What are the most popular Christmas themed fantasy books?

Christmas-themed fantasy books bring a touch of magic and wonder to the holiday season. Here are some of the most popular Christmas-themed fantasy books that have captured the hearts of readers:

  1. "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis: While not solely centered around Christmas, this classic fantasy novel features a magical land called Narnia, where the White Witch has made it "always winter but never Christmas." The book captures the spirit of Christmas through themes of redemption, sacrifice, and the arrival of Aslan.

  2. "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens: This beloved novella is a holiday classic that blends elements of fantasy and supernatural. It follows Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve, guiding him towards redemption and teaching him the true meaning of Christmas.

  3. "The Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett: Part of Pratchett's Discworld series, "The Hogfather" is a humorous and satirical take on Christmas. It explores the disappearance of the Hogfather (the Discworld equivalent of Santa Claus) and the efforts to save the holiday. Pratchett's witty writing and imaginative world-building make it a delightful Christmas read.

  4. "The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg: This beautifully illustrated children's book tells the story of a young boy who embarks on a magical train journey to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. It captures the enchantment of the season and celebrates the power of belief.

  5. "The Christmasaurus" by Tom Fletcher: This heartwarming children's book follows the adventures of a young boy named William Trundle and his encounter with a magical dinosaur called the Christmasaurus. It combines elements of fantasy, music, and holiday spirit in a delightful tale.

  6. "Krampus: The Yule Lord" by Brom: This dark fantasy novel reimagines the legend of Krampus, the anti-Santa Claus figure, as the central character. It takes place in a twisted version of Christmas and weaves together elements of fantasy, folklore, and horror.

  7. "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by E.T.A. Hoffmann: This classic tale inspired the famous ballet "The Nutcracker." It follows a young girl named Clara who embarks on a magical journey on Christmas Eve, encountering the Nutcracker prince and battling the Mouse King.

  8. "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus" by L. Frank Baum: Written by the author of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," this book explores the origins and adventures of Santa Claus. It delves into the fantastical world of the immortals and the magical realm of Santa's workshop.

The Psychology of Fandom: Why We Love Nerd Culture

Nerd culture has permeated society, captivating the hearts and minds of millions around the world. From the passionate fanbase of superhero movies to the dedicated gamers and avid readers of fantasy novels, the appeal of nerd culture is undeniable. But what drives this deep-rooted love for all things nerdy? In this blog post, we explore the psychology behind fandom and delve into the reasons why we are drawn to and find solace in the world of nerd culture.

  1. Sense of Belonging and Identity:

Being part of a fandom provides a sense of belonging and community. It creates a space where like-minded individuals can come together, share their interests, and connect on a deeper level. Fandoms offer a sense of identity, allowing fans to express themselves through their shared love for a particular franchise, genre, or interest.

  1. Escapism and Fantasy:

Nerd culture often revolves around immersive worlds and rich narratives that allow fans to escape from the pressures of everyday life. Engaging in fandom provides an opportunity to step into a different reality, where the boundaries of the ordinary are transcended. This escapism offers a temporary reprieve and a chance to explore imaginative and fantastical realms.

  1. Emotional Connection:

Nerd culture evokes powerful emotions. Whether it's the excitement of anticipating a new installment in a beloved series, the joy of discovering hidden references and Easter eggs, or the sadness and triumph experienced through character arcs, these emotional connections deepen our engagement with the stories and characters we love. Fandom provides an avenue to experience and process these emotions, creating a shared emotional journey with other fans.

  1. Intellectual Stimulation:

Nerd culture is often intricately tied to intellectual pursuits. From solving complex puzzles in video games to deciphering intricate plotlines in books and movies, engaging with nerd culture challenges our minds and stimulates our intellectual curiosity. This intellectual engagement can foster a sense of personal growth, satisfaction, and a desire for continued exploration.

  1. Fan Creativity and Expression:

Nerd culture inspires creativity and self-expression. Fans channel their passion into fan art, fan fiction, cosplay, and various forms of fan creations. This creative outlet allows individuals to engage with the source material on a deeper level, reinterpret it, and contribute to the larger fandom community. By sharing their creations, fans establish connections with fellow enthusiasts and gain a sense of accomplishment and validation.

  1. Shared Experiences and Social Interaction:

Nerd culture often thrives on shared experiences. Attending conventions, participating in gaming tournaments, or joining online communities provide opportunities for social interaction, collaboration, and bonding. These shared experiences create lasting memories, forge new friendships, and strengthen existing relationships. The sense of community and social connection within fandoms is a powerful driver of continued engagement and passion.


The psychology behind fandom illuminates the deep-rooted love and devotion we have for nerd culture. From the sense of belonging and identity to the emotional connections and intellectual stimulation, fandom offers a multifaceted experience that resonates with our core desires for connection, exploration, and expression. So, embrace your inner geek, revel in the world of nerd culture, and celebrate the psychological intricacies that make it such a beloved and impactful part of our lives.

What are the most popular indie published fantasy books?

Indie-published fantasy books have gained significant popularity in recent years, thanks to the rise of self-publishing platforms and independent authors finding success outside of traditional publishing houses. While popularity can vary over time, here are some highly acclaimed and popular indie-published fantasy books:

  1. "The Wandering Inn" by Pirateaba: This web serial turned self-published novel follows the adventures of Erin Solstice, a young woman who finds herself transported to a fantasy world filled with magic and monsters. It has gained a large and dedicated online following.

  2. "Sufficiently Advanced Magic" by Andrew Rowe: This LitRPG novel follows protagonist Corin Cadence as he enters a magical tower to find his missing brother. It blends fantasy and video game mechanics, attracting a wide readership.

  3. "Cradle" series by Will Wight: This popular self-published series follows the journey of Lindon as he strives to cultivate his powers in a world filled with martial arts and mystical abilities. It has gained a significant fanbase for its fast-paced action and intricate world-building.

  4. "Arcane Ascension" series by Andrew Rowe: Set in the same universe as "Sufficiently Advanced Magic," this series follows protagonist Corin Cadence as he attends a magical academy and uncovers mysteries surrounding his past. It combines magical schools, dungeon diving, and intricate magic systems.

  5. "The Divine Dungeon" series by Dakota Krout: This LitRPG series explores the story of Cal, a sentient dungeon core, as he seeks to grow stronger and protect his territory. It blends dungeon building, fantasy elements, and humorous moments.

  6. "Mage Errant" series by John Bierce: This coming-of-age fantasy series follows the journey of Hugh of Emblin as he attends a magical academy and faces various challenges. It offers a mix of magic, adventure, and character development.

  7. "The Dark Profit Saga" series by J. Zachary Pike: This comedic fantasy series features the adventures of a con artist goblin named Gorm as he navigates a world filled with danger, humor, and political intrigue. It has garnered a following for its witty writing and entertaining plot.

  8. "The Chronicles of the Black Gate" series by Phil Tucker: This epic fantasy series follows the story of Narashtovik, a disgraced knight, as he becomes embroiled in a conflict that could change the fate of the world. It offers a gritty and immersive fantasy world.

  9. "The Cycle of Arawn" series by Edward W. Robertson: This dark fantasy series chronicles the journey of Dante, a young mage, as he discovers his powers and faces the challenges of a war-torn world. It combines elements of magic, adventure, and morally complex characters.

  10. "The Bowl of Souls" series by Trevor H. Cooley: This series follows various characters with unique powers and abilities as they navigate a world filled with monsters, magic, and epic battles. It has gained popularity for its engaging characters and action-packed storytelling.

Nerd Music: From Filk to Nerdcore, Exploring Geeky Tunes

Music has long been a powerful medium for expressing emotions, telling stories, and bringing people together. For nerds and geeks, music offers a way to celebrate their passions, dive deeper into their fandoms, and connect with like-minded individuals. In this blog post, we delve into the world of nerd music, exploring genres such as filk and nerdcore, and uncovering the diverse range of geeky tunes that have captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

  1. Filk: Music of Fandoms and Folklore:

Filk music originated in science fiction and fantasy fandoms, encompassing songs inspired by literature, movies, TV shows, and gaming. Filk songs often have a folk or acoustic sound and explore themes related to speculative fiction, space exploration, and fandom culture. Filk gatherings and conventions provide a space for fans to share their own compositions and celebrate the rich tradition of filk music.

  1. Nerdcore: Hip-Hop for Geeks:

Nerdcore is a genre that blends hip-hop with geek culture, embracing topics such as gaming, technology, comic books, and nerd lifestyle. Nerdcore artists often incorporate witty wordplay, references to fandoms, and social commentary into their lyrics. From MC Frontalot to Mega Ran, nerdcore artists have gained a dedicated following, showcasing their unique perspective through clever rhymes and infectious beats.

  1. Video Game Music (VGM):

Video game music has evolved into a genre of its own, with dedicated fan communities celebrating the memorable tunes from their favorite games. From the iconic melodies of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda to the epic soundscapes of Final Fantasy and Halo, video game music captivates listeners and transports them back to the immersive worlds of gaming.

  1. Geek Rock and Pop:

Geek rock and pop encompass a wide range of musical styles that celebrate geek culture. Artists like They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, and The Doubleclicks infuse their songs with humor, pop culture references, and clever lyrics that resonate with nerdy audiences. These catchy tunes explore topics such as love of science, quirky fandoms, and the humorous aspects of geek life.

  1. Tribute Bands and Cover Artists:

Tribute bands and cover artists pay homage to popular nerdy franchises through their music. From orchestral renditions of movie soundtracks to rock bands performing songs inspired by beloved TV shows, these musicians bring the magic of fandom to life on stage. Tribute bands dedicated to bands like The Beatles, Queen, or Led Zeppelin may even infuse their performances with a nerdy twist.

  1. Internet Culture and Parodies:

The rise of the internet has paved the way for countless geeky musical parodies and original compositions. YouTube channels and online communities are teeming with fan-made songs that parody popular hits, add nerdy lyrics to existing tunes, or create entirely new compositions inspired by geek culture. These creations allow fans to express their love for specific fandoms while showcasing their musical talents.


Nerd music spans a diverse range of genres and styles, offering nerds and geeks a melodic avenue to express their passions, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and celebrate the geek culture that unites them. From the folk-inspired melodies of filk to the energetic beats of nerdcore, and the captivating soundtracks of video games, there is a wealth of geeky tunes waiting to be explored. So, turn up the volume, immerse yourself in the nerdy melodies, and let the music transport you to the worlds of your favorite fandoms.

What are the most popular Halloween themed fantasy books?

Halloween-themed fantasy books can provide the perfect blend of spooky atmospheres, magical elements, and captivating storytelling. Here are some of the most popular Halloween-themed fantasy books that capture the essence of the season:

  1. "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling: Although not explicitly Halloween-themed, the Harry Potter series often features Halloween celebrations at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The books' enchanting world, magical creatures, and themes of bravery and friendship make them a favorite choice for Halloween reading.

  2. "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman: This enchanting tale follows a young boy named Nobody Owens who is raised in a graveyard by ghostly inhabitants. It explores themes of life, death, and the supernatural, making it a perfect read for Halloween.

  3. "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman: Gaiman's dark fantasy novella tells the story of a young girl who discovers a secret door in her house that leads to a parallel world where everything seems perfect. However, she soon realizes there is a sinister presence lurking. With its eerie atmosphere and themes of bravery and self-discovery, "Coraline" is an ideal Halloween read.

  4. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving: This classic short story follows the tale of Ichabod Crane and his encounter with the Headless Horseman in the town of Sleepy Hollow. Its spooky setting, supernatural elements, and thrilling climax have made it a Halloween favorite for generations.

  5. "Practical Magic" by Alice Hoffman: This novel weaves together themes of magic, love, family, and the supernatural. Set in a small town in New England, it follows the lives of the Owens sisters, who come from a long line of witches. The book captures a sense of enchantment and is perfect for those seeking a magical Halloween read.

  6. "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury: This dark fantasy novel follows two young boys who encounter a mysterious carnival that arrives in their town. With its atmospheric prose, themes of good versus evil, and evocative Halloween imagery, Bradbury's novel has become a Halloween staple.

  7. "The Halloween Tree" by Ray Bradbury: In this imaginative tale, a group of children embarks on a journey through time and space on Halloween night to save their friend. Along the way, they learn about the origins of Halloween and encounter various historical figures. Bradbury's poetic writing and celebration of Halloween traditions make this book a beloved Halloween read.

A Nerd's Guide to Halloween: Embracing Geeky Fun and Fandoms

Halloween is the perfect time for nerds and geeks to let their imaginations run wild and celebrate their favorite fandoms. Whether you're a science fiction enthusiast, a gamer, a comic book lover, or a fantasy fanatic, this blog post serves as your ultimate guide to embracing the nerdy side of Halloween. From costume ideas to themed parties and decorations, we've got you covered!

  1. Embrace Your Favorite Characters:

Halloween offers a unique opportunity to dress up as your beloved characters from movies, TV shows, video games, and books. Whether you opt for a DIY costume or purchase a ready-made one, let your inner nerd shine through. Become a Jedi Knight, a superhero, a video game protagonist, or a fantasy creature. The possibilities are endless, and the only limit is your imagination.

  1. DIY Costumes for the Creative Nerd:

For the crafty nerds out there, creating your own costume can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Dive into your favorite fandom and explore DIY costume tutorials, prop-making techniques, and makeup tips to bring your vision to life. Whether you're crafting a steampunk ensemble, a medieval knight's armor, or an alien creature, the process of making your costume can be as fun as wearing it.

  1. Themed Halloween Parties:

Throwing a themed Halloween party is a fantastic way to bring together fellow nerds and share your fandoms. Choose a theme that resonates with you and your friends, such as a Harry Potter-inspired wizarding world, a Star Wars cantina, or a video game arcade. Decorate your space accordingly, plan themed activities, and encourage guests to come dressed as their favorite characters.

  1. Nerd-Approved Halloween Decorations:

Elevate your Halloween decor by incorporating elements from your favorite fandoms. Create a Hogwarts-inspired potion station, hang lightsabers on your porch, or carve pumpkins with iconic symbols from your favorite games. Let your creativity flow as you transform your space into a nerdy Halloween haven.

  1. Frighteningly Geeky Movie Marathons:

Halloween wouldn't be complete without a spooky movie marathon. Embrace your inner cinephile by curating a lineup of your favorite horror, sci-fi, or fantasy films. Gather your friends, prepare themed snacks, and immerse yourself in the chilling atmosphere of Halloween while indulging in your favorite movies.

  1. Trick-or-Treating with a Nerdy Twist:

If you're a fan of trick-or-treating, why not add a nerdy twist? Dress up as a character from your favorite fandom and delight fellow nerds in your neighborhood with your creative costumes. Collect candy while sharing your love for all things geeky.

  1. Nerd-Inspired Treats and Sweets:

Get creative in the kitchen and whip up some nerdy Halloween treats. Bake cookies shaped like iconic symbols, create themed cupcakes, or concoct a magical potion-inspired punch. Experiment with recipes and decorations that pay homage to your favorite fandoms, adding an extra touch of nerdiness to your Halloween celebrations.


Halloween is a time to embrace your inner nerd, indulge in fandoms, and let your creativity shine. From dressing up as beloved characters to hosting themed parties and decorating with a nerdy flair, there are countless ways to infuse your Halloween celebrations with geeky fun. 

So, grab your lightsaber, don your wizard's robe, and immerse yourself in the magical world of Halloween, where nerdy dreams come true!

Mandatory Books for Nerds to Read

Nerd Literature: Books That Shaped Geekdom

Geekdom and nerd culture have seen a remarkable rise in popularity over the past few decades. What was once considered a niche interest has now become a mainstream phenomenon, influencing various aspects of our society. From blockbuster movies to video games, geeks and nerds have left an indelible mark on popular culture. However, at the core of this movement lies literature, the written word that fueled the imaginations of countless geeks and shaped the very essence of geekdom. In this blog post, we will explore some of the books that have had a profound impact on nerd culture, influencing generations of geeks and helping to define the world of nerds as we know it today.

  1. "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien: No discussion of nerd literature would be complete without mentioning J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings." First published in the 1950s, Tolkien's masterpiece introduced readers to a richly detailed world filled with magic, mythical creatures, and epic quests. With its sprawling narrative, complex characters, and meticulous world-building, "The Lord of the Rings" set the standard for high fantasy literature and became a fundamental text for generations of geeks. It has since inspired countless works in literature, film, and gaming, cementing its place as a cornerstone of nerd culture.

  2. "Dune" by Frank Herbert: Frank Herbert's science fiction epic, "Dune," published in 1965, is another book that has left an indelible mark on geekdom. Set in a distant future where interstellar travel and political intrigue abound, "Dune" weaves a complex tale of power, religion, and ecology. With its intricate world-building and philosophical themes, Herbert's masterpiece challenged readers' intellects and pushed the boundaries of science fiction. "Dune" remains a beloved and influential work that has inspired numerous adaptations and continuations, including films, TV shows, and video games.

  3. "Neuromancer" by William Gibson: Considered the seminal work of cyberpunk, "Neuromancer" by William Gibson was published in 1984 and revolutionized the science fiction genre. Set in a dystopian future where advanced technology intersects with gritty urban landscapes, Gibson's novel introduced readers to concepts like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and a hacker protagonist. "Neuromancer" not only influenced science fiction literature but also left an indelible mark on popular culture, inspiring films like "The Matrix" and countless video games, making it a cornerstone of geek culture.

  4. "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling: No list of books that shaped geekdom would be complete without mentioning J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series. The tale of a young wizard attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry captured the hearts and imaginations of millions worldwide. The series not only introduced readers to a magical world filled with spells, mythical creatures, and epic battles but also touched on universal themes of friendship, love, and the struggle between good and evil. The success of the "Harry Potter" books spawned a massive fandom, leading to movies, merchandise, theme parks, and a cultural phenomenon that continues to thrive today.

Final Thoughts:

Nerd literature has played a crucial role in shaping geekdom and popular culture as a whole. The books mentioned above are just a few examples of the many works that have left an indelible mark on geek culture, inspiring countless fans and influencing other forms of media. 

From the realms of high fantasy to dystopian futures and magical schools, these books have transported readers to imaginative worlds and sparked their passion for all things nerdy. As geek culture continues to thrive, we can expect future generations of readers to discover new books that will shape the world of geekdom in ways we cannot yet imagine.

Popular Western-themed Cosplay Costumes and Characters

Here's a list of popular cosplay costumes based on Westerns and Western subgenres:

  1. Classic Cowboy/Cowgirl: Dress up as a classic cowboy or cowgirl from the Wild West, complete with a hat, boots, jeans, and a fringed vest or jacket.
  2. Outlaw Gunslinger: Channel your inner outlaw by cosplaying as a gunslinger, with a long duster coat, wide-brimmed hat, bandana, and holstered pistols.
  3. Saloon Girl: Embody the spirit of the Old West by cosplaying as a saloon girl, with a frilly dress, corset, feathered headpiece, and fishnet stockings.
  4. Western Lawman: Dress up as a heroic lawman from the Old West, such as Wyatt Earp or Sheriff Buford Pusser, with a badge, sheriff's hat, boots, and a rugged trench coat.
  5. Western Femme Fatale: Embrace the allure of the femme fatale by cosplaying as a seductive and dangerous character, with a fitted dress, high heels, and a long coat.
  6. Steampunk Gunslinger: Combine the Western and steampunk genres by cosplaying as a steampunk gunslinger, incorporating Victorian-inspired clothing, goggles, and steampunk accessories.
  7. Post-Apocalyptic Survivor: Create a cosplay inspired by post-apocalyptic Westerns, with tattered clothing, leather armor, gas masks, and makeshift weapons.
  8. Space Cowboy: Put a futuristic twist on the Western genre by cosplaying as a space cowboy, with a blend of Western and sci-fi elements, such as a futuristic cowboy hat, space-themed clothing, and laser weapons.
  9. Zombified Western Character: Give a spooky twist to a Western character by cosplaying as a zombie cowboy or cowgirl, with torn and bloody clothing, pale makeup, and undead accessories.
  10. Frontiersperson: Dress up as a rugged frontiersperson, resembling a pioneer or settler from the Old West. Wear practical clothing like a brimmed hat, work shirt, trousers, and boots.
  11. Western Outlaw: Emulate the style of an outlaw or bandit from the Wild West, with a duster coat, cowboy hat, boots, and rugged clothing. Customize the costume with accessories like a bandana, spurs, or a gun belt.
  12. Western Gambler: Channel the charm of a Western gambler or cardsharp, with a tailored suit, vest, dress shirt, tie, and a wide-brimmed hat. Add a deck of cards or a poker chip as a prop.
  13. Pioneer Homesteader: Portray a pioneer homesteader, dressed in modest clothing like a bonnet, long dress, apron, and sensible shoes. Carry a basket or farming tools as props.
  14. Western Saloon Patron: Dress as a patron of a Western saloon, wearing a Victorian-style dress or a three-piece suit, along with accessories like a top hat, parasol, or a pocket watch.
  15. Western Movie Character: Cosplay as a beloved character from a Western movie, such as The Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood), Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne), or any other iconic figure that resonates with you. 


If you want to portray a specific character check out these more traditional options:

  1. The Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood) from the "Dollars Trilogy" (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).
  2. Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) from the movie "True Grit."
  3. Jesse James, the notorious outlaw from American history.
  4. Annie Oakley, the legendary sharpshooter and performer.
  5. Calamity Jane, a frontier woman and Wild West figure.
  6. Doc Holliday, the legendary gambler and gunslinger from the Old West.
  7. Belle Starr, a notorious female outlaw from the American Old West.
  8. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the famous outlaw duo.
  9. Josie Wales (Clint Eastwood) from the movie "The Outlaw Josey Wales."
  10. Billy the Kid, the legendary gunslinger and outlaw.
  11. Wyatt Earp, a lawman and key figure in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
  12. Black Bart, a notorious stagecoach robber from the Wild West.
  13. Wild Bill Hickok, a legendary lawman and gunslinger.
  14. Bass Reeves, the first African American deputy U.S. Marshal.
  15. Buffalo Bill Cody, the famous showman and Wild West figure.

Doesn't have to be a character from American folklore or films either. I have dressed up as Johnny Cash (The Man in Black) multiple times. Thus Country Western singers are also on the table, including people like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

 And here's some more nerdy options:

  1. Jonah Hex: The disfigured bounty hunter from DC Comics known for his supernatural encounters.
  2. Preacher: Jesse Custer, the Texas preacher with supernatural abilities from the comic book series "Preacher."
  3. Deadlands: Choose from various characters in the horror-themed tabletop role-playing game, such as the Blessed, the Harrowed, or the Huckster.
  4. Han Solo: The charismatic smuggler and pilot from the "Star Wars" franchise.
  5. Mal Reynolds: The captain of the spaceship Serenity from the TV show "Firefly."
  6. Spike Spiegel: The bounty hunter and main character from the anime series "Cowboy Bebop."
  7. The Gunslinger (Roland Deschain): The protagonist of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series, blending elements of fantasy and Western.
  8. Red Harlow: The main character from the video game "Red Dead Revolver."
  9. The Lone Ranger: The masked hero from various media, fighting injustice in the Old West.
  10. Lilith (Lady Six Sky): A mystical gunslinger and protector of the innocent from the comic book series "Pretty Deadly."
  11. Hexe: A voodoo priestess with supernatural powers from the comic book series "Hexed."
  12. Zoe Washburne: The skilled and resilient first mate of the spaceship Serenity from the TV show "Firefly."
  13. Angelica: A vampire hunter from the comic book series "American Vampire."
  14. Lilith Sullivan: The creepy, possessed young girl from the movie "Jonah Hex."
  15. Lady Mechanika: The steampunk cyborg detective and adventurer from the comic book series of the same name.
  16. Abigail Ashe: The sky pirate captain from the video game "Guns of Icarus Online."
  17. Revy: The dangerous and skilled gunslinger from the anime and manga series "Black Lagoon."
  18. Regina Belmont: The protagonist of the video game "Dino Crisis: Gun Survivor," mixing Western and survival horror elements.
  19. Any of the characters from Westworld.


Weird Westerns and Other Western Subgenres

As part of my foray into writing Weird Westerns (or Fantasy Westerns) I have invested some time and effort into researching the other types of Western subgenres.

Here's a list of literature subgenres for Westerns:

  1. Classic Westerns: These are the traditional Western stories that capture the spirit of the American frontier, featuring cowboys, outlaws, lawmen, and rugged landscapes.

  2. Revenge Westerns: Stories centered around the protagonist seeking vengeance against those who have wronged them, often with themes of justice and redemption.

  3. Outlaw Westerns: These stories focus on the lives of outlaws, portraying their adventures, conflicts, and often exploring their complex moral codes.

  4. Women of the West: Westerns that place strong female characters at the forefront, highlighting their struggles and triumphs in a male-dominated society.

  5. Native American Westerns: Westerns that explore the lives and cultures of Native American tribes, often offering alternative perspectives on the history of the American West.

  6. Mystery Westerns: Blend the elements of a traditional Western with a mystery narrative, featuring detectives, sheriffs, or ordinary people trying to solve crimes or uncover hidden truths.

  7. Historical Westerns: Set in specific periods of history, these Westerns provide a glimpse into the past, incorporating real events, figures, or settings.

  8. Steampunk Westerns: Combine Western themes with elements of steampunk, creating an alternative history where steam-powered technology exists alongside the Wild West.

  9. Weird West: This subgenre combines Western themes with elements of fantasy, horror, or supernatural, introducing mythical creatures, magic, or the occult to the Western setting.

  10. Post-Apocalyptic Westerns: Set in a dystopian or post-apocalyptic future, these Westerns explore the remnants of society in a harsh and lawless landscape.

  11. Space Westerns: Also known as "Cowboy Bebop" or "Firefly" style, these stories transport Western tropes and settings into outer space, featuring futuristic technology, interplanetary travel, and space cowboys.

  12. Contemporary Westerns: Modern-day Western stories that reflect the challenges and conflicts of the present, often addressing social and environmental issues relevant to the time.

These are just a few subgenres within the broader Western genre. Each subgenre offers unique themes, settings, and narrative styles, catering to various reader preferences and interests.

And lest we forget the matter of films... Including films like "Cowboys & Aliens".

 Curious about my Weird Westerns?

Check out:

A Dark Road in Louisiana


Folly of the Forlorn

What are the most popular cosplay characters from fantasy books?

There are numerous iconic characters from fantasy books that have gained popularity and are frequently cosplayed. Here are some of the most popular characters that people often choose to cosplay as:

  1. Harry Potter (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling): The beloved protagonist of the Harry Potter series is a common choice for cosplayers, with his iconic glasses, lightning bolt scar, and Hogwarts school uniform.

  2. Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien): The wise and powerful wizard Gandalf, with his long white hair, staff, and distinctive grey robes, is a popular choice for those seeking to portray a classic fantasy character.

  3. Daenerys Targaryen (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin): Daenerys, also known as Khaleesi or the Mother of Dragons, has a striking appearance with her long silver-blonde hair, flowing dresses, and dragon-themed accessories.

  4. Jon Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin): Jon Snow, the brooding and honorable member of the Night's Watch, is often cosplayed with his black cloak, fur cape, and sword, Longclaw.

  5. Wonder Woman (Various comic books and adaptations): While Wonder Woman's origins are in comic books, her popularity has spread to fantasy enthusiasts. Her iconic armor, lasso of truth, and tiara make her a popular choice for cosplayers.

  6. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling): Hermione, the brilliant and resourceful witch, is a favorite among cosplayers. Her frizzy hair, Hogwarts robes, and wand make for an instantly recognizable costume.

  7. Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien): Aragorn, the skilled ranger and rightful heir to the throne, is often cosplayed with his rugged outfit, cloak, and sword, Andúril.

  8. Alice (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll): Alice, the curious and imaginative protagonist of Wonderland, is known for her blue dress, white apron, and iconic headband.

  9. Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin): The witty and clever Tyrion, known for his dwarfism, is often cosplayed with his distinctive facial scar, elaborate clothing, and goblet of wine.

    Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski): Geralt, the brooding and skilled monster hunter, is known for his silver hair, scars, and distinctive Witcher armor. Cosplayers often strive to capture Geralt's rugged appearance and carry his iconic swords, making him a popular choice among fans of The Witcher series.

    Arwen Undómiel (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien): Arwen, the elven princess and love interest of Aragorn, is often cosplayed in her ethereal elven gowns and jewelry. Her flowing dark hair, delicate features, and elegant attire make for a visually stunning costume.

    Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin): The witty and clever Tyrion, known for his dwarfism, is often cosplayed with his distinctive facial scar, elaborate clothing, and goblet of wine. His complex personality and sharp wit make him a popular choice among cosplayers seeking to portray multifaceted characters.


    And if that isn't enough, there's also video games like Skyrim to consider...


The Nerd's Guide to Conventions and Cosplay: Tips, Tricks, and Must-See Events

For nerds and enthusiasts, conventions and cosplay events are the ultimate gathering places to celebrate their passions, meet like-minded individuals, and immerse themselves in the world of pop culture. Whether you're a seasoned convention-goer or a newbie looking to dive into the exciting realm of cosplay, this blog post serves as your comprehensive guide, providing valuable tips, tricks, and highlighting must-see events to make the most of your convention experience.

Choosing the Right Convention:

The first step is selecting the right convention for you. Consider the theme, size, location, and the specific fandoms or interests represented. Popular conventions like Comic-Con International, Dragon Con, and PAX offer a wide range of activities and attract a diverse crowd, while smaller local conventions provide a more intimate and community-focused experience.

Planning and Preparation:

Plan your convention experience ahead of time to maximize your enjoyment. Research the convention schedule, panel discussions, workshops, and celebrity appearances to prioritize the events you want to attend. Create a checklist of must-see booths, exhibitors, and artists you want to explore. Additionally, consider booking accommodations and purchasing tickets in advance to avoid last-minute hassles.

Cosplay: Embrace Your Alter Ego:

Cosplay is a significant part of convention culture, allowing fans to bring their favorite characters to life. If you're interested in cosplay, choose a character that resonates with you and start planning your costume well in advance. Research reference images, gather materials, and consider your budget and crafting abilities. Don't forget to document your progress and share it with the cosplay community, both online and at the convention itself.

Convention Survival Tips:

Conventions can be overwhelming, but with some preparation, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:

  1. Comfortable Attire: Dress comfortably, wear appropriate shoes, and consider layering your clothing for fluctuating temperatures.

  2. Hydration and Snacks: Stay hydrated by carrying a refillable water bottle and pack some energizing snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day.

  3. Rest and Relaxation: Take breaks whenever needed to rest, recharge, and avoid burnout. Utilize quiet areas or designated relaxation zones provided by the convention.

  4. Plan Your Budget: Set a budget for merchandise, autographs, and photo opportunities. It's easy to get carried away, so plan accordingly to avoid overspending.

  5. Stay Connected: Bring a portable phone charger and connect with the convention's mobile app or social media channels to stay updated on schedule changes, announcements, and special events.

Must-See Events and Highlights:

Every convention offers unique events and experiences. Here are a few highlights to look out for:

  1. Celebrity Panels and Q&A Sessions: Listen to your favorite actors, writers, and artists share behind-the-scenes stories and engage in interactive Q&A sessions.

  2. Artist Alleys and Exhibitor Halls: Explore artist alleys and exhibitor halls to discover one-of-a-kind artwork, comics, merchandise, and collectibles.

  3. Cosplay Contests: Witness amazing craftsmanship and creativity in cosplay contests, where cosplayers showcase their intricate costumes and performances.

  4. Workshops and Demonstrations: Participate in workshops and demonstrations to learn new skills, such as prop making, special effects, or costume design.

  5. Community Meetups and Networking: Connect with fellow fans, join fandom-specific meetups, and network with creators and enthusiasts who share your interests.


Conventions and cosplay events offer a unique opportunity for nerds and enthusiasts to come together, celebrate their passions, and create unforgettable memories. By following these tips and immersing yourself in the convention culture, you'll have an incredible experience filled with exciting events, remarkable cosplay, and connections with fellow fans. So, grab your costume, plan your schedule, and get ready to embark on a thrilling journey into the world of conventions and cosplay!


Nerd Conventions in Toronto and the GTA

Here's a list of nerdy conventions in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):

  1. Fan Expo Canada: One of the largest conventions in Canada, Fan Expo Canada takes place in downtown Toronto and offers a wide range of activities, including celebrity appearances, panel discussions, exhibitor halls, cosplay contests, and more.

  2. Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF): TCAF focuses on celebrating comic books and graphic novels. It features a diverse lineup of artists, creators, and exhibitors, along with panel discussions, workshops, and signings.

  3. Toronto Comicon: Held annually, Toronto Comicon is a three-day event that brings together fans of comics, sci-fi, horror, and gaming. It features celebrity guests, cosplay competitions, exhibitors, and interactive experiences.

  4. Anime North: While not in Toronto itself, Anime North is a popular anime convention held in the GTA. It attracts anime enthusiasts, cosplayers, and manga lovers with its extensive programming, cosplay masquerades, industry panels, and themed events.

  5. Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA): Although primarily a literary festival, TIFA often includes events and panels related to science fiction, fantasy, and other nerdy genres. It hosts notable authors and offers engaging discussions for book lovers.

  6. EGLX (Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo): EGLX is a gaming convention held in the GTA, showcasing the latest video games, esports competitions, gaming tournaments, indie developers, and interactive experiences.

  7. Toronto After Dark Film Festival: This genre-focused film festival screens horror, sci-fi, action, and cult films. It provides a platform for independent filmmakers and includes special events, Q&A sessions, and parties.

  8. Toronto Fan Days: Organized by the same team behind Fan Expo Canada, Toronto Fan Days is a smaller-scale convention that offers a taste of the Fan Expo experience. It features celebrity guests, exhibitors, and cosplayers.

  9. Can-Con: Can-Con is a science fiction and fantasy convention held in Ottawa, but it attracts attendees from the GTA and beyond. It focuses on Canadian speculative fiction and includes panels, workshops, author readings, and networking opportunities.

These are just a few of the notable nerdy conventions in Toronto and the GTA. Keep an eye on their respective websites and social media channels for updates on dates, guest announcements, and programming. Happy convention-going!

A Comprehensive History of Green Arrow in Comic Books

Green Arrow, the emerald archer of DC Comics, has a rich and storied history in the world of comic books. With a legacy that spans over eight decades, this iconic superhero has evolved from a minor character to a beloved and complex figure within the DC Universe. In this comprehensive history, we will explore the origins, key storylines, and notable moments in the comic book journey of Green Arrow.

Origins and Early Years:

Green Arrow made his debut in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941, created by writer Mort Weisinger and artist George Papp. Initially introduced as a modern-day Robin Hood, the character was inspired by the classic archer of English folklore. Oliver Queen, a wealthy playboy, finds himself stranded on a deserted island, where he hones his archery skills to survive. Upon returning to civilization, Queen takes on the identity of Green Arrow and dedicates his life to fighting crime and defending the downtrodden.

The Golden Age and Silver Age:

During the Golden Age of comics, Green Arrow appeared as a member of the Justice Society of America, a team of superheroes who fought alongside other iconic characters like Superman and Batman. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Green Arrow's stories often featured him using his exceptional archery skills, trick arrows, and a keen sense of justice to tackle various villains and social issues of the time.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, with the advent of the Silver Age of comics, Green Arrow experienced a revitalization. Alongside artist Jack Kirby, writer Ed Herron, and later writer/artist Neal Adams, the character underwent significant developments. The introduction of the character's sidekick, Speedy (Roy Harper), added depth and complexity to Green Arrow's stories. This era also saw Green Arrow become a member of the newly formed Justice League of America, where he shared adventures with other prominent superheroes.

Hard-Traveling Hero and Social Relevance:

In the early 1970s, writer Denny O'Neil and artist Neal Adams took Green Arrow's character in a bold and socially relevant direction. Their groundbreaking storyline, known as "Hard-Traveling Heroes," tackled real-world issues such as poverty, racism, and corruption. Green Arrow embarked on a cross-country journey with his close friend, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), confronting social injustices and challenging the status quo. This socially conscious era marked a turning point for the character, giving Green Arrow a reputation as a champion of the underprivileged and an advocate for change.

The Longbow Hunters and Modern Era:

In the late 1980s, writer/artist Mike Grell rejuvenated Green Arrow with his critically acclaimed miniseries, "Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters." This gritty and mature storyline depicted a darker, more realistic version of the character. Oliver Queen embraced his archery skills as a hunter, using lethal force to take down criminals. The Longbow Hunters marked a significant departure from the more lighthearted and traditional Green Arrow stories of the past, paving the way for a more complex and nuanced interpretation of the character.

In the modern era, Green Arrow has continued to evolve and undergo various creative interpretations. Notable runs by writers such as Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer, Jeff Lemire, and Benjamin Percy have delved into Green Arrow's personal struggles, relationships, and his place in the larger DC Universe. The character's mythology expanded with the introduction of characters like Black Canary (Dinah Lance), who became Green Arrow's partner and love interest.

Final Thoughts:

Green Arrow's journey in comic books has been one of growth, transformation, and social relevance. From his humble beginnings as a Robin Hood-inspired archer to his status as a complex and multifaceted hero, Green Arrow has captured the imaginations of readers for generations. With his remarkable archery skills, passion for justice, and unwavering commitment to the underprivileged, Green Arrow has solidified his place as a beloved member of the DC Universe and a cultural icon within the realm of comic books.

Nerd Collectibles: A Guide to Building the Ultimate Geeky Collection

For many geeks, collecting nerd memorabilia and collectibles is a beloved hobby that allows them to showcase their passions and immerse themselves in the worlds they love. From comic books to action figures, posters to limited-edition items, building a collection of nerd collectibles can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help you build the ultimate geeky collection, from getting started to curating and displaying your treasures.

Also you can apply the principles below to any collection, not just Nerdy ones. Eg. I collect vintage recurve bows because I am an archery fanatic / fitness nerd. I also collect Green Arrow and Superman comic books, old Dungeons and Dragons books, Lego, Sword and Sorcery books by Robert E. Howard (and others), and various other things. Are some of these things nerdier than the others? Yes. (I also have some old Star Wars comic books from the 1980s I would like to sell...)

  1. Define Your Focus:

The first step in building a nerd collectibles collection is to define your focus. Geek culture encompasses a wide range of genres, including comics, movies, TV shows, video games, and more. Determine what specific fandoms or themes you are most passionate about, as this will guide your collecting journey. Whether you're into superheroes, Star Wars, anime, or retro gaming, having a clear focus will make it easier to curate a cohesive and meaningful collection.

  1. Research and Educate Yourself:

Once you've identified your focus, immerse yourself in the world of nerd collectibles by researching and educating yourself about the items you wish to collect. Familiarize yourself with the history, rarity, and value of different collectibles within your chosen fandoms. Join online communities, forums, and social media groups dedicated to collecting, where you can learn from experienced collectors and gain valuable insights. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you'll be to make informed decisions and avoid scams or overpaying for items.

  1. Determine Your Budget:

Collecting nerd memorabilia can be an expensive hobby, so it's essential to establish a budget that suits your financial situation. Determine how much you are willing to spend on your collection and set limits for individual items. Keep in mind that some items may appreciate in value over time, while others may not. Be mindful of your budget and collect within your means, ensuring that your collection remains a source of joy rather than financial strain.

  1. Choose Your Collectibles:

With a defined focus and budget in mind, it's time to start adding items to your collection. Nerd collectibles come in various forms, including action figures, statues, comic books, posters, trading cards, and more. Decide which types of collectibles appeal to you the most and align with your chosen fandoms. Consider collecting both new and vintage items, as each brings its own charm and value. Keep an eye out for limited-edition releases, convention exclusives, and signed items to make your collection even more unique.

  1. Organize and Display:

Organizing and displaying your collection is an important aspect of building the ultimate geeky collection. Invest in proper storage solutions like display cases, shelves, or cabinets to keep your collectibles safe and dust-free. Arrange your items in a visually appealing and thematic manner, allowing your collection to tell a story. Consider incorporating lighting, backdrop, or props to enhance the overall presentation. Regularly clean and maintain your collectibles to preserve their condition and value.

  1. Connect with Fellow Collectors:

Building a collection is not just about the items themselves; it's also about the connections you make with fellow collectors. Attend conventions, local meet-ups, or join online communities where you can interact with like-minded individuals who share your passion. Engage in discussions, share your collection, and exchange tips and experiences. Connecting with other collectors can provide valuable insights, trading opportunities, and a sense of belonging to a vibrant community.

Building a nerd collectibles collection is an exciting journey that allows you to celebrate your favorite fandoms and showcase your passions. By defining your focus, educating yourself, setting a budget, curating a thoughtful collection, and connecting with fellow collectors, you can create the ultimate geeky collection that brings joy and inspiration to your life. 

Remember, collecting is a personal endeavor, so collect what brings you happiness and tells your unique story as a fan. Happy collecting!

Who are the most popular Science Fantasy authors?

Science Fantasy is a genre that combines elements of both science fiction and fantasy, often blending futuristic or technological settings with magical or supernatural elements. Here are some of the most popular and influential science fantasy authors:

  1. Edgar Rice Burroughs: Burroughs is known for his "Barsoom" series, beginning with "A Princess of Mars," which features a blend of science fiction and fantasy elements set on the planet Mars.

  2. Michael Moorcock: Moorcock's "Eternal Champion" series, including the "Elric of Melniboné" books, often incorporates science fiction elements alongside fantasy tropes, creating a unique blend of genres.

  3. Roger Zelazny: Zelazny's "Chronicles of Amber" series combines elements of science fiction and fantasy, featuring a family of immortals who can travel through different worlds, including both technological and magical realms.

  4. Anne McCaffrey: McCaffrey's "Dragonriders of Pern" series is set on a planet colonized by humans, where dragon-riding warriors defend against a menace known as Thread. The series incorporates both science fiction and fantasy elements.

  5. Philip José Farmer: Farmer's "Riverworld" series presents a world where every human who ever lived is resurrected along the banks of a vast river, blending science fiction concepts with mythological and historical figures.

  6. Gene Wolfe: Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun" series is set in a far-future Earth where technology has become indistinguishable from magic. The series is known for its complex storytelling and blending of genres.

  7. Piers Anthony: Anthony's "Incarnations of Immortality" series explores a universe where mortals are chosen to embody various supernatural offices, including Death, Time, and War, combining fantasy elements with themes of immortality and cosmic forces.

  8. C.S. Lewis: Lewis's "Chronicles of Narnia" series features a mix of fantastical creatures and magic, combined with elements of parallel worlds and time travel, providing a blend of fantasy and science fiction elements.

  9. Jack Vance: Vance's "Dying Earth" series takes place in a far future where the sun is dying, and magic has become the dominant force. The series blends elements of science fiction, fantasy, and the post-apocalyptic.

  10. Frank Herbert: Although primarily known for his science fiction masterpiece "Dune," Herbert's work also incorporates elements of mysticism, prophecy, and psychic powers, bridging the gap between science fiction and fantasy.

The Harry Potter Series: Symbolism, Morality and Christian Fantasy


Disclaimer: We don't usually talk about religion on Nerdovore, but today we're going to make an exception... Because it involves Harry Potter. Also yes, there will be spoilers ahead.

Guest Post by Chaz G. T. Patto - July 2023.

PART ONE - Christian Symbolism in the Harry Potter Series: Debunking Misconceptions and Celebrating Themes of Faith

The Harry Potter series, authored by J.K. Rowling, has captivated readers worldwide with its magical world of wizards, witches, and fantastic adventures. While the books and movies have garnered immense popularity, they have also faced criticism from some Christian communities who consider the series anti-Christian. However, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that the Harry Potter series is, in fact, rife with Christian symbolism and themes that promote essential Christian values. This essay explores the Christian symbolism embedded in the series and highlights how it fosters, rather than opposes, a pro-Christian perspective.

  1. The Triumph of Love Over Evil:

One of the central themes in the Harry Potter series is the triumph of love over evil. This concept aligns directly with Christian teachings, emphasizing the significance of love and compassion as potent weapons against darkness and sin. Throughout the narrative, Harry Potter's unwavering love for his friends, family, and the greater good echoes the Christian virtue of self-sacrifice, mirroring the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ for humanity.

  1. The Power of Sacrifice and Redemption:

The character of Harry Potter himself embodies Christian symbolism through the themes of sacrifice and redemption. His willingness to sacrifice his own life to save others draws parallels to the sacrificial nature of Christ's crucifixion, emphasizing the transformative power of selflessness and redemption in the face of adversity.

  1. The Christ-Like Figure of Harry Potter:

Harry Potter can be interpreted as a Christ-like figure in the series. His journey mirrors Jesus Christ's mission, as he embraces the burden of the prophecy to save the wizarding world, just as Christ embraced his divine mission to save humanity. Furthermore, Harry's resurrection after facing death in the Forbidden Forest reflects the Christian belief in the resurrection of Christ, showcasing themes of hope and eternal life.

  1. The Concept of Free Will:

Christianity places a significant emphasis on free will and the choices individuals make in their lives. In the Harry Potter series, characters' decisions often shape their destiny, illustrating the importance of free will and personal responsibility, which aligns with Christian teachings about the consequences of one's actions.

  1. Themes of Forgiveness and Redemption:

The series is replete with instances of forgiveness and redemption, portraying the Christian values of compassion and the potential for transformation even in the darkest of hearts. Severus Snape's redemption arc, despite his past mistakes, exemplifies the Christian idea of seeking forgiveness and finding redemption through love and atonement.

  1. The Power of Faith:

Faith is another central tenet of Christianity, and the Harry Potter series acknowledges the significance of believing in something greater than oneself. Characters like Dumbledore demonstrate unwavering faith in the face of adversity, promoting the idea that trust and belief are essential components of spiritual growth and resilience.

The Harry Potter series is far from being anti-Christian; rather, it is deeply steeped in Christian symbolism and themes that celebrate love, sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness, and faith. By exploring these elements, readers can gain a more profound appreciation for the intricate layers of meaning within the narrative. The series serves as a testament to the universal appeal of timeless Christian values and their ability to resonate with people from all walks of life, irrespective of religious backgrounds. Embracing the rich tapestry of Christian symbolism within the Harry Potter series can foster a more inclusive understanding of the power of literature to convey profound spiritual lessons and moral insights.

PART TWO - The Transformative Influence of Harry Potter: Fostering Morals and Ethical Values in a Generation

The Harry Potter series, written by J.K. Rowling, has undeniably left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers and moviegoers. Through the combined mediums of books and films, Harry Potter has not only enchanted the world with its magical escapades but has also infused its audience with strong morals and ethical values. This essay explores how the wizarding world of Harry Potter has positively influenced a generation, shaping their perspectives on bravery, friendship, loyalty, empathy, and the fight against injustice.

  1. The Power of Bravery:

One of the most prominent moral lessons that resonate throughout the series is the importance of bravery. Harry and his friends consistently face daunting challenges, and their courage in standing up against evil and injustice teaches readers the value of facing one's fears, even in the darkest of times. This emphasis on bravery has inspired a generation to confront adversity head-on and strive to make a positive impact in their own lives and communities.

  1. The Strength of Friendship and Loyalty:

Friendship plays a crucial role in the Harry Potter series, exemplified by the unwavering loyalty and support among the central characters. The bond shared between Harry, Ron, and Hermione demonstrates the significance of genuine friendship and loyalty, inspiring readers to cherish and nurture meaningful relationships in their own lives.

  1. The Embrace of Diversity and Inclusion:

In the wizarding world, characters of various backgrounds, races, and species coexist, showcasing the beauty of diversity and the importance of acceptance. The series addresses themes of discrimination and prejudice, encouraging readers to challenge societal biases and promote inclusivity and understanding.

  1. The Value of Empathy and Compassion:

Throughout the narrative, characters display empathy and compassion, understanding the struggles and emotions of others. Readers learn the importance of empathy in forging meaningful connections and in making a positive impact on the lives of those around them.

  1. The Fight Against Injustice:

Harry Potter's quest to defeat Lord Voldemort is essentially a fight against injustice and the abuse of power. The series inspires readers to stand up against injustice and champion what is right, even if the odds seem insurmountable. This theme encourages a generation to be proactive in addressing societal issues and advocating for positive change.

  1. Lessons in Perseverance and Resilience:

The challenges Harry and his friends face are numerous and formidable, but they persistently demonstrate perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. This lesson encourages readers to persevere through their own challenges, knowing that determination and resilience can lead to triumph.

The combined mediums of books and films in the Harry Potter series have proven to be a transformative force in shaping the moral compass of an entire generation. From the wizarding world of Hogwarts, readers and viewers have imbibed powerful lessons on bravery, friendship, loyalty, empathy, inclusivity, and the fight against injustice. J.K. Rowling's masterful storytelling has given rise to characters and narratives that resonate with readers on a deeply personal level, fostering a connection that extends beyond the pages or screens.

Harry Potter's influence lies not only in its magical enchantment but also in its ability to instill strong morals and ethical values in its audience. As this generation of Harry Potter fans grows and takes its place in the world, the impact of these moral lessons will continue to shape their actions, decisions, and interactions, ultimately contributing to a more compassionate, empathetic, and just society. The wizarding world of Harry Potter will forever be cherished for its remarkable ability to inspire and empower its readers to be the heroes of their own stories, advocating for the greater good and upholding the principles of love, courage, and resilience.

PART THREE - Embracing Christian Fantasy Amidst Misplaced Concerns

The Harry Potter series, authored by J.K. Rowling, has been the subject of controversy among certain Christian communities due to its portrayal of magic. Some argue that the presence of magic in the books and films is incompatible with Christian beliefs. However, a closer examination of the series reveals that Harry Potter can be seen as a "Christian Fantasy" that incorporates profound Christian themes and values. This essay explores the Christian elements present in the Harry Potter series and argues that Christians' concerns about magic are misplaced, as the story ultimately aligns with Christian principles.

  1. Themes of Good vs. Evil:

At the core of the Harry Potter series lies the battle between good and evil. This theme resonates strongly with Christianity, where the struggle against darkness and the pursuit of righteousness are central tenets. The portrayal of Voldemort as the embodiment of evil and Harry's journey to counter him echoes the Christian belief in the battle between God and Satan, emphasizing the importance of choosing goodness over wickedness.

  1. Sacrifice and Redemption:

The theme of sacrifice and redemption runs deep in the series. Harry's willingness to lay down his life for others, mirroring Christ's sacrificial act, highlights the Christian value of selflessness. Additionally, characters like Snape and Draco Malfoy demonstrate redemption arcs, underscoring the Christian belief in the potential for redemption and forgiveness, no matter one's past actions.

  1. Love as the Ultimate Power:

Love is a prevailing theme in both Christianity and the Harry Potter series. The idea that love is the most potent force is evident throughout the narrative. Harry's mother's sacrificial love protecting him from Voldemort's curse and the importance of friendship and loyalty exemplify Christian values of compassion and connection.

  1. Themes of Forgiveness and Mercy:

Forgiveness is a recurring motif in the series. The characters' ability to forgive and seek forgiveness reflects the Christian principles of mercy and grace. The narrative emphasizes the importance of showing compassion to even the most flawed individuals, promoting the Christian idea of treating others with kindness and understanding.

  1. Triumph of Hope over Despair:

The series encourages the triumph of hope over despair, which is central to Christianity. Harry's resilience and determination to overcome challenges and protect his loved ones mirror the Christian belief in hope as an anchor during difficult times. This theme underscores the importance of maintaining faith and optimism, even in the face of adversity.

The concerns raised by some Christians about the presence of magic in the Harry Potter series are misplaced, as the narrative inherently aligns with Christian principles, making it a "Christian Fantasy" rather than an anti-Christian work. The themes of good vs. evil, sacrifice and redemption, love as the ultimate power, forgiveness and mercy, and the triumph of hope over despair are woven throughout the books and films, reflecting the core values of Christianity.

J.K. Rowling's wizarding world not only captures the imagination but also imparts essential moral and ethical lessons that resonate with Christian teachings. By celebrating the triumph of good over evil, promoting love, compassion, and forgiveness, and reinforcing the importance of hope and resilience, the Harry Potter series showcases the universal values shared by various belief systems, including Christianity.

In this light, the Harry Potter series serves as a testament to the power of storytelling to transcend perceived barriers and unite readers under a common appreciation for fundamental human values. Rather than dismissing the series based on its magical elements, Christians can find inspiration and enrichment in the Christian themes that permeate the narrative, making the Harry Potter series a remarkable and meaningful contribution to the world of literature and Christian Fantasy.

The Science of Sci-Fi: Examining Scientific Accuracy in Nerd Entertainment

Science fiction (sci-fi) has captured the imaginations of nerds and enthusiasts around the world, offering thrilling adventures, futuristic technologies, and mind-bending concepts. While the primary purpose of sci-fi is to entertain and inspire, many fans also appreciate the incorporation of scientific elements into these fictional worlds. In this blog post, we delve into the science of sci-fi, exploring the balance between creativity and scientific accuracy in nerd entertainment.

The Role of Science in Sci-Fi:

Science fiction often presents a vision of the future where scientific advancements drive the plot, shape the setting, and define the rules of the fictional world. From interstellar travel to time travel, from cloning to artificial intelligence, sci-fi explores the possibilities of scientific discoveries and their impact on society. While these concepts are imaginative and speculative, they often rely on scientific principles as a foundation.

Striving for Scientific Accuracy:

Many sci-fi creators and fans appreciate scientific accuracy in their favorite stories. They value the inclusion of real scientific theories, concepts, and plausible explanations to ground the narrative and enhance the sense of believability. Attention to scientific detail can deepen the immersive experience, making the fictional world feel more authentic and intellectually stimulating.

Balancing Scientific Accuracy and Creative Freedom:

Sci-fi is ultimately a work of fiction, allowing creators the freedom to stretch scientific boundaries and explore imaginative concepts. However, finding the right balance between scientific accuracy and creative freedom can be challenging. While some works prioritize scientific rigor and meticulously research scientific concepts, others prioritize storytelling and may take artistic liberties with scientific principles.

The Role of Scientific Consultants:

To ensure a level of scientific accuracy, many sci-fi productions consult with scientific experts and advisors. These consultants provide insights, validate scientific concepts, and offer suggestions to make the fictional elements more plausible. Their expertise helps bridge the gap between scientific reality and the fantastical elements of the story.

Inspiring Scientific Interest and Innovation:

Sci-fi has a unique power to inspire and ignite curiosity about real-world science. Many scientists and researchers credit science fiction as the initial spark that led them to pursue careers in scientific fields. By portraying imaginative technologies and futuristic concepts, sci-fi encourages viewers and readers to ponder the possibilities and think critically about scientific advancements.

The Evolution of Scientific Accuracy in Sci-Fi:

Over time, the approach to scientific accuracy in sci-fi has evolved. Early works may have focused more on the imaginative aspects of storytelling, while modern sci-fi often incorporates more scientific realism. Advances in scientific knowledge and the availability of information have made it easier for creators to research and integrate accurate scientific concepts into their narratives.

Exploring Ethical and Societal Implications:

Beyond scientific accuracy, sci-fi also delves into the ethical and societal implications of scientific advancements. It raises thought-provoking questions about the impact of technology on humanity, the boundaries of scientific exploration, and the responsibility that comes with scientific progress. These discussions contribute to the ongoing dialogue between science and society.


The science of sci-fi is a fascinating intersection of imagination, scientific accuracy, and creative storytelling. While the primary purpose of sci-fi is to entertain, the inclusion of scientific elements adds depth and intrigue to these fictional worlds. The balance between scientific accuracy and creative freedom allows for the exploration of captivating concepts while inspiring scientific interest and sparking important conversations about the future of humanity and the wonders of scientific discovery. So, grab your favorite sci-fi novel or movie and let your imagination soar while appreciating the scientific foundations that underpin these captivating tales.

Fantasy Beta Reading, Proof Reading & Copy Editing

I was recently on the website of a British writer who also does Beta Reading, Proof Reading and Copy Editing work... and her prices were dirt cheap. Less than minimum wage for the amount of time they required, since she was charging on a per word basis and apparently not paying herself a fair wage.

Meanwhile I typically charge $35 CDN per hour for my editing services. (Roughly $27 USD with the current exchange rate.) For my day job I get paid way more than that, between $40 to $100 per hour.

But enough about that, what bothered me is that she was evidently so desperate for money that she was willing to do Beta Reading, Proof Reading and Copy Editing for such ridiculously low prices. Starving artist? Maybe.

So maybe you are wondering what is the difference between a Beta Reader and a Proof Reader? And while we are at it, Copy Editor.

Beta Reader

"A beta reader is usually an unpaid test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing, who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author. A beta reader is not a professional and can therefore provide advice and comments in the opinions of an average reader."

Usually. Not always. If you are paying the Beta Reader they are effectively a "Professional Beta Reader".

Proof Reader

"A proof reader is typically someone who reads of a draft of a text for publication to detect and correct production errors with respect to typeset, spacing, formatting errors, and making sure the document follows the correct style guide.

Copy Editor

"A copy editor edits a document for spelling and grammar mistakes, but also  to improve accuracy, readability, consistency, repetition, and also checks for production errors / omissions with respect to style guide, typeset, etc."

Of these three things, I admit the only thing I would want to be doing is Copy Editor. Beta Reader and Proof Reader just feel too boring to me and my perfectionism would be screaming at me to correct all the spelling and grammar mistakes. It isn't OCD, not yet at least, but it does cause me physical pain to my brain if I am reading things that have poor spelling and grammar.

Giving feedback on a book I could certainly do too, but I think I would want to combine the roles of Beta Reader and Copy Editor together. Get both done at the same time.

My impressions of the industry however is that many of these Beta Readers and Copy Editors are being too competitive with their prices and not even paying themselves a minimum wage. Also because some of them are charging on a per word basis (instead of charging per hour and providing an estimate of the time requirement/cost based upon editing a sample of the author's work), for documents that could be full of errors and take considerably more time than editing something that has very few errors.

Even so, even if the document had zero errors, the time required to read it alone means that a Beta Reader should be getting paid a reasonable amount.

Note however that the definition said "A beta reader is usually an unpaid test reader".  Literally unpaid.

Now maybe if two authors exchanged chapters of similar length, read them, and gave their thoughts, then that would be an equitable situation.

If I was asking a stranger to be a beta reader I would want to be paying them for their time (and get them to sign a NDA if possible).

I suspect however that in the future beta readers/proof readers could become obsolete. With AI getting smarter it could also be used to edit and provide creative feedback on the text.

Miior and Estrel 2nd Edition Stats

Miior and Estrel are henchmen that the PCs can gain when playing "The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar", a classic Dungeons and Dragons adventure module created by Ed Greenwood. I have run the module twice so far and I am a firm believer that I will do so again.

Because one of the times I ran "The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" I modded it so it was set in Korovia I also created detailed stats for the two characters for that campaign since they both became henchmen. Those stats are now effectively canonical with respect to my Korovia Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Thus for record keeping purposes I have decided to create an online backup of those stats, in case I ever need their stats for a future campaign and don't have access to my laptop at the time.

The stats below are therefore essentially for my personal use, and they make use of various house rules from my campaign. Eg. Like how I convert THAC0 into a bonus to hit because many younger players have difficulty understanding how THAC0 works, and also the matter of "Bonus Skills" on very specific esoteric topics. I also use Comeliness, an outdated stat that is rarely used by DMs any more, but I find it adds an enjoyable alternative to Charisma which has valuable roleplaying potential.

Note also that I have kept the original basic stats as set down by Ed Greenwood in the 2nd Edition module.

As a DM I find henchmen to be exceptionally useful for roleplaying purposes, but also as backup characters that the players can play in the event that their PC is knocked unconscious, captured, dead, etc. See also:

Henchemen stealing the glory? Or just supporting cast?

The rarely used Henchman in Dungeons and Dragons games

Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

Study Archery in Toronto

So you want to study archery, but you are having difficulty finding an archery instructor who is local. However there is a solution. If you are willing to travel you can take a crash course in archery in Toronto, Canada. 10 lessons over a two week period will take you from archery novice to an experienced and capable archer.

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