Jeffro Johnson Critiques with an Iron Fist

The real hero of the series.

Seriously, why aren’t you all on Jeffro Johnson’s Google+ yet? Great discussions of sci-fi and fantasy take place there on a regular basis, all from a prespective you don’t typically see in the SF/F critical space. Come on and join in the fun.

One thing Jeffro did on his Google+ was give an episode-by-episode critique of the recent Netflix series Iron Fist. For your convenience, I’ve gathered all of the critiques here. Now stand back and watch him rip this show apart!

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Castalia House Post: Sudden Rescue (review)

At the Castalia House blog, I review my Twitter buddy Jon Mollison’s new book, Sudden Rescue. It’s a fast-moving tale of a space trucker and his lovely princess; any sci-fi fan would enjoy it.

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Iron Fist: Results

I have completed my viewing of the Marvel Netflix series Iron Fist. The show proved to be quite entertaining and dramatic, with lots of neat twists and turns, as well as several places where it surprised me and caught me off guard. However, in an earlier post, I made eight hypotheses about what the show’s content would be like. Now, I will report on how they all stack up.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

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Iron Fist: A Hypothesis

Inspired by Jeffro Johnson’s episode-by-episode reports on the Marvel Netflix series Iron Fist, I have decided to undertake a similar project: I will make several predictions about how the series will turn out, then make another post detailing how many of them came true and if they came true in any notable way. I have not read any of Jeffro’s reports, nor do I plan to until I have finished watching the series.

Now, on to the hypotheses.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: The Anti-Rangers

Come and get your love.

The 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy serves as the perfect counterpoint to the recent Power Rangers movie. It succeeds everywhere Rangers failed, but it does slip up in the one place Rangers succeeded.

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Manufactured Heroes: The Case of the Power Rangers

The Power Rangers, suited up.

As I wrote yesterday, male/female interchangeability is the default form of characterization in modern fantastical fiction, especially action adventures. It doesn’t matter whether it’s live-action film, video games, or anime and manga — wherever you have action adventure, you must have guys and girls that act largely the same except for a few superficial gendered trappings like skirts, heels, or swimsuits, as well as a kiss or a sex scene.

The most recent Power Rangers continues this trend in full force, presenting us with three mopey guys and two mopey girls who could be exchanged for two more mopey guys with few rewrites to the script. In doing this, the creators seek to demonstrate correct attitudes for the audience.

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Meditations on Male/Female Interchangeability

NOTE: I spoil Power Rangers 2017 a little bit.

So I was at the movies earlier today to watch the new Power Rangers movie. I heard it was an okay movie, and I liked Power Rangers as a kid, so I was like “why not?” Superhero flicks have been getting good recently, and I wanted to see something outside the Marvel/DC axis for once.

But as I sat in the theater, popcorn in hand, I thought about the concept of male/female interchangeability so common in modern fantastic fiction. The trailers I saw certainly gave me much food for thought.

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Star Realms: Role Reversal Run


IMPORTANT: I spoil the book under discussion here. Also, I bear absolutely no ill will towards Jon del Arroz at all and fully respect him as an author and a fellow human being.

From the moment I saw the cover of Jon del Arroz’s novel Star Realms: Rescue Run, I knew that it would hew closely to the Action Girl Mandate, which even my work adheres to. When I started reading, I was proven right immediately when I was introduced to the military-trained smuggler Joan Shengtu, who was no slouch in physical combat and covert action. I read on, enjoying the story — after all, Action Girls didn’t automatically make a story bad. Each scrape, each near-miss, and each bit of drama held my attention as I read this space opera that didn’t let up.

But then two-thirds of the way through the book, it hit me. This book had completely reversed the roles of male and female in the traditional heroic story.

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Castalia House Post: Rescue Run

At the Castalia House blog, I review Star Realms: Rescue Run, a novel by Jon del Arroz, a Twitter buddy of mine. Read the review here.

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A Good Game Master Must Read

Better than any supplement.

This morning, I read a post by Alex Kimball over at the Castalia House blog. In it, he describes how he ran a tabletop RPG campaign off of a short story from the 1940s and along the way developed a set of rules that he could use to play WWII-style campaigns. He explains that the supplementary material that often comes along with tabletop RPG rulebooks is useless because that material includes too many details irrelevant to the action. As an alternative, he suggested using short stories as a basis for a campaign, since only relevant characters and settings are included, and the story itself could act as a rough outline for an adventure (keep in mind that players will deviate, though.)

Kimball’s experience underlines something important that every Game Master should do: read.

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