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In the late 1970s, the surging popularity of both J. R. R. Tolkien and Dungeons & Dragons fueled an increased appetite in fantasy novels. Publishers scrambled to meet this demand, buying up a number of derivative stories that congealed into Tolkien and D&D pastiche. This increasingly self-referencing sub-genre of fantasy was derided as “extruded fantasy […]

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, isekai and light novel fans. A salaryman burnout works themselves to death at their desk. As they enter the afterlife, a kind deity takes pity on them, and offers a chance to have a second life in an MMO-inspired world– This time, it’s different, I swear. This time the burnout’s […]

When perennial loser and MMO junkie Kazuma Satou dies trying to save a girl from a runaway tractor, he finds himself in the waiting room of heaven, where, after a goddess roasts him for being an idiot, she gives him a choice. Kazuma can enter heaven, or take a continue in an MMO-inspired world as […]

When we left Valerian and Laureline at the end of Wrath of Hypsis, Earth, Galaxity, and most of the human race vanished in a space-time paradox. Valerian and Laureline still wander the galaxy, thanks to a favor called in to the Hypsis “gods”, but they no longer have the backing or the money of humanity’s […]

After pulp fiction died out in the United States, other countries continued the tradition of publishing cheap and entertaining stories of adventure. In France, the pulp spirit contributed to bande dessinée comics such as Valerian and Laureline. Japan married the manga art style to pulp adventures aimed at adolescents and created the light novel. In China, pulp-style […]

Last month’s review of Ambassador of the Shadows introduced the BD comic of Valerian and Laureline, a legendary science fiction adventure with a forty-five year run. Influencing visual science fiction such as Star Wars, The Fifth Element, and various anime, in summer 2017, this classic tale will arrive on the silver screen in Valerian and the […]

In the 1960s, while working in America, writer Pierre Christin and illustrator Jean-Claude Mézières met to collaborate on their next bande dessinée (BD) comic serial. Both men originally wanted to draw a Western, but the market in France had already been saturated with such stories. Instead, they turned to their other great American literary love, science fiction, […]

In the wake of the Death Star’s destruction in 1977, a renewed hunger for space opera swept across not just the United States, but the entire world. In Japan, this demand was met by such classics as Mobile Suit Gundam and Super Dimension Fortress Macross, as well as a slew of imitators. But the crown […]

Spend enough time with anime, manga, or JRPG video games, and you’ll encounter the seven secrets of the school, a set of mysteries used to awe transfer students. Upon further investigation, each of these secrets is usually revealed to be nothing more than an exaggerated rumor or a strange trick of sound and light. But […]

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