October 23, 2017


(Revised 03/09/2024)

I know what you're thinking...Gordon, why are you including something that looks so....academic? And what's the deal with calling it "Where Stories Come From" because they're scholarly papers?

My answer: my blog, my rules. 

I can't talk about my two essays in Time Lords & Tribbles, Winchesters, and Muggles without talking about Paul Booth. Paul and I met at Chicago TARDIS during 2012 (At least, I think it was 2012...either my memory is failing or I drank too much tequila last night) Having run a full-day conference focusing on Doctor Who earlier that year, Paul and I hit it off...of course, what he didn't know at the time was that my father was an alumnus of DePaul University.

(After 2013, I had received marketing certification from DePaul. Small world).

My involvement with DePaul's Pop Culture Conference continued - I sat on a panel on problematic tropes in Joss Whedon's work for Chicago Nerd Social Club, and the third year I sat on a panel on pulp themes in Supernatural. (To prep, I binge-watched eight out of ten seasons of Supernatural...which is seven seasons too many). My last Pop Culture Conference was three years ago, focusing on Star Trek (and running a panel on Deep Space Nine). 

When Paul requested papers for the Time Lords & Tribbles, Winchesters and Muggles collection, my first idea was obvious - a reexamination of Sisko as Star Trek captain. Unlike Kirk or Picard, Sisko was a realist who found himself making ethically challenging decisions in a very murky situation. (Plus, I think Avery Brooks is a very underrated actor). Plus, I already had my notes from the panel (assembled because I had also moderated a screening of Deep Space Nine's Trials and Tribble-ations), so it was easy for me to add that article to my (then) 2017 writing docket...

But then, as things like this tend to happen, Paul needed more articles, and I thought, "OK, there's no way I'm going to write about Supernatural...but do I have notes from the Joss Whedon celebration?"

Short answer: I didn't, but I had come across an old blog post claiming that Serenity/Firefly was better than Star Trek....and then an old idea came to mind.

In that post, I stated that "...Mal Reynolds probably shares more with Raymond Chandler's heroes than Louis L'Amour", and the idea popped in my head: comparing Mal Reynolds (as a character) to Raymond Chandler's "knight errant" as outlined in his essay The Simple Art of Murder....of course, there were two things that prevented me from performing an examination of the entire series.

Time (One ninety-minute and twelve forty-five-minute episodes don't watch themselves, especially with a quick deadline) and word count.

So in that spirit, I limited myself to the ninety-minute pilot and used Chandler's essay as a template. After running some trial titles on Facebook, I chose to name my essay "Neither Shiny Nor Afraid", which reflects the Chandlerian cliche of a hero being "neither tarnished nor afraid". It's one of the best essays I've written, and quite honestly, I enjoy writing the occasional scholarly article...

...especially since proceeds from book sales to Global Girl Media, which is "dedicated to empowering high school age girls from under-served communities around the world through media, leadership and journalistic training to have a voice in the global media universe and their own futures."

(As readers of this blog are also aware, I've contributed to a benefit book focused on creatives and depression, and have also promoted fundraising efforts for Puerto Rico).

If you can't find Time Lords & Tribbles, Winchesters & Muggles via my Amazon author page, you can order it directly via this link.

No comments: