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Secrets of Story Episode 33: How Do Today’s “Nice” Shows Change The Rules?

October 29, 2021

More great reviews for Dare to Know keep rolling in! The Financial Times put it on their “Best In New Science Fiction, October 2021” list, calling it “an entertainingly mind-bending read.” But it’s not just the big-time newspapers that are getting behind Dare to Know—I’m finding astute and perceptive reviews cropping up on personal blogs too, like when The FanFiAddict Blog wrote, “You get something entirely different to what the blurb promises, but in the best possible way… I won’t spoil anything but those last 60 pages are truly pulse-pounding. Kennedy grabs you and just runs, his sentences become snappy, what should be leaps in logic make perfect sense and my god I loved it. This is spec fic at its finest. If you love a story that starts weird and gets WEIRD, this is for you.” Thank you!

Now folks, you don’t have any excuse, go buy Dare to Know!

In other news, Matt Bird and I have a new episode up of our Secrets Of Story podcast:

What is it about? Well, four years ago, way back in Episode 4, I was was bemoaning how most of the “Golden Age of TV” shows, like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and so on, had a similarly dour worldview: that the world is a relentless place consisting of the dominators and the dominated, that you’re a sucker to place your faith in other people’s better nature, etc. I predicted that the worm would turn, and that soon we would start getting shows that were more hopeful: stories in which people cooperate, and want the best for each other, in which villains can be redeemed, in which there is something in human interaction that is beyond rituals of domination and submission.

Well, I nailed it, didn’t I? Whether it’s Ted Lasso or Schitt’s Creek or Stephen Universe or She-Ra, the cultural mood has certainly shifted. But here’s the problem: most of Matt’s storytelling rules were forged in the smithy of that previous era. Which of those storytelling rules might feel misguided now? And what are some of the characteristics, strengths, and even weaknesses of today’s “nice” shows?

Matt posts about the episode here, and I imagine there might be a discussion there too.

See you later—gotta get ready for Halloween!