About Bradford Walker

Blogger, gamer, writer, historian, and fan of SF/F in multiple media.

The Quest For Space Princesses

This past Thursday, over at my main blog, I mentioned how I saw a trend in people making their own Star Wars riffs emphasizing the underworld and Mil-SF elements over the traditional Space Opera ones- and that I want to go the other way.

This led to follow-ups from Brian Niemeier (splicing in a similar thread by Alfred Genesson) and Jeffro Johnson and just about all of us figured that the Space Opera audience just isn’t getting enough Space Princes, Princesses, etc. (unless you go to Japan; they’re rarely lacking in such Romantic figures).

We cannot allow a Space Princess gap!

While we have the efforts of a handful of faithful inheritors of Burroughs and E.E. Smith out there, since 1980 at the latest (There’s that date again!) we have (outside of Star Wars) a distinct lacking of Space Princesses and the other key signifiers of the grand Romantic roots of Space Opera in Western media.

Why does this matter? Because you don’t reliably get Superversive without some Romantic elements; they’re roots for a reason. (Hark! I see you romance novelists over there! Shoo, you uncultured barbarians! These are not the ships you’re looking for!) Like it or not, the way a culture embraces the Superversive can be found in the Operatic mythologies it generates and passes on generation after generation- and we in the West are terrible about this outside of Star Wars.

If we are to regenerate our cultures, then we must embrace once more the heroism that our predecessors did and make it our own. Space Opera–made iconic by Princes & Princesses that are commonplace–is how we do this best now, something even superheroes don’t quite handle, and until we do we’re going to be at a disadvantage.

That means that there is an opportunity, for those bold enough to seize it. Go for it, folks. Take up that quest, and bring us the best Space Opera–laying on the myth and fantastic thick–that you can. Once the West had them in abundance. Now only Japan remembers them so. Make Space Opera Great Again! Bring back our Space Princesses!

The Return of Superversive Culture is On All of Us

If there is one thing tying together all of my recommendations for finding the Superversive in existing media, then it is this: the villains are liars, while the heroes seek the truth, and it is in truth overcoming lies that the heroes overcome the villains.

This is something you can do. It’s such a reliable tell that once you see it you won’t unsee it ever, and with that knowledge fixed in your mind you can immediately start filtering out the works that are hostile to creating and sustaining a healthy culture. True culture never lies. That doesn’t mean it’s nice, or pleasing, or easy; the truth is often harsh, upsetting, and difficult. The truth challenges you, and the hero’s struggles to adapt and overcome is a mirror to your own. That’s the value of Superversive media.

And it has to continue being spoken, because the liars and frauds who poisoned the culture never stop. As we enter the shift into the holiday season in the coming weeks, and the consumption of popular media that often is part of family gatherings these days, pay attention to who’s lying and who’s telling the truth in the narratives you witness- and stop engaging those who only lie to you.

Then take the time to not only engage with those telling stories that are true, but spread that word to others seeking alternatives to the monstrous media out there. You need not be a writer, illustrator, musician, editor, or other creative sort to do this; only have the desire to spread the word that works of art and culture that are not degenerate and degrading exist, here and now, and easily available at good prices. Give your time, attention, and money to those who love you- not those who hate you. You cannot help but to benefit from doing so.

The Superversive in Games: Final Fantasy XV and the Power of Brotherhood

Final Fantasy XV took a decade to get to market. Its time in Development Hell is legendary, even for a business notorious for long delays and other production problems. When it arrived this year, the hype train had built up quite a bit of steam and its demo had shown some serious promise of both fun gameplay and a story that you will invest in. I won’t be talking gameplay here; that’s for another venue. Here, I’m talking story.

Is the story in this game good, as it “well-done”? Yes, to the point where some players who really ought to know better actually miss its key points due to their subtlety. I won’t name the guilty here, but one woman who finished the game had a ranting melt-down during her livestream while the credits rolled because she couldn’t get why the hero and his companions were so choked up at the end.

It’s Superversive because of two elements: the story, brick-to-face in its obviousness, is about sustaining and rebuilding the fundamental cultural institutions against a wicked enemy bent on their destruction. Your character is the crown prince, and his story involves undergoing the changes necessary to attain the maturity that a true and faithful king must possess to successfully fulfill his duty to his people and country. His companions are life-long friends, with him through thick and thin, even unto the end of all things.

The game’s theme features the power, strength, and necessity of brotherhood in the development of boys into men- such that the cultivation of virtue (without which overcoming the villain is impossible, thematically) is difficult, if not impossible, without it. If I recommend anything, it’s for fathers to play this game with their sons, because there’s something so strongly inclined to the male experience that it would be a waste to not take the opportunity to use this story to show what being a man is about- and that you should not do it alone.

Superversive? ABSOLUTELY! (The gameplay is solid for the franchise, so don’t worry there.) And once you hear Florence Welch sing “Stand By Me” at the end, you will never forget it. Best use of licensed music in a videogame this year, by far, and once you get to the end you will understand why. Recommended. Totally.

Alt-Hero Launches!

As noted on the blog of the Supreme Dark Lord, Vox Day, the Castalia House comics project known as “Alt-Hero” launched its funding round at Freestartr today.

Vox talks about this in the Darkstream tonight. The video is embedded below. He goes over the goals of the campaign, and the project, there. I encourage you to view the stream, and to check out the project’s page at Freestarter, because if you’ve been disturbed by the anti-Civilizational propaganda put out by DC and Marvel then this is your opportunity to do something useful about it. Here’s the pitch video from the campaign:

You can’t just destroy; you have to fork and replace to complete the victory. To defeat the subversive in comics, it requires forking and building a parallel structure that is intended to supplant and supercede the target. Alt-Hero is that forking and replacing, so if you want comics to be Superversive again then back Alt-Hero.

UPDATE: Alt-Hero met its initial funding goals in 4 HOURS! Fantastic!

Wonder is the Fire Fueling the Superversive

You’re wanting to come join to the party, eh? Well, this pool gets pretty deep, so you’re going to want something to use as a diving platform, and that something is “wonder”.

  • n. One that arouses awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration; a marvel: “The decision of one age or country is a wonder to another” ( John Stuart Mill).
  • n. The emotion aroused by something awe-inspiring, astounding, or marvelous: gazed with wonder at the northern lights.
  • n. An event inexplicable by the laws of nature; a miracle.

You’ve got to bring the wonder. It’s part-and-parcel of the Superversive, and the audience you’re looking to court wants it, seeks it out, and cherishes it as if it were a newborn child. Wonder is priceless, and in that moment of wonder you can do something so profound for the reader that–in satisfying their desire for entertainment–you give them something True and Beautiful, even if your work is a tragedy.

Go back. Look again at all your favorite stories, artworks, music, etc. and pay attention to those moments of wonder. Remember how you felt the first time you experienced those moments? Take another look above at those definitions; that’s your desired outcome from the reader. Pay that experience forward; give them the wonder that your predecessors gave unto you.

Don’t worry about how you’ll make that happen. You’ve got friends here, and you’ve got friends elsewhere who are no less dedicated to bringing that wonder back. Just ask, and we’ll find a way to help you learn how to bring it to the people.

Wonder shared is wonder multiplied, so share yours today. Join the Superversive chorus.

The Time To Join The Game Is Now

I hope that you’re now a regular reader here. Furthermore, I hope that you’ve added this blog to some form of reader or feed aggregator. Every day you’re going to see more and more opportunities for getting involved, and I don’t just mean Call For Submission posts.

Take a look at what’s been posted over the last few weeks. New books getting published? That’s an opportunity because you reading that book and then writing a review is a big deal, both for you and for the author. You’d be wise to post it to your own blog, and then to the book page at Amazon; the former grows your audience, and the latter helps the author by spreading word of mouth. Win-win. The same applies to new magazines and anthologies.

Are there some relevant events–a signing, a convention, a meetup–coming up in your area? Spread the word; hype that up, assuming that it’s not thoroughly subverted to the enemy’s cause. All that takes is a little time to post to your blog and then spread the links to all the socials; you can do that over a lunch break.

Can you draw? Are you at all serious about getting good enough for people to cut you checks? There’s always room for more of you, as even the most dedicated of the professionals can’t do it all, and this is the time to get in and make yourself into the next Frazetta, Bradstreet, Takahashi, or Toriyama. Especially if you study the great art of the past and heed the wisdom within its frames.

I’m going somewhere with this. Do you remember the Parable of the Spoons?

A man is near death. As he leaves his body, an angel appears and puts him before two doors. The angel opens both doors, and in each is revealed a feasting hall full of people at table wielding spoons longer than their arms. At first they seem identical, but soon the differences are apparent: in one, they are crazed with hunger as they attempt ceaselessly to shorten the spoons so they may feed themselves only for the shafts to stretch anew; in the other, they take turns feeding their fellows using the reach provided, and all are satisfied and merry. The angel turns to the man and says “Now you see what Hell and Heaven are like.” The man survives, and thereafter dedicates his life to improving his people.

That’s what we’ve got to do now. You’ll be fed in turn by feeding others now. Get in the game. Now is the time.

The Dragon Awards: A Win for the Superversive!

The Dragon Awards got handed out at Dragon Con this past weekend. Several other contributors here were present, and some had works up for an award. Before I get to the point, this: congratulations to all of you, gracious in both victory and in defeat.

For years we’ve had the so-called “Secret Masters of Fandom”, centered around WorldCon, claim that the Hugos were the voice of the fandom. (Or “Fandom”) Their subversive, corrosive, and dyscivic output of propaganda disguised as literature has now had the last of its illusions dispelled. The Dragon Awards clearly demonstrate what the world’s fans in their respective categories regard as the best in SF/F/Horror for the year- and, again, it is not what the subversives of WorldCon want us to believe.

That these cliquish, holier-than-thou, obnoxious, reactionary fanatics (“CHORF” for short) with their delusions of grandeur got repulsed for the second year running (when they didn’t quit the field pre-emptively) and repulsed so soundly that no one noted their absence until after the fact shows clearly what Brian Niemeier pointed out the other day at his blog:

Luckily, the final decision still lay with the vast legions of science fiction and fantasy fans. Shutting out the CHORFs was the only way to reverse the inroads they’d made and safeguard the Dragon Awards from political meddling.

And you guys came through with flying colors!

Take a look at that list of winners again. It’s wall-to-wall best sellers and fan favorites. In short, the most popular nominees won the popularity contest. The process worked!

For those pursuing the restoration of the Superversive, this is a fantastic sign. The audience has not abandoned the Superversive. Indeed, it hungers for it and wants more. Sure, there’s competition and not of of that is Superversive, but we aren’t shying away from that.

Now is the time to join the fray. Get in that seat, take to the skies, form up on the wing, and dive into the furball. We got a big win, and the enemy still doesn’t realize that it’s badly damaged and leaking fuel. Once they realize what’s really going on, it’ll be too late and the entire fortress of foulness will fall from the sky, hit the ground with a terrible crash, and immolate itself in the explosion.

The future belongs to those that show up and stand for what is true and beautiful. That’s the Superversive.