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Sophia McDougall has very good things to say in New Statesman about why she hates Strong Female Characters. I tried to find a quote to read in isolation, but you should probably read the whole thing now.

Omni Reboot has some super old-school and rare Dune illustrations.

That link was via io9, which also had a very interesting article on whether or not villains should have to commit taboo acts for us to hate them:

“Do villains need to rape, torture or mutilate people for us to hate them? Or maybe the reverse is true: Sometimes we can invest more in a villain, if his or her evildoing is creative and leaves more to our imaginations. Sometimes with villains, brutality is the lesser path. Here’s our plea for more subtle monsters.”

Indeed. The over-the-top nature of some villains can be done well, but for the most part it does indeed feel lazy on behalf of the author. That is unless you’re trying to get the reader to like a psychopath, but even then, beware of the dodgy shorthand.

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.