Petra Mayer (NPR) recently joined authors Paolo Bacigalupi (Tool of War), Amy S. Foster (The Rift Frequency), Lauren Oliver (Ringer), Scott Reintgen (Nyxia), and D. Nolan Clark (Forsaken Skies) at New York City Comic Con to discuss what inspires them to write dystopian fiction.

From George Orwell’s 1984 to Veronica Roth’s Divergent, readers can’t get enough of dystopian fiction. Dystopia, loosely translated, is utopia gone wrong. At NYCC the assembled panelists took turns answering questions about what dystopia reveals about ourselves and what it might say about our future.

Photo by Annie Spratt:

Patient centered health care.

Freedom of choice.

Freedom from government intrusion.

These are great soundbites.

These soundbites have benefitted Republicans over the last seven years, but the reality is much different. Our health care cannot be explained, described, or fixed in soundbites. A choice between safeguarding health or not, hardly seems like a choice at all. There are those in Washington D.C. who want you to believe that it is not only a choice but central to your freedom as an American citizen.

The choice to forgo or obtain minimal health care coverage is no luxury. It’s no realization of…

A scene from Jessica Jones. A word of caution, if you haven’t finished Season 1 yet you may not want to read this as there may be some minor plot spoilers may lie ahead.

Jessica Jones spends a lot of time trying to convince others, especially herself, that she’s strong enough. The audience understands early on that Jones, played by Krysten Ritter, feels confident in her physical strength. Jones relies on this strength to take over when her mental strength falters. When Jessica becomes aware that her nemesis Kilgrave (played by David Tennant) has returned, her powerful legs carry her fast and far as she weaves through the streets of New York — running from a truth she doesn’t want to be real.

I desire physical strength. I always have. On occasion I’ll try…

Exactly one year ago, I received the worst phone call of my life. My mom was dead.

Over the past twelve months I have been astonished at the clarity with which I can still hear my twin say those words to me over the phone.

A moment later, I’ll replay my older sister’s voice screaming, “I knew something was wrong! Why didn’t we do anything? Why? What are we going to do?”

We did what most families do during times of loss, we came together.

Flying Home

I realized very quickly that I was going to have to physically pick-up the phone…

aka The Weirdest Thing That Ever Happened to Me

When you think about teenage girls you probably don’t think of the 2003 cinematic thriller, The Life of David Gale.

Should you be unfamiliar with the premise of the movie, here is the trailer for a reminder.

I was going through a big capital punishment phase in my life and feeling particularly self-righteous about it, so The Life of David Gale really came out at the perfect time for me. I wanted the first rated-R movie I saw to be a real whopper, something my parents would see.

My friends swung by to pick me up around 8:20 p.m. Before…

Header via Flickr

A lot of people become vegetarians for altruistic reasons. Some have compelling moral objections or dietary concerns. Me… well, I lied my way into vegetarianism.

I went to college at a small liberal arts institution about 30 miles outside Chicago. Each student was assigned an advisor. Our advisors were often the same people we had as professors, so they usually knew us well.

Doc* was his name — everyone called him that. He liked to tell his advisees that it was up to them to make the most of their sessions. …

The Tech Bros Guide to Selling Water

I work remotely and everyday at around 1:00 p.m. I usually decide I can’t stand the sound of my own thoughts and I venture out of my apartment to one of the various coffee shops in Palo Alto to drown my sorrows in obscenely large caffeinated beverages.

I walked to the cafe, ordered my Americano and settled myself down at the end of one of the larger communal tables. This particular coffee shop has two large community tables flanked by ten or so smaller tables. …

Who wants to see a picture of my cat?

Finding a balance between having too much and not enough

To be completely honest with you, I’m afraid of confidence.

I am petrified of having either too much of it or too little, so I always err on the side of too little. I call this the state of being “miserably comfortable.”

Too much confidence has led me to make some fairly bad choices, like never proof-reading schoolwork. This would explain why at the end of most of papers were comments like: “Andrea, did you even read over this?! Please see me!

I don’t know how to walk that fine line between having too much confidence and having…

Hello Human/Machine,

This is a cover letter, which I am obligated to write as part of the application process for your company. No one will read this.

My name is Andrea and I’m applying to do some menial tasks at your company.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been dreaming of the day that I could perform mindless tasks at one job until I find another job that requires me to do slightly fewer mindless tasks. All this, in the hopes that one day I may have virtually no mindless tasks at all.

I’m slightly paranoid, in that I…

Andrea Ayres

Comics. Video games. Culture.

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