All the Podcasts…

Over the last two months, I’ve been on three podcasts talking about writing, mad science, and my book, Devil in the Microscope. In case you missed them, here are the links. Thanks to all of the hosts for being awesome and for listening to me ramble about stuff that I love. I had fun at each one.

 

Dungeon Crawlers Radio

I talked with the awesome DCR crew about the choices I made writing Devil in the Microscope, including why I chose a teen girl as a protagonist, why my story takes place in Florida, and why I chose mad science as a backdrop. They had excellent questions and were entertaining.

http://www.dungeoncrawlersradio.com/episodes/episode-the-devil-in-the-microscope

 

StoryHack Podcast

Bryce and I had a great conversation about all the fun stuff I love: board games, mad scientists, writing, and my book. Bryce is also a writer and runs the StoryHack magazine. Check it out.

StoryHack Podcast: Interview with Ryan Decaria

Writescast

r. r. campbell has a great voice and a excellent format in his podcast. He grilled me on my mad science and science fiction in general. We discussed whether the science in science fiction needed to be realistic and accurate or whether it is better to treat it like magic.

Writescast 018 – Mad Science in Science Fiction with Ryan Decaria


And if you not sick of listening to my sultry voice, you can also head over to Meeple Nation to listen to me gush about all the awesome board game action.

Meeple Nation

May I recommend episode 177. We talk about mechanics and themes that we are suckers for in a board game.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/meeple-nation/id884682903

Was Doctor Poison a Great Mad Scientist?

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I loved the Wonder Woman movie. It was nearly perfect for the level of entertainment it provided me. I loved Chris Pine and the talented supporting cast, especially Lucy Davis as Etta. But ultimately, the movie had to sink or swim based on Gal Gadot, and she was amazing at every moment. The villains were great as well, for the most part.

Image result for etta candy wonder woman movie gifs

The one thing that didn’t impress me was the mad scientist, Doctor Poison. In spite of a nickname too on the nose, Isabel Maru had a classic mad scientist look with an implied tragic back story. She could have been great, but in the end, the writer’s failed her.

 

Spoiler Warning: I’m going to spoil some stuff.


Isabel was a Spanish chemist recruited by General Erich Ludendorff to create chemical weapons for the German army. At first she seemed a master of her own fate, creating the evil of her heart. We soon see her as a lapdog to the General, at the mercy to his will and whim. Even worse, we find out that she hadn’t even developed the poison of her own doing, instead having the menace spoon fed to her by Ares. To top it all off, she seems almost swayed by Chris Pine’s charming face and perfect accent, making her seem a foolish girl instead of the powerhouse she could have been.

She served the greater plot, which is the fate of most supporting villains, which is unfortunate in a movie celebrating woman power it all its marvelous glory. Still worse is her fate at the end, a pawn in Ares’ plan to tempt Diana. He gives Diana a chance to kill Isable for her crimes. Diana of course has pity on the good doctor, realizing that killing isn’t the answer, but love and sacrifice for others is what will heal the world and end the war.

 

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So, in the end, Isabel is a mere pawn in a game of immortals, which was highly disappointing to me. She had agency to act on Ares’ whispering, which made her an evil person. She did horrible things, murdering countless people. She should have had agency in her demise, for good or evil, instead of being a plot point in the conflict of the hero and villain.

A slight blemish in a fantastic film.

 

It’s alive. It’s alive!

Devil in the Microscope is alive and out into the world. I hope you have as much fun following Anika’s science fantasy adventures as I did when writing it.

 

Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35718498-devil-in-the-microscope#other_reviews

Here’s a highlight:

Buy the Kindle version on Amazon right now. The print copy will go up for sale in a few days.

Thanks to Immortal Works for believing in my creation, and to everyone who helped in the process of bringing my book to live.

I hope you like it.

via GIPHY

Legion on FX is my Newest Obsession!

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My new obsession is Legion on F/X. This is a Marvel/X-men TV show disguised as a quirky love story/psycho-drama. Much of the show takes place in the main characters extremely unreliable memory, which makes for some delicious and creepy moments as the imagery that has haunted him since he was a child become more and more real for everyone.

Plus, who could resist Rachel Keller as Syd Barrett?

This show also has a mad scientist, or two or three, depending on how you look at it.

Bill Irwin plays the scientist Cary Loudermilk, flipping archaic computer knobs and switches as he studies mutant powers.

Legion is exploring the fine line between supernatural (mutant power) and mental illness, and not just in the lead characters. The scientist has his own personal demons that I think is fascinating. Saying these characters had traumatic childhoods is an understatement.

The acting is top notch, especially Dan Stevens, who plays David Heller, our hero. His twitchy and troubled performance is brilliant.

My favorite scene so far is when David is speaking with his psychiatrist and the closet door is slowly creaking open. Such a tense scene.

Plus, this show offers us kooky Aubrey Plaza and Jemaine Clement.

The show is brilliant. Trust me.

The Mad Science and Friendship of Stranger Things

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Stranger Things by the Duffer Brothers and Netflix is simply fantastic storytelling. Sure, the 80s nostalgia and ode to 80s cinema are prevalent and entertaining, but the heart and soul of this show is rooted in the familiar human experience, just as poignant today as it was back then. The kids in Stranger Things explore what it truly means to be friends, and then the show challenges those assumptions again and again as the threat level rises.
Stranger Things
Spoiler Warning from here on out…
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The mad science of this show is the backdrop. The mysterious girl, Eleven, played brilliantly by Millie Bobby Brown, escapes from the governmental science facility the same time that the monster invades the town. We find out through the episodes that the experiments have been going on since before 11 was born. The scientist raised her to be a weapon and pushed her to extremes, even encouraging her to attempt to communicate with the monster.

In 11’s world, she has no friends. Among the scientist and assistants she lives around, only one man is someone she calls family. The father figure she calls papa is perhaps worse than the monster itself. His ruthless drive to uncover the scientific mysteries mirrors the monster’s purely instinctive need to feed.

Even eleven realizes that the monster is just being true to itself when she confesses to Mike that she is the monster because her power and lack of control caused the incident in the first place. Mike rejects her proposition, insisting that she isn’t the monster, but is trying to protect them from the bad guys.
Mathew Modine play the mad scientist with a very blank personality, despite his mad scientist hair. His drive and carelessness for 11’s life and the lives of the townsfolk and underlings is clear megalomania inspired by Frankenstein and Moreau. His creation is 11, a force he cannot control. The monster was unleashed because he cared more about the experiment than the girl that called him papa. When he loses control of 11 and the monster, his become reckless. He even loses his life to his work. That’s some classic consequences of mad scienting. Textbook, but effective.
Stranger-Things-Season-2-Pic
Perhaps his most cruel act, though, was using 11’s need for family and friends, and his role as her surrogate father, to control her and push her into violent and disturbing acts.
We see through all the other characters that defeating the monster is only accomplished by relying on friends. Mike, Lucas, Dustin and 11 all need each other to survive. Jonathan and Nancy try to fight alone, but are only able to succeed together, with Steve growing up at the end in time to help. Even the stubborn soloist, Hopper, finally teams up with Joyce at the end. Friendship is the driving force in Stranger Things, and it is fabulous.
Friendship
This show transcends the 80’s nostalgia and movie references that it is built upon by telling a great story. I can’t wait for season 2.