Science Fiction Books vs. Movies

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It’s ironic that I write science fiction books as an adult considering I didn’t even read science fiction books as a child. Actually, I didn’t read any books at all, other than those assigned in school—which, aside from Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, were never science fiction. I loved sci-fi movies as a child and was captivated by space exploration and future technology, but I struggled with books about those same topics. It wasn’t until later in life, post-college, that I really started to enjoy reading (books in general and science fiction in particular). Continue reading

Is My Idea a Short Story or Novel?

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One common question among writers (or would-be writers) in the initial phase of a project is: How do you know if an idea is a short story or a novel? I think the answer is that you should plan for every idea to be a short story. Try to make everything you write as short as it can possibly be without losing anything essential. Continue reading

The Purpose of Stories

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One night when I was in college, a group of friends were thinking about going to a movie, and someone said, “No, I don’t want to go to a movie where you have to think.” It bothered me that someone could ever feel that way. I thought those were the best types of movies. What’s the point of watching a movie if it doesn’t make you think?

I was reminiscing about that night from college recently while contemplating the purpose of stories. They’ve been around for the entirety of human history. Storytelling is what makes humans human; it’s what separates us from other species. No other animal can tell stories to each other and pass on wisdom and knowledge through language. Continue reading

Story Addict: A Collection of 27 Short Stories

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Hi, my name is TZ Barry, and I’m a story addict…

Story Addict is a collection of 27 short stories written between 2010 and 2018, spanning a variety of genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, thriller, literary, magical realism, dark humor, and satire. There’s time travel, telepathy, parallel universes, aliens, robots, artificial intelligence, hackers, spies, invisibility, dinosaurs, wizards, talking jellyfish, and more. The lengths of the stories vary from 300 words to over 6,000 (60,000 words in total). Eight of the stories have been previously published while nineteen are new to this collection. The stories are not connected and can be read in any order. Continue reading

Why are Blockbuster Movies Getting Worse?

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Why are blockbusters getting worse? Short answer: Money.

Long answer: Blockbuster franchise movies have become such a cash cow that the corporations who own the major studios are relying on these billion-dollar movies as a primary source of revenue. The studios operate at the whim of the corporation’s board and shareholders, so they become risk-averse and reject any new or creative ideas because they don’t know if it will succeed or fail. Continue reading

Why People Love Post-Apocalyptic Stories

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Whether it’s zombie outbreaks, nuclear wastelands, or climate change, people love post-apocalyptic stories. Examples include books like The Road and A Canticle for Leibowitz, TV shows like The Walking Dead and Jericho, video games like Fallout and The Last of Us, comics like Y: The Last Man, and movies like Mad Max, I am Legend, World War ZBook of Eli, and The Postman. The causes and effects differ, but what these stories share is the setting of a world after civilization has fallen, with people living in brutal conditions where everyday survival is a struggle. The themes are dark and dour, yet these stories are extremely popular. The question is: why are people so drawn to post-apocalyptic stories? Continue reading

Siddhartha and Social Anxiety

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Siddhartha is a 1922 novel by Hermann Hesse, and while it is not directly about social anxiety, it is about mindfulness and meditation—the tools that helped me with social anxiety. In the book, Siddhartha, a character from the time of Gautama Buddha, goes on a spiritual journey, eventually coming to self-realizations that helped him overcome his suffering in life, much in the same way I did. Through select quotes from the text, I will explain how Siddhartha’s journey related to my own journey overcoming social anxiety. Continue reading