Maybe Check it Out? (Renshai Edition)

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In today’s world of discourse—much the same as any other time, I’m sure—hot takes have risen to supplant nuance. There’s too much white noise to sift through to get actionable information. We want opinions, dammit!

As an unfortunate consequence, this trend has given rise to the propensity to use the word “rated” far too readily to make oneself heard in the crowded and discordant halls of fandom. More specifically, that singular word directly preceded by the modifier “over,” or, as I submit to you now, “under.”

I don’t pretend to be immune to the trend. In fact, I nearly crafted a shouty title to plaster all over this one. I read this series about ten years ago, and, since I rarely—if ever—see it mentioned, I naturally feel that it’s vastly underrated. More likely, it’s merely underread—a key difference, since most people I speak to who have read it would heartily recommend it.

Anyway, here’s a brief rundown of the reasons why you should probably, possibly, maybe check out The Renshai Trilogy and The Renshai Chronicles by Mickey Zucher Reichert.

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Violence for Violence’ Sake, or … Why Fight?

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There have been some recent discussions about the reasons—or lack thereof—for writing scenes of intense violence, specifically in the fantasy genre, which is ostensibly (but not really) about escaping the real world.

“What’s the point?” readers ask. “Why continue with such a reprehensible character?” “What does it say about me as a reader to keep on this path?”

If you don’t gravitate toward dark or violent subject matter, this is not an entreaty to toss aside your moral convictions or your personal entertainment palette to go down that road. But there are reasons writers explore these themes that have nothing to do with entertainment or shock.

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The 10 Best Movies (I Watched) in 2016

junglebook2016It’s Oscar season, which means there’s a metric ton of movies — probably good ones — that came out at the tail end of 2016 I didn’t get the chance to see. (Arrival, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Hacksaw Ridge, etc.)

But I did my best. What follows is the definitive list of the 10 movies that came out in 2016 that I watched with my entire face and accompanying brain, ranked objectively by goodness.

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