week after all.” Continue reading “Robert Hewitt Wolfe and the Secret of Game of Thrones”

The Benefits of Reading Non-Fiction Books (as a writer or normy)

Just a small post today. I have a feeling this is an instance of stating the obvious, but even then it is sometimes necessary to do just that to see how many people actually think alike.

When it comes to finding new ideas for your next story, many writers, usually at the beginning of their career or hobby, see the finding of inspiration as a big problem. I have to admit, I have felt the same for a long time. Nowadays I have found the solution to that problem. Many experienced writers have stated before that reading and writing is the best training for a novice writer. I would agree with that, all I have to add to that is the following: don’t just read fiction.

I’m a pretty big fan of non-fiction. A lot of people immediately think of boring school text books, but that’s not necessarily the case. Be they biographies, historical, political, or otherwise in nature, reading non-fiction is a great way to find out about the world around and get inspired by it. Many concepts in stories I have (and am) working on  are influenced all the time by the non-fiction section of my bookshelves. Usually I’ll find a way to apply that book on militarism or political shenanigans to something I have seen on television or read in a fiction book. Then you combine the two and already have the idea for a new story, whether consciously aware of it or not.  Continue reading “The Benefits of Reading Non-Fiction Books (as a writer or normy)”

Architect or Gardener: Approaches to Writing

Architect or gardener. Which approach works for which story?

If you’ve ever taken a creative writing class,  talked with friends who also had aspirations to become a writer, or read an interview with some famous writer in the Stephen King/George RR Martin mold, you inevitably come to one point:

Architect (Martin) or Gardener (King)?

This has, unfortunately, nothing to do with exterior decorating of suburban houses to make your daily two hour commute less of a macabre preamble to your inevitable stay in hell for all eternity, but one of approaches to writing a story.

I talked before about my disdain for creative writing classes in colleges and universities, and a lot of that has to with with having to put grades on your work, which leads to many professors and teachers encouraging the creation of outlines.

Writing with an outline is not necessarily a bad thing. It essentially gives you plan, more or less detailed, from which to draw in the creative process. This can be anything from a simple list of characters to full character bios, from short diagrams outlying the relative distance between places to full topographical maps of the region.

When done well, it it s a great crutch in longer projects to keep the draft you’re working on on point. It can most definitely cut down on the time you have to spend working on reworking the story once you are done with the initial draft.

When done poorly, it can lead you down a rabbit hole of world-building from which there is no escape. Guess which experience made me swear of this approach? Continue reading “Architect or Gardener: Approaches to Writing”

Historical Accuracy and Authenticity & When They Apply

A look at the interplay of historical accuracy and authenticity with the realities of today.

I’m in one of those moods ever since I saw Wonder Woman last week and did two posts on it, so we might as well talk about historicity in films again while I’m on a role.

When it comes to film making (and art in general), historical accuracy is often fighting an uphill battle against the workings of the narrative. I’m actually quite glad that I have degrees in both History and English as historical films often fight an inner battle over my enjoyment of the craft and the implications of sacrificing truth on the alter of the three-act structure.

I admit that I have muddled the terms in the past, especially when talking to people without getting my thoughts sorted at first, but historical accuracy and historical authenticity are really two different things that apply in different situations. Getting them right might help both critics looking at these films and general audiences in what to look for in a film. Pretentious to think this will have any influence on anything, sure, but self-deprecation aside:

Historical accuracy is a term that I prefer to use, when I remember to order my thoughts first of course, on films that are directly based on a true story or depict historical events. In a film that generally means that the story is presented as it happened, that the people behave correctly, and so on. Something that is very much fact based and can be proven by historical records. If your movie (or any form of media in that regard) gets this wrong, you immediately fail because you are perpetuating lies or spreading them. Portraying “the truth” is a tricky business as well, as there really is no such thing as a singular truth, only different narratives of which a majority of people agree in their interpretation and framing of. In regards to how far you can bend the truth to service the bigger picture and narrative cohesion in service of, I’m more forgiving of this than others, I often find (shocking, I know) because I believe this applies to the big picture much more than the small one. Tora! Tora! Tora! is a good example of a film so accurate to history that it becomes a slog to sit through for a casual audience. It’s a great piece of art, but I can see where it may overreach for a general audience. Of course, in the case of the small picture this can often lead to a snowballing effect where the historicity suffers a death of a thousand cuts. Best is to let reality speak for itself and make minimal changes.   Depending on the story you wish to tell, I will often prefer to fictionalize the story as is. This perfectly leads into:

Historical authenticity is something that will go hand-in-hand with historical accuracy when you are portraying the actual history on film and are trying to be as faithful to the truth as you can. When working with a fictionalized story, it is of the utmost importance to at least get the framing right. This is something that makes, for instance, The Last Samurai very interesting to look at. Based on real events, it does fail to portray the actual history, but at the same time manages to immerse you in the world and the end of an era that the samurai represent when the last of them die out. This is not accurate to actual history, but will at least convey the feelings and values of the era. Had the film fictionalized more events and tightened its focus a bit more, I believe there would be less to criticize. Authenticity can range from portraying the values of the era, to general politics and events happening in the background which inform the actual events. It’s what differentiates history from historical fiction.  Continue reading “Historical Accuracy and Authenticity & When They Apply”

How To Fix The Wonder Woman Script

A script rewrite for the new Woman Woman movie adding historical credibility and grey morality.

Spent a good long afternoon this week critiquing Wonder Woman and pointing out historical inaccuracies. Now it’s time to fix the movie without becoming “too dark” for all the precious comic fans and general audiences who can’t stand a war movie about trenches and poison gas to be too dark. With that said, let’s begin.

In this version we will keep the main story as is, because it actually works. We will, however, change some of the elements: Wonder Woman goes to Europe to fight Ares. Let’s go from there.

Act 1:
Pretty much as is in the movie. With the character being as unknown in much of the world in terms of actual characterization rather than brand recognition we need to set up the Amazons.

Once Trevor moves into the story, things change. Since the German Navy, as portrayed in the movie, cannot be the ones that hunted Trevor across the Mediterranean and Atlantic (the fleet was boxed in after Jutland in its native harbors and the foreign squadrons were destroyed) we will have to change the location of Themiskyra into the Mediterranean and change the ships used to either Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian. Same difference since both were part of the Middle/Central Powers. This immediately broadens the conflict and makes the villains of the piece much more diverse than simply being the Germans.

The main villain of the piece is also changed from Erich Ludendorff to Hans von Hammer, aka Enemy Ace. An anti-hero in the comics, he serves an army colonel in this version responsible for weapons development. If you need Ludendorff in this have him be von Hammer’s superior/benefactor. He can still work with Doctor Poison, but it places some distance between real historical characters and superhero antics.

Wonder Woman and Trevor still make their way to London and the story continues as is, but in London we meet more members of the Entente, with possible cameos by Lord Kitchener, Prime Minister Lloyd George, and maybe General Blackjack Pershing as Trevor’s superiors.
Trevor delivers the plans, but many see no reason to continue the mission. The war is almost won after all, there is a rebellion in Germany. Social-democrats and sailors are mutinying. There are talks of abdication of the Kaiser and the proclamation of a German republic as per the insistance of President Woodrow Wilson that the Entente would only open peace talks with a German democracy. (In real life all of these actions took days so there is some wiggle room to fit in the story of the film as it takes place over the course of half a week tops). Queue talks about hypocracy for democracy being a necessity when half the Entente are empires and kingdoms.

While in London we see the effects war has had on the public and the returning veterans. The movie as is was a bit too studio-backlot-y in its depiction. Too few amputees and maimed victims running around. Wonder Woman and Trevor still put together their team and move on.

Act 2:
Enemy Ace and Doctor Poison get the stand-down order from General Ludendorff who has recommended an armistice to the government and currently he and Field Marshall von Hindenburg are waiting for the response from Wilhelm II in regards to abdication and the future of the country. They are pretty much resigned and as much as they want to win, it is pretty much impossible now. No supplies, no men, no time, a rebellion behind the lines, the end of the empire has come. Enemy Ace and Doctor Poison, fervent imperialists and patriots in this version, believe otherwise and manage to create the new version of the gas, going “rogue”. The quotation marks are necessary in this case because even while the armistice is hammered out, the fighting does continue. Both sides want to be in an advantageous bargaining position. Ludendorff and von Hindenburg don’t encourage their actions but also don’t condone them. After all, all they need is a demonstration to dangle over the enemy.

Wonder Woman and team continue their mission through France on their way to the border and after von Hammer and Doctor Poison. They see the horrors of the war as in the movie, but we also see the conditions of the troops in the trenches much more detailed, rather than a simple line of “been here for a year”. We see Brits, ANZAC, French, American, and especially colonial troops from Africa, India and around the globe. They are all fighting over centimeters on the ground.
It would, of course, be more poignant to show longer periods in the war, but for the sake of that precious PG-13 and the general audience we must remain with the Disneyland version. Still, we make it as graphic and as hopeless as we can get away with. The rest of the act continues unchanged even until we come to the castle.

In the castle, the changes made include the interaction Wonder Woman has with Ludendorff, in this version Enemy Ace. Hans von Hammer is less of a jerk than Danny Huston’s caricature of Ludendorff, an aristocrat who sees his country disappearing in-front of him. A former fighter ace, he saw dozens of comrades shot down, the glory disappear from the battlefield. For good measure he talks about the glory of the war of old and laments that he was too young to witness it himself. Wonder Woman now has little doubts that he is Ares, the God of War.

The gas rounds are fired into the freed village as Entente troops are moving on, obviously wanting to move onto the nearby castle where von Hammer, Doctor Poison, and a bunch of German VIPs are still hanging out. So the order is giving to shell the area. A few civilian casualties don’t really matter after all. The reaction from Wonder Woman is still the same after, in this version, she managed to actually save a few dozen people, though hardly all or even a majority between the town’s population and an entire battalion of troops. She is pissed that Trevor stopped her from killing von Hammer and Doctor Poison. In this version though, Trevor is actually able to somewhat seduce Doctor Poison, getting his hands on the new gas formula. He doesn’t like the idea of this new gas or other super weapon Poison has been dreaming up, but better both sides have it than simply one. Wonder Woman is disgusted from finding this out and after seeing the hundreds of dead in the village. even though she managed to save a few dozen, going after von Hammer and Doctor Poison.

Act 3:
The scene on the airfield. Wonder Woman is thoroughly pissed and curb-stomps von Hammer in his signature plane and also kills Doctor Poison for good measure. They are mass murderers, they don’t deserve better. If you really want, you can give them a motif rant, but at this point it’s pretty clear where they stand. They consider themselves soldiers in a war to defend their fatherland. And yet, the empire they tried to save is gone because it didn’t deserve to live at all after all the killing and maiming that’s been going on. Wonder Woman is shocked that the fighting in the distance continues as the two main villains lay dying. Not Ares after all.
Trevor still sacrifices himself to stop the bomber in this version, he needs to redeem himself. For good measure he takes the formula he stole from Doctor Poison with him. It’s a bittersweet situation. (Making it von Hammer also allows for some parallels in this act with him and Trevor as opposites: flying aces and patriots with questionable morals stuck in a bad situation). In the last moment Wonder Woman can save him though.

We cut to Versailles a bit of a year later. Germany, defeated, signs the treaty ending the war with the Entente. Wonder Woman sees it a bit clearer now for all the talk of Ares. She looks around and sees the faces of the people on both sides. No one is really happy with it. Some say its too lenient, like Ferdinand Foch. Some say its too hard, like John Maynard Keynes. This is no peace. This is an armistice for twenty years.
In the end, her mother had been right. Ares was dead. And yet he lived on in the hearts of everyone. If anything, the bloodshed of the 20th century that had happened and was still to come might as well lead to a new god of war coming along from all the sacrifices made in his name.
Wonder Woman retires from the world, but there are changes for the good. Civilians have lived, Trevor lives and is a better man for it, as is the team. A superhero cannot change a world that hasn’t learned its lesson yet. But a few good men and women remain. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed.

Why I’m Happier Since I Stopped Binge Watching Netflix

Discussions, if they are meaningful, will be there ready to be had once you are done.

This is going to be a short one, so call me a fraud for this not being a diatribe.

It’s been a few weeks now, probably longer, that I started mentioning to people the kinds of shows I watch at the moment. Shows like Taboo, Girlboss, and a handful of other shows that air weekly like Designated Survivor and American Gods.

Ever since Netflix came into existence with the idea of binging, only enhanced by their original programming, we have had a cultural love-hate relationship with the concept of binge watching a television show. I often thought it would be a good thing, watching a show in a day or two, then being completely caught up and able to converse about it.

As I get older and have more things to do in my life, I started realizing that I didn’t watch the shows for the sake of experiencing a good show or being entertained, I simply did it to get it over with. I didn’t enjoy the stories anymore.

I think the love-hate relationship part comes in when you realize that there are many shows that are designed to be watched as a big serial, usually miniseries, shorter seasons, usually cable shows, and shows that are not designed to be watched like this. The latter are purely episodic shows and those with a myth arc packaged in self-contained stories. A show like Deadwood, The Wire, or Breaking Bad is designed to be binged. They feature shorter seasonal lengths and are often designed as the chapters of a book. A recent show I have been watching that is like this are Taboo and American Gods, two great shows, but I haven’t binged on them yet either. It’s an experiment.

The other concept is that of a more traditional television show with a season arc, something that weaves and weans throughout the season without ever having precedent. Recent shows I’ve been talking about on here that are like it include Girlboss, and Arrow, the notorious Friday night hate and shame hook-up of my existence. While they tell a full story over the course of 13 or 23 episodes, they do also tell stand-alone stories or at least ones that can be watched independently. Continue reading “Why I’m Happier Since I Stopped Binge Watching Netflix”