Area of Effect, Issue #2

Page 1


September 2015 • Issue 2

EFFECT Blowing up geek culture



The man who can fix anything can’t fix himself—talk about irony, man. p. 12


TWO BROKEN HEARTS Why would the Doctor take companions with him in the first place? p. 8



Oh where have ye gone, my foe Sephiroth? I aim to end ye, yea I swear I doth. p. 5

HIGHLIGHTS Attack on Titan • Spirited Away • Iron Man • The Avengers • Batman • Tolkien • Harry Potter • Doctor Who • Diplomacy • Zelda • Sonic


SEPTEMBER 2015, ISSUE 2 Publisher | GEEKDOM HOUSE Founder | KYLE RUDGE Managing Editor | ALLISON BARRON Editorial Intern | CASEY COVEL Media Intern | JASON DUECK Designer | AB DESIGNS Staff Writers: Mark Barron, Michael Boyce, Christopher Johnson, Kyla Neufeld, Jennifer Schlamaeuss-Perry Contributing Artists: Claudia Gironi (Namecchan/ Wisesnail), Gnomo del Bosque (SoyUnGnomo), Jesus Campos Jimenez (Nerkin), Justin Currie (Chasing Artwork), Darren Carnall, Mathias Fontmarty (Matou31), Shuyang Dai, Jonas Jodicke (JoJoesArt) Cover art: “Iron Man” by Claudia Gironi Back Cover art: “The Dark Knight” by Claudia Gironi ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Area of Effect magazine is published 4 times a year in September, December, March, and June, by Geekdom House, 319 Elgin Ave, Winnipeg, MB, R3A 0K4. To subscribe, visit www.geekdomhouse. com or email WEBSITE read our articles online at FACEBOOK like our page at TWITTER follow or tweet at us @GeekdomHouse INSTAGRAM follow our posts @GeekdomHouse ABOUT GEEKDOM HOUSE: Geekdom House is a Christian, nonprofit organization based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The mission of Geekdom House is to be a faith-filled community with fanatics of sci-fi, fantasy, comics, games, and more. Geekdom House is a mission under the organization EQUIP CANADA (BN: 889540738RR0001).


When Sonic lost his speed Remember when Sonic wasn’t a sword-wielding, werewolf-hybrid trapped in the midst of a human-meets-hedgehog love triangle? I do. At what point did Sonic lose his way? Possibly what’s led to series’ downfall is its neglect of what made Sonic great to begin with. 2 • AOE MAGAZINE

contents ANIME Abandoning our humanity



A sonnet for Sephiroth

by Allison Barron

Not just another number by Mark Barron

6 21

COMEDY A laughing matter? by Michael Boyce


COMICS Irony Man


by Jason Dueck

Why the knight stays dark by Jason Dueck


FANTASY Beyond Middle-earth: Roverandom by Kyla Neufeld


Harry Potter and the halfsatirical prince Not just another number: Sen vs. Chihiro

by Kyle Rudge

by Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

Two broken hearts: the vulnerability of Doctor Who by Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Two Broken Hearts


SCI-FI I don’t want to be upgraded





TABLETOP Don’t bounce Burgundy by Michael Penner


VIDEO GAMES Link is fated to die by Allison Barron

When Sonic lost his speed by Casey Covel



10 19

Roverandom AOE MAGAZINE • 3


UPGRADED by Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry


umans are funny. On one hand, we want to avoid any kind of vulnerability at all costs. We don’t like to fail, be judged, or show any imperfection. We guard our appearance because we don’t want to look old, or fat, or out of style. Consider the amount of makeup ladies wear; consider Spanks or Just For Men hair coloring. And that’s just physical vulnerability—when we mess up, we immediately look for excuses—someone or something else to blame. We will go


through all kinds of elaborate schemes to avoid feeling uncomfortable, uncertain, or hurt. On the other hand, we would fight to the death for our right to be imperfect, vulnerable, and broken. We do it in personal relationships and as a species. And, as is reflected in our preference for stories that support and identify with our ways of thinking and feeling—we love stories where we are victorious over those who would take away our individuality, diversity, autonomy—our right to

In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. make our own mistakes and be vulnerable. Lewis illustrates the power of vulnerability as salvific. Most superhero stories have this element. Aslan offers his own life to save the life of Edmund—a There’s often some alien race that wants to take over traitor. By sacrificing himself, not only does Aslan the world and make us conform to their ways—and save Edmund, he brings out the “deeper magic” that it frequently means that they want to take away the saves everyone and takes down the evil Witch who things that make us weak—like feelings—so that we was oppressing Narnia. Aslan’s vulnerability changed will be obedient. Doctor Who has many examples from apparent weakness to the ultimate strength—and of this: The Cybermen (who call it “upgrading”) and that’s why we are so willing to fight for it—vulnerability the Daleks to name a couple; Star Trek has the Borg, embraced becomes unfathomable who want to make everyone part of strength. the Collective; Falling Skies has the WE WOULD FIGHT TO Vulnerability is literally the Overlords who want to turn the kids banner of Christianity—the cross. into Skitters… I’m challenged every day to step We also have stories of humans THE DEATH FOR OUR trying to “improve” their own kind, RIGHT TO BE IMPERFECT, outside of my comfort zone to serve others, to see and acknowledge my like in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four VULNERABLE, AND BRO- failings and shortcomings. And, by George Orwell. There was talk a contrary to what many think about couple of years ago of scientists being KEN. WE DO IT IN PERChristianity, valuing vulnerability able to remove bad memories from SONAL RELATIONSHIPS doesn’t mean I’m an obedient drone. people’s brains—even my 12-year-old I wear my brokenness like a badge. thought that was a bad idea. And I follow the example of a God then, Gravity Falls had an episode all AND AS A SPECIES. who came to the world in the form about it—and cartoon children came of a human, vulnerable and meek, and put Himself at to the conclusion that there is value in vulnerability. A story that has stuck with me is about Batman’s humanity’s mercy. He allowed Himself to be killed in Mr. Freeze, who tried so hard to avoid the vulnerability the most humiliating, public, painful, shameful way in order to show His unconditional love for us—and He of grief that he went to extreme measures; he tried to told us to do the same for one another. save his wife through cryogenics and wound up turnI wonder, would I be willing to sacrifice myself ing himself into a villain. for someone else? For my husband, yes. For my kids, Avoiding emotion never ends well—you are always going to turn into a supervillain if you try not to absolutely. For someone I didn’t know? I don’t know. If becoming a Cyberman was an option, would I fight for feel. my right to be vulnerable when life got tough? Whether we have superheroes come to the I hope I would embrace my vulrescue or a rag-tag fugitive fleet saves the day, a nerability, because it makes me more remnant few will stand up for our right to be the authentically human. As a child of small, broken, hot mess that humanity is. Someone God, my vulnerability is a tempowill be there to resist—even when resistance seems rary state—when I enter into it with futile. In fact, in most TV shows and movies, the lita properly disposed heart, it transtle group of heroes will inevitably have a conversation like, “What are the chances of success?” “Slim forms into strength and helps me to become more fully alive. w to none.” “Let’s do this.”

An acrostic for Armin

A sonnet for Sephiroth

A horrible disaster Rampaging abominations Many people eaten I was one of them, but no more Nay, I will slay them all All of them Really! All of them Listen to me Every day Relentlessly Talking about slaying the Titans

Oh where have ye gone, my foe Sephiroth? Go ye to Midgar or to northern cave? I aim to end ye, yea I swear I doth. Your sword has murdered many SOLDIERS brave. Each day alone I mourn my Cetra’s death. You killed her, jerk, you killed her with your sword. And as I knelt, I heard her dying breath. For long I’ve cried tears I cannot afford. Forsooth, your plot to call Meteor shall fail. Faced with my limit break, you will cower. Even the glow of materia is pale next to your lust for the life stream’s power. For Aerith’s love remembered, I am weak, but to this day on you, revenge I seek.

“Chibi Eren Jaeger”art by SoyUnGnomo

“Cloud Chibi” art by Nerkin




“Quick Snack” by Chasing Artwork

Abandoning our humanity


ttack on Titan is a brutal story that centres on one theme: survival. The only humans (that we know of) live in a city protected by gigantic walls, which prevent the Titans— giant, humanoid creatures that consider humans their chew toys—from entering. You might foresee the problems that could arise when Titans break through the first wall that surrounds the city, Maria, and flood the outer ring inside, causing thousands of refugees to retreat back behind Wall Rose (or be Titan dinner). I, however, was too caught up in the terror of the people and watching a mother get chewed up before the eyes of her traumatized son to think about what would happen later. After the citizens who escaped have made it to safety, after everyone, including me, has breathed a sigh of relief, the shoe drops. Hunger sets in as a food shortage becomes apparent. The space in the inner walls cannot support all the refugees who flooded in from the outer ring, which is now overrun with Titans. What does the government to do in response to this crisis? Something horrendous. But something that I might do in the same situation, because I can’t see an alternative. They send about 250,000 of the refugees (20 percent of the populace)—farmers, blacksmiths, architects, gardeners, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers—on a “mission” to reclaim Wall Maria. It’s a suicide mission, a glorified reason for getting rid of the extra mouths to feed. Armin’s grandfather is one of the people enlisted to go, and we see him saying goodbye to Armin with a grim but determined expression. He knows exactly where he is going: to his death. Technically, he chooses to go, but is it really a choice? Is there really another option? Sure enough, every single one of the refugees is crushed and eaten by the Titans, and this is one of the many reasons the main character of the show, Eren, vows revenge on the creatures and, along with Armin, joins the army to fight against them. The needs of the many, as it were. RIP Leonard Nemoy. Armin, generally the voice of wisdom in the show, says at one point, “You can’t change anything unless you can discard part of yourself too. To surpass monsters, you must be willing to abandon your humanity.” Is abandoning your humanity worth mere survival? Are you abandoning the very thing you are fighting for by doing so? Or is it worth becoming a monster so your children don’t have to be? Everyone has a choice, but it is those decisions that seem to have no right answer that I dread facing. Would I have the courage (or folly) to make the same decision and walk off on a mission that, if actually succeeded, would mean abandoning my own humanity to accomplish it? It is hard to say one way or the other until Titans decide to invade Canada, but I do know I would be terrified of the ethical decision before me. Whether it be Adama or Obama, these tough decisions are not new. At first sight, in Attack on Titan the “needs of the many” mantra can be interpreted as sacrificing your life for the lives of all the others who are left behind. That’s noble. That’s honourable. But the scary thought is pondering a future where it might be necessary for someone to sacrifice their humanity to preserve the humanity of others. That choice is terrifying. w —Allison Barron AOE MAGAZINE • 7

“Ancient and Forever” by DarrenCarnall


TWO BROKEN HEARTS by Jamie Aprin-Ricci


first encountered Doctor Who when I was a child visiting my grandparents. Their TV was on in the background, featuring a cast of accented actors. One man stood out, with wildly curly hair and an over-long scarf of various colours. However, it was when the characters crowded into what looked like a tiny blue phone booth, only to be welcomed into a large, technologically advanced interior, that my attention was firmly captured. And so was born my future as a Whovian (i.e. Doctor Who fan). For more than half a century, the Doctor, an alien Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, has been travelling time and space in his stolen Time and Relative Dimension in Space ship—better known to all as his TARDIS, which is stuck in the exterior form of a blue British Police box (not phone booth). His unique alien physiology (which includes two hearts) gives him the power, when old or mortally injured, to transform into a new body with a slightly altered personality. All of this, combined with his vast knowledge of science, history (both past and future), and unique technology (namely his sonic screwdriver) make for one impressive time-travelling adventurer. What makes the Doctor’s journeys so compelling to follow are his companions (usually human), who he shares his adventures with. As viewers, we 8 • AOE MAGAZINE

share the same sense of wonder that these companions experience, vicariously boarding the TARDIS ourselves. Yet, all too often these same companions thrust the Doctor into danger. His deep affection for these people make him vulnerable in many ways, like the countless times a companion has been captured as a means to coerce the Doctor to do the villain’s will. When companions leave the Doctor, they are never left fully unharmed and the Doctor finds himself alone again with two broken hearts. Given the risks and the costs of such friendships, why would the Doctor take companions with him in the first place? Beyond the obvious answer of needing a consistent cast for the Doctor to interact with, it is, in fact, the very vulnerability the companions create that make their place in the series so compelling and necessary. Throughout the series, the Doctor consistently struggles with his purpose, his identity, and the limits to his powers and responsibilities. Again and again, it is these companions who, in the face of danger and death, bring the Doctor to a sense of clarity. I think of Rose, who breaks through the Doctor’s hard exterior to reach his hearts. I think of Donna, who reminds him he is not always the centre of everyone’s universe, and of Rory, who shows him what true

love and perseverance can look like. In essence, the companions make this alien Time Lord more human. It is his very love for them that makes him the hero that he has become. As C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” One critical key to the success of the Doctor Who franchise has been the presence of this very vulnerability, which reminds us of the importance of that same vulnerability in our own lives. Like the Doctor, we face challenges and tensions every day that require us to make critical choices—choices that threaten who and what we are. While we may not face choices on the scale of universal annihilation, as the Doctor so often does, we do face the fundamental fear of all humanity: the fear of death. When I think about death, I’m reminded of Hebrews 2:14-15, which says: “Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death” (emphasis added). This fear includes not only a fear of our mortality, but also the fear of existential death—inadequacy, rejection, judgment, and alienation. We not only want to stay alive at all costs, but we want to live with stability, acceptance, and a sense of social affirmed significance. Too often we compromise a great deal to secure these seeming safeties. This is why true heroes are always vulnerable. The Doctor is at his best when he is vulnerable, facing the fear of death, yet choosing love and sacrifice over self-preservation. Jesus, God-incarnate, embodied this freedom like no other has or will. Just like the Doctor could have walked away and left Wilfrid to die in the radiation booth, Jesus could have saved himself. But He didn’t. Through Him, we are invited to discover freedom from the bondage of sin and death, if we are simply willing to be vulnerable. w



urgundy. This word could refer to a few different things: a dark red that is one of my favourite colours; a fictional news anchor by the name of Ron who is kind of a big deal; or a region in France, known for its wine and mustard. The latter Burgundy was also the place Nazi Germany dreamed of using as its base for western expansion. Those dreams are the reason many a Diplomacy player has ordered a bounce by sending two units to Burgundy with the sole purpose of keeping Germany out. Diplomacy is a game that has been around for years, existing on the fringes of board gaming culture since 1959. It has intense periods of negotiation with no dice involved. To win a game of Diplomacy, a player has to control 18 of the 34 supply centres. Working together with other players is necessary in order to expand. Negotiation and trust are critical to success. The thing is: trusting someone in Diplomacy can be very hard to do. If you ever leave yourself vulnerable, you’re suddenly open to an unexpected attack from someone you thought was an ally. And that’s why, when playing France, no matter what Germany says, the possibility of Munich-Burgundy is a very real threat to start the game. So then, the question remains: given that threat, what should France do? Many players default to the defensive option: self-bounce to keep Burgundy open. But playing on the defensive means you don’t move anywhere and your progress is delayed. If you ask me, in order to get anywhere in Diplomacy, you have to trust someone and, as an extension of that trust, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. If that vulnerability means you get attacked, that just gives

you more reason to fight back with everything you’ve got. But maybe that’s my philosophy in Diplomacy because that’s also my philosophy in life. It’s true that trusting people invites others to take advantage of me. Far too often, I refuse to let myself be vulnerable because I perceive a possible threat. Just like France at the beginning of a game of Diplomacy, I have a tendency to turtle, protecting what little I have at the expense of making progress. But without progress, there won’t be any growth. And without growth, there is no chance to win. In fact, if I don’t grow, I’ll eventually become more of target for those who do. M. Scott Peck said, “There can be no vulnerability without risk. There can be no community without vulnerability. There can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” In the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says to “give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” and to love your enemies. Jesus gives us an ideal toward which we can strive. The unfortunate thing is that very few of us actually strive for these. People might take advantage of me. I might lose something for a while—perhaps my dignity, or my willingness to trust, or my faith in a friend. But what would the alternative be? To live my life never trusting anyone? To never let anyone get close? To build up walls while the world goes on without me? That certainly doesn’t work in Diplomacy and it just cannot work in life. Yes, people might break that trust, but the alternative is far more terrifying. I, for one, think that reward is far more valuable than anything I might have defended in the first place. w AOE MAGAZINE • 9


eo Game

arvel •Vid

DC • M Tolkien •

“Zelda” by Matou31



Claudia Gironi Digital Painter Also known as Wisesnail and Namecchan, you can purchase Claudia’s art on Society 6 (society6. com/wisesnail) or RedBubble (


by Allison Barron

It’s my fate as a gamer to win and fail at the same time in a clashing set of universes, and I’m okay with that, for death has always had deep meaning.


o this sage fellow tells you that you’re the legendary Hero of Time, and it’s your destiny to save the land from evil. At this news, perhaps your soul puffs up with the righteous thought of your future victory. Or, if you’re like me, you get annoyed at the guy who’s not only telling you what to do, but what you’re going to do, as if you didn’t have a choice. Either way, let’s do this, you say. If it’s your destiny, after all, how can you fail? But then, somewhere along the line, you die. Whether it’s because you let an Octorok spit one too many rocks at you, or because


As recommended by AoE staff


you couldn’t figure out the trick with the first boss, Link’s health will eventually go down accompanied by the annoying beeping and his slight gasp before he falls in slow motion to his doom. Or so it would seem. A second later, however, he’s up and at it with only a few missing hearts to show for his trouble. Now that’s what I call a Hero of Time. Death seems to have found its way so readily into video games because it is the logical fail safe for arcades. You can’t have one quarter lasting someone for hours, after all. Pac-Man has to die sometime. Mario can’t avoid being bowled over

FEZ Fez is a puzzle platform game where the player character receives a fez that his 2-dimensional world is, in fact, 3-dimensional. The object of the game is to collect cubes to restore order to the world. Fez’s puzzles are challenging and intriguing.

the narrative (I’m looking at you, Aeris), or members by Donkey Kong forever. of your team dying in Mass Effect as a result of your Not only does this impending doom rake in choices. the coins for arcades, but games just wouldn’t be fun Protagonist death, however, is not usually without that chance of failure looming over the player’s used as realistic narrative, but rather as a learning head. tool. Mistakes resulting in my death cause me to Where’s the rush of excitement if there are no think things through more carefully the second time consequences for failure? around. Can I apply this to real life in other ways A lot of older games capitalized on the thrill than wishing I had a do-over for all of terror and release. As Churchill put it: “Nothing in life is so exhilMAYBE THAT’S LARGELY the times I make mistakes? Well it certainly makes me think about arating as to be shot at without things like forgiveness and second result.” I still have vivid memories WHAT GAMING IS FOR: chances, and value them all the of playing Jumpman for the ComEXPERIENCING THE more. modore 64, wandering too close And no, having an abundance of to the edge of the screen to diffuse THRILL WITHOUT THE gaming lives does not make me feel a bomb and jumping out of my COST, TAKING RISKS, immortal in real life, because even skin because a bullet came out of nowhere with a bang and killed FALLING, TOUCHING FIRE though I beat the pants off Ganondorf and made it to the end of the game, me. This was even more terrifying when I only had one life left, I was WITH OUR BARE HANDS, thus saving Hyrule from its dark fate, on level 15 and I knew I’d have EXPLORING THOSE DARK I died 100 times to get there. Those mistakes I made before I revived and to start over from the beginning PLACES IN OUR SOULS. time was reset still exist somewhere in if I died. I’d lose all my progress. the multiverse, as I am well aware. There were no save points. Dying It’s my fate as a gamer to win and fail at the sure cost a lot more back in the 90s than it does same time in a clashing set of universes, and I’m okay now in most games. with that, for death has always had deep meaning and Newer games still use this technique of fear, though; I recently made it past the Silent Realm trials games are not disconnected from that. It’s not a game’s job to teach us death’s sting, it’s the gamer’s job to let in Skyward Sword, where you have to collect 15 fate take its course through those mistakes and on to objects within a certain amount of time, or armored the end. w Guardians will wake up, chase after you, and kill you in one blow (with frightening music playing in the background, of course). There’s basically no escape. It was terrifying, even though I knew I would revive if I failed. Maybe that’s largely what gaming is for: experiA haiku for the Hulk encing the thrill without the cost, taking risks, failing, touching fire with our bare hands, exploring those Stark’s all snark, jokes of dark places in our souls. Though I’d argue newer plans for Ultron 2.0 games, like Zelda, balance terror with the thrill of Green mean Hulk machine more complex gameplay, intellectual stimulation, and, often, storytelling. Though gamers are fated to die in most games, dying usually results in losing some equipment, health, or having to wait a short time before revival. Gone are the days where you have to start completely over, and you can’t blame this century’s developers for making that decision. That doesn’t stop games from exploring death in “Hulk” art by Chasing Artwork other ways, such as a character death that is crucial to



Limbo is a sidescrolling platform game with a dark atmosphere. The player character must make his way through dangerous environments. The game involves a “trial and death” playstyle, where the player is expected to fail before finding the solution.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an adventure game where the player controls two brothers individually on their journey to save their father’s life. They face a variety of challenges and situations that must be solved between the two of them.


IRONY M by Jason Dueck


ony Stark’s armoured suit is as much a part of him as the electromagnet in his chest or the blood pumping through his veins. But Stark wears another armour, one that can’t deflect bullets or stop explosions, but keeps him safe nonetheless: his sense of humour. Stark is not what some might call “emotionally available.” He keeps himself aloof and never lets anyone get too close (with the possible exception of Pepper Potts) . He doesn’t seem to trust his teammates and, whenever they try to have a serious conversation with him, he jokes around to deflect genuine emotional connection. When he brings a nuclear bomb through a wormhole to destroy a fleet of invading aliens and very nearly dies as a result, the first 12 • AOE MAGAZINE

thing out of his mouth upon his revival is, “What happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me.” Shawarma therapy notwithstanding, Iron Man relies on his emotional armour just as much as his shiny red and gold suit. Iron Man 3 had a lot of great scenes showing just how damaged he is and how poorly equipped he is to deal with his emotions. A kid shows him a crayon drawing of a space portal and his body reacts by going into shock. He assumes he’s been poisoned before Jarvis politely informs him that he is, in fact, having a panic attack. The man who can fix anything can’t fix himself— talk about irony, man. In the finale of Iron Man 3, Stark blows up dozens of his power suits in a spectacular metaphor for his newfound emotional

freedom. But in Age of Ultron, his anxiety has evolved under his nose into full-blown fear. He responds to the fear in a few different ways. His fear of what the Hulk is capable of is answered by his biggest and meanest armour suit yet—the Hulkbuster. His fear of causing collateral damage to innocent people is answered with the Iron Legion, his group of automated robots that initiate crowd control and evacuation planning. But his deepest fear—the one Scarlet Witch drags to the surface of his mind—is his fear of letting the world down, of not being strong enough to save it. Iron Man is not alone: many people use comedy as a form of escape or deflection. Humour can be a healthy and effective way of responding to emotional trauma. But

“Iron Man” by Chasing Artwork

AN Iron Man has spent his life dealing gears are turning in any given sitwith pain by building it into armour uation. He also likes to make sure to keep himself from ever suffering everyone knows it. His sarcasm again. can be powerfully condescending This also doesn’t mean and he doesn’t seem concerned Stark is never serious. In the first about who he levels it at. Avengers movie, While his parwhen he’s chatting amour, Pepper Potts, THE MAN WHO with Loki in Stark seems to accept that Tower he delivers CAN FIX ANYTHING it’s just part of who a few great quips he is, it’s actually like, “Earth’s might- CAN’T FIX HIMCaptain America who iest heroes sort of SELF—TALK ABOUT has had the most thing” or “We have to say to him about IRONY, MAN. a Hulk.” But then, deflecting everything without taking an with jokes. Cap is extra breath, he looks Loki dead honest to a fault, and is antiin the eyes and tells him seriously, thetical to Iron Man in so many “You can be damn-well sure we’ll ways, not least of them being his avenge it.” honesty and his approach to dealStark is pretty much always ing with things head-on, without the smartest guy in the room. He looking for the shortcut. He’s also knows how one million different most often the target of Stark’s

barbed wit. Honesty without ulterior motives challenges and scares him. He doesn’t understand how Cap can see the world that clear-cut and reacts to that fear the way he does to all fear— with jokes and sarcasm. Stark is one of those guys that should be unlikable. He’s entitled, arrogant, self-centred, and self-righteous. But his overpowering charisma tends to win over against all of that. He’s endured the death of his parents; he’s been kicked to the curb, penniless only to rise up and regain his legacy; he’s beaten back his debilitating alcoholism and taken on the emotional and physical burden protecting Earth. If he can’t make a joke everyone once in a while, what hope do the rest of us have? w AOE MAGAZINE • 13




few months ago, I discovered a Harry Potter fan-fiction titled Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles. Needless to say, I was instantly intrigued. I know many Christians, some of them esteemed clergy, who have read and enjoyed J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, but the prevailing culture within Christianity is that Christians should be highly skeptical of anything that discusses magic (Lewis and Tolkien are the exceptions to the rule). Enter a self-titled “housewife” brandishing her pen like a cross to “fix” the problem of magic in Harry Potter. At the very first paragraph of the story, I sensed I was reading something amazing: “[Harry] was a good, obedient boy who did all his chores; but he felt that there was something missing in his life. Something big and special; but he could not quite name it.” It’s readily apparent that the author knows very little about the actual storyline of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. She seems to only be aware of names and basic events… either that, or she just doesn’t care about preserving the original. Also I am fairly certain she was paid by the adverb. The Weasleys are all sorted into Slytherin (described as an obvious representation of the Catholic church), and they just don’t seem to get that the evangelical Gryffindors

are the only “real” Christians in Hogwarts. Hufflepuff is presumably Unitarian, and I’m not sure exactly what Ravenclaw represents, though it’s clear they are supposed to be evil (Malfoy is a Ravenclaw). Also, in this version, Voldemort is a high-powered, city-slicker lawyer who drives a Prius, and his evil plot is to make Christianity illegal. The most notable (and horrific) change, however, is to Hermione’s character. In the Rowling-verse, Hermione is an impure “mudblood” who rises above monikers and stereotypes to save the day not once but nearly every time danger approaches. Here, she is Dumbledore’s daughter and reduced from the paragon of heroism to Harry’s doting sidekick. Though the author does seem to think that women are to be respected, it is clear that to her they have no business taking the lead, fighting trolls, saving the day, or standing up for house-elf rights: “Women shouldn’t not have careers because women are stupid!” Harry shouted indignantly. “Women are not stupid at all! Women should not have careers because women are nurturing and loving and their gifts serve them best in the home!” The author of this tale also includes her own comments at the beginning of each chapter. She progressively tells her story as a loyal military wife who, out of genuine continued on page 20

“Hogwarts Express” by Tim Parkinson/Flickr



As recommended by AoE staff


SABRIEL After her father goes missing, Sabriel must enter the Old Kingdom where she is hunted by a terrifying enemy. She searches for answers while learning about Charter Magic and Free Magic to make sure the dead stay dead, which was the job of her father.

“Under the Sea” by Shuyang Dai




over is a little white dog with black spots and a penchant for getting in trouble. One day he’s playing outside with his yellow ball when an old man comes by and takes it. So Rover bites the man’s trouser leg and suddenly finds himself turned into a toy, for this man is a wizard named Artaxexes. What follows is Rover’s quest to become a real dog again. Rover is found in the grass, sold for sixpence at a shop, and brought home to Little Boy Two, who is especially fond of dogs. The next day, Two puts him in his pocket and runs down to the beach. Rover falls out of Two’s pocket and into the sand, where he is eventually found by Psamathos, the sand wizard. Some of the Artaxexes’ magic wears off because Rover is close to another wizard’s home, and he regains mobility, but remains small. Here is where Rover’s journey really begins. Rover travels to two fascinating places: the moon, where he meets the Man-in-the-Moon, and the bottom of the sea. In both places live two other dogs who are also called Rover and claim to be the first. They both insist that Rover change his name to Roverandom because there cannot be two

SHADOW AND BONE You’d think being trained to be a member of the Grisha, the magical elite in Ravka, would be all rainbows and unicorns, but Alina Starkov faces dangers she never could have imagined while doing so.

Rovers, and they’re older than him so he has to do what they say. During his stay on the moon, the Man-in-the-Moon takes Roverandom to the dark side, where he discovers children playing. The Man-in-the-Moon explains that this is where children come when they dream, and that he makes the dreams for them. Roverandom finds Two there and they spend the entire night playing together. On the walk back to the light side, Roverandom asks if dreams come true, and the Man-in-the-Moon responds: “Some of mine do... Some, but not all; and seldom any of them straight away, or quite like they were in dreaming them.” When Roverandom is finally changed back to his normal size, he wants to go back to Two—only, he doesn’t quite know the way. “‘All the Man-in-the-Moon’s dreams don’t come true, then—just as he said himself,’ thought Rover as he padded along. ‘This was evidently one that didn’t. I don’t even know the name of the place where the little boys live, and that’s a pity.’” The thing about quests and dreams is that they never take us where we expect, and we pick up new friends, experiences, and names along the way. What Roverandom thinks is a quest to get his

normal size back becomes something even more complex and beautiful because he loses his name and is given a new one. There is something significant about “naming” in the face of adversity. Whether we take on one ourselves or are given one by others, new names speak to the people we want to be or the ideals we want to uphold. One of my favourite examples of this is Edmund Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia, who is known as “King Edmund the Just.” He knows what it is like to betray his friends and be forgiven, and because of this he seeks to live up to that title. In the same way, Roverandom cannot go back to being “Rover,” the rude little dog who bites trouser legs, because he is not that dog anymore. He was thinking of Little Boy Two’s dream not coming true, but his own didn’t either—at least, not in the way he expected. And he probably wasn’t thinking about the significance of his new name, but it’s there for the rest of us to see; it’s a symbol of the hardship he’s faced and the new person he is. We know that he won’t go back to his old ways, that he’ll become wise and dignified (and Tolkien said as much); he’s got the new name to prove it. w

TIGANA Who knew taking away a name could cause so much trouble? Those born outside Tigana’s province are unable to hear its name spoken because of a sorcerer’s curse. Tigana’s survivors are out for vengeance on those who have taken away their identity.


K R A D S Y A T S T H IG N WHY THE K by Jason Dueck

come the

to be use he doesn’t want ca be m hi ll ki r ve ne Batman will r. ath will stop the Joke de ly on t bu s, ht fig evil he


hat happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? This question is the engine that drives the battle between Batman and his arch-est of arch nemeses, the Joker. Batman’s story is one of tragedy. Bruce Wayne was a boy when his parents were shot and killed in front of him. They were the victims of a desperate criminal in a desperate city. Wayne is an orphan left in the care of the family butler, and he is heir to Wayne Enterprises and its massive fortune. He decides that as long as he draws breath, he will do whatever he can to make sure no one else has to feel that pain and loss. He decides to become a symbol. He decides to become Batman. Wayne spends the rest of his life training every part of himself to fight against injustice and those who would prey on the vulnerable. He closes himself off to everyone but a handful of people whom he trusts with the hope that no one will ever get hurt because of his actions. Over a long period of time, Batman starts to make a positive change in Gotham City. Crime is lowered and the streets are safer. Batman even takes in a protégé to ensure that his legacy of protection will not end with him. Things are looking up until a criminal shows up on the Gotham scene with seemingly no regard for human life. The word on the street is this guy calls himself the Joker. 16 • AOE MAGAZINE

He can’t save them. He fails. Batman has dealt with all He takes full responsibility sorts of dangerous criminals in the for the young man’s death; if he past, but this one is different. The hadn’t taken him in and trained Joker is the human embodiment of him, none of this would ever have madness. He has no cause. He has happened and the Joker would no vendetta. He acts as an agent of never have targeted Todd. Batman pure chaos. spirals out of control after this. He The Joker sees Batman’s rule is overwhelmed with rage, sorrow, against killing as the only differand depression at the idea that this ence between them. And therein death is his fault. He had sworn lies the great irony of Batman and to protect people from deaths like the Joker: Batman will never kill this, not cause them. him because he doesn’t want to Batman’s strength and become the evil he fights, but only determination were forged in death will stop the Joker. the crucible of his vulnerability. As their strange dance conThe Joker is his perfect nemesis, tinued, so too does time. Batman because he preys on vulnerability trains his first sidekick so well that in a way no other he becomes a hero villain does. in his own right, BATMAN’S Every time Nightwing. Batman Batman opens then finds a troubled STRENGTH AND himself up, his young boy named Jaweakness is used son Todd to become DETERMINATION as a pressure point his new sidekick. WERE FORGED IN against him. He’s After a while learned the hard training as Robin, THE CRUCIBLE OF that to be the Todd learns that the HIS VULNERABILITY. way hero Gotham needs, woman who raised he can’t risk being him isn’t his biologimade vulnerable like that and cal mother. He desperately follows must wall himself off from those leads all over the planet before he loves. tracking her down in Ethiopia. I don’t envy Batman. He There he learns his mother is being might be a superhero, but he’s blackmailed by the Joker to draw him in. Todd is captured by the Jok- also a lonely, hardened one. Having relationships and being er and beaten to within an inch of vulnerable with the people we his life with a crowbar. The Joker love is part of what makes us huleaves him and his mother trapped man, and he has to sacrifice that in a room with a timed bomb as part of his humanity so others Batman races to save them. can have theirs. The knight stays Late by only a few seconds, in the darkness so others don’t the explosion knocks him back as have to. w he nears the door to the building.

“The Joker” by Claudia Gironi


A LAUGHING MATTER by Michael Boyce “But you must never imagine that just because something is funny... it is not also dangerous.” —Mr. Croup, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere


ow many times does a Mennonite laugh at a joke? find the strangest things funny (and this is the only way scientists can account for the success of Hee Haw Two times. Once when the joke is told. Once or my father’s love of Ernest movies). I think that it’s when it’s explained to them. this individualized response that tends to make people Within many Christian circles there seems to be dismissive of humour that they don’t like or get. an unwillingness to engage with humour and comedy. In When I was a little older, our church’s drama team fact, I don’t recall any discussions about comedy or the would purchase books of “HIL-ARiOUS!!!” (always nature of laughter in my lifetime of church-going. Besides three exclamation marks) comedy sketches written for an amusing list of bulletin typos or the odd joke at the Christian audiences which relied on silly puns, wacky beginning of a sermon (and the less said about these the characterizations, and bizarre character names, all better), humour doesn’t have much of a place within the while trying to impart some kind of clear moral meschurch. Some view humour with suspicion, at best a distraction, at worst idleness. Why is there such ambivalence sage and (perhaps most importantly) not offend. I hated performing in these sketches because what attempted about laughter and the art of making people laugh? to pass as comedy was usually insipid, trite, and wholly In the 1980 historical murder mystery, The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco suggests one perspec- unfunny. And to make matters worse, it was decided tive on this unwillingness to engage in deeper thinking that whenever we performed, one of the pastors would get up and give a short message to about comedy. While investigating wrap things up and make sure people some murders in an Italian abbey, CHURCH COULD USE “got the gospel.” The comedy, it was William of Baskerville, a Franciscan clear, might be a nice appetizer, but the monk, discovers the importance of SOME REAL COMEDY, real meal was a sermon. some illuminated manuscripts of the NOT JUST TO MAKE What struck me most about this abbey’s. While visiting the scriptoriformat was the failure to see comedy um, William encounters Jorge, the PEOPLE LAUGH BUT TO as a powerful tool. I was watching blind librarian whose opinions on CHALLENGE ITSELF. Saturday Night Live, In Living Colthe evilness of laughter surprise the or, Kids in the Hall, Monty Python’s Franciscan. In Jorge’s opinion, laughFlying Circus; I was listening to Eddie Murphy, Steve ter distracts the faithful from the serious-mindedness Martin, George Carlin. These were groundbreaking of the gospel: “Our Lord Jesus never told comedies or comedians who had a message, who challenged and fables, but only clear parables which instruct us on pushed their audiences. Skits about Sam Son and his how to win paradise, and so be it… laughter shakes barber Deli-Liar weren’t cutting it (get it? GET IT?). the body, distorts the features of the face, makes man Real comedy, the best comedy, is dangerous. similar to a monkey.” By “dangerous” I don’t mean explicit—although Of course this isn’t the only perspective held sometimes that’s true. But I mean “dangerous” in the within the church. When I was a fresh-faced youth sense that all good comedy says something about the (many, many moons ago now), I could never figure state of society and the world. It’s anti-disestablishmenout why the comic strips in my denominational youth magazine weren’t funny. Not even a little bit. Obviously tarian. While not every comedian exposes the hypocrisy of society and social order as ferociously as Pryor, the someone thought the magazine should have comics, best comedy sets itself aside from the value system but the product missed the mark. As an avid reader of of the world to expose the holes in that value system. Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes, I knew comics could Church could use some real comedy, not just to make be funny, but these were just embarrassing. people laugh (and Lord knows we need a little of that) Now, I get that comedy is subjective, much more but to challenge itself and its assumptions. Real comedy subjective than drama or tragedy. While people tend that isn’t afraid to step on some toes, and that’s a little to have a more shared emotional response to sadness bit dangerous. w or fear, humour is much more individualized. People

“In the Wave” by Nerkin



emember when Sonic wasn’t a sword-wielding, werewolf-hybrid trapped in the midst of a human-meets-hedgehog love triangle? I do. But before I shake a cane at all post-2D Sonic games, let me make one thing clear: I’ve found some form of enjoyment in almost every Sonic title—even those hard-to-love critical failures. But as a fan who has followed SEGA’s speedy mascot since her kindergarten days, it pains me to see him moving so slowly at the ripe age of 24—a time when most franchises should be planning for their victorious silver jubilee. What happened? At what point did Sonic lose his way? In his transition to the 3D realm, Sonic was thrust into plot-driven narratives garnished with RPG elements and populated by characters who brought new mechanics—fishing, treasure hunting, gunning, and the like—to Sonic’s previously simple world. But in my opinion, what’s led to the series’ downfall is not its plotting or even its new gameplay styles, but rather its neglect of what made Sonic great to begin with—his speed. Speed has long been Sonic’s selling point. It’s what marketed him in 1991 and made him a worthy rival of Nintendo’s Mario. No other game had the supersonic velocity that came with this sneaker-wearing hedgehog. Most every Sonic game incorporates speed, but only the truly successful installments handle it with the attention it deserves. A majority of post-2000 Sonic games diminish the power of Sonic’s speed by implementing out-of-character mechanics like gun/ sword fighting and melee combat. Even in those games that feature “speed zones,” the supersonic antics are often diminished by crippling camera angles, broken controls, glitches, or just downright uninspired tracks. Worse still, some games lower Sonic’s top speed altogether. Why did SEGA pull Sonic away from what made him so great to begin with? My personal theory is that, with Sonic’s transition to 3D, SEGA feared his simplistic, high-speed formula would not be enough to draw in the next generation of gamers. In trying to mimic the trends of contemporary games—like dark, edgy shooters or epic, high fantasy narratives—SEGA actually weakened Sonic’s value and uniqueness in the eyes of consumers. The drive to “fit in” had the opposite effect and caused Sonic’s previously influential presence in the gaming market to vanish. You might say that Sonic’s greatest foe isn’t the mustached Dr. Eggman. It’s peer pressure. It’s not just hedgehogs that fall for that trap, either. Humans do too. I’ve come to possess certain strengths and talents—some that I’ve honed over time, and others that I consider natural gifts from God. When I place my focus on areas in which my abilities fully manifest

A ballad for Batman It only takes one day that’s bad You’ll never be the same I’ve stolen what you’ll sorely miss Come join me in the game Do save him if you think you can I’ll even give a clue It’s not a clock, but goes “tick-tock” And ends with a “KABOOM” You think your brain’s so powerful But can you guess my plan? Imagine that clock counting down Come stop me if you can At first I blackmailed Toddy’s mom To set the bait and hook They’re reunited now, it seems Why don’t you take a look? I’m not afraid to tell you that I’m crazy as a coot I’ll admit it. Why can’t you? Your sanity is moot Why else would you dress up like that Just like a flying rat? You’re just as mad as me, you know Give up your tit for tat You’ll be too late to save them now The mother or your friend You’ll blame yourself for both their deaths You’re right, it is the end The hour has come for me to run Though fun I’ve had with rhyme For like they say, it’s “Bombs away” Try working on your time. “Shadow of Gotham” art by Nerkin

continued on next page


themselves, I’m able to make a bigger impact on others and the world at large. But sometimes my focus gets divided; I want to be something I’m not—sometimes not even something that’s bad in and of itself, but that handicaps my specific skill sets none-the-less—and I cave to peer pressure. For example, I might invest in a more monetarily successful college degree like law or medicine, when my real talents are in the area of communication or the arts. Or perhaps my greatest skill is writing, but I focus on volunteer work to the point where I have little time left for drafting articles. I sometimes lose focus for a number of reasons—boredom, fear of failure, fear of success, discouragement, a drive for attention—but all of these can be summed up within peer pressure itself, or a desire to achieve what the world considers success. When I try to fit into places that don’t match my strengths, I weaken myself. Not only that, but I cause myself to “disappear” rather than stand out, as I might have originally intended. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with branching out from our greatest strengths, so long as we maintain them. In the video game realm, many characters, most notably Mario, have done this successfully. Sonic failed in that he never anchored himself to his roots in the midst of his spinoffs. For every Mario Golf and Mario Party, there is a traditional, Mario platformer. Mario knows his strengths, which makes him confident enough to branch out into uncharted territory while his mainstay series continues. Sonic, however, forgot his greatest skills while trying to fit in with a new generation of gaming and gamers. In the song “Believe in Myself,” which first debuted in Sonic Adventure, Sonic’s sidekick, Tails, talks about his desire to “match” Sonic’s standard of heroics: When all alone in my bed, I just go about yearnin’ I wanna be cool, I also wanna be like him As the song goes on, Tails realizes that his goal (to be like his hero, Sonic) is impossible, and that his natural abilities won’t allow him to be exactly like the hero he admires: But that’s not somethin’ I can do so easily This is not simply my way, my style As the song reaches its final chorus, Tails has a revelation; namely, that he has unique skills—skills that his idol not only doesn’t have, but also never will. In focusing on his natural talents and ceasing to be identical to his hero, Tails finally finds solace: Certain things I can do, and there’s things that only I can do No one’s alone Having unique abilities doesn’t isolate us; contrarily, it makes us stand out. In reality, it’s “fitting in” that causes us to disappear, making us lonely in a crowd of “clones.” When Sonic finally takes his own sidekick’s advice and has the courage to “believe in himself” and the natural skills that have carried his franchise’s success, I believe he’ll once more find his way to the open arms of gamers and the shelves of retail stores alike. And when he does, I’ll be ready to welcome him back, controller in hand. w 20 • AOE MAGAZINE

“Harry Potter” continued from page 14

love for her children, wanted to provide a holier alternative to popular culture. As I finished reading, I was left dumbstruck and asking myself if this is an honest story or satire. If it’s the former, I’d say the author is a loving woman who wants her children to explore creativity and fantasy, but is equally concerned about her children’s wellbeing in the process. Though her method seems quite heavy-handed. If it’s the latter, the book is brilliant. The real author created a character, someone who is genuine, a loving mother, and gave her not just a handful of extremely right-wing, evangelical views, but EVERY extremely right-wing, evangelical extreme view. Personally, I am leaning towards the satire theory. She wildly inserts political statements as side remarks that I think must be intended to produce a burst of laughter from the reader: “Thank you very much for your concern, sir, but he does not need your religion, he has science and socialism and birthdays.” As someone who has worked in Christian media for years, I am painfully aware of its reputation outside of Christian circles. In a few words, it’s not good. The term “Christian,” when used as an adjective, often elicits a negative emotion. The temptation from us Christians (and humanity in general) is to believe that any criticism perceived as opposition can be quickly dismissed as persecution. And with that our resolve is reinforced and we make the same mistakes over and over again. I have hope that Christians will slowly move away from swinging the very large, very blunt “gospel” hammer in our works of art and more into a creative space that trusts God to speak through the subtleties. And I see evidence of this happening through artists like Will Bakke (Writer/Director of Believe Me) or Bo and Bear Rinehart (Needtobreathe). As we continue to take steps forward, I look forward to artists who allow subtlety to permeate their work so people can admire the beauty of God that shines through that mystery. I mean, it’s either that or we drastically assess the spiritual state of the writers at Area of Effect, since they are predominantly, like Malfoy, a bunch of no-good Ravenclaws. w

A limerick for Link There once was a green-garbed young bloke who tried to tell Zelda a joke. ng bloke He wanted to say “… please press A,” but no words came out when he spoke. e. “Chibi Link” art by SoyUnGnomo

“Spirited Away Wallpaper” by JoJoesArt

Artwork by i-am-knot


he plot of Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 animated film Spirited Away begins when Chihiro’s parents are transformed into pigs by eating forbidden food from an uninhabited buffet. Chihiro learns that the place they stumbled across after taking a wrong turn is, in fact, a spiritual realm; a place of retreat where weary spirits can relax. She begs Yubaba, the cruel owner of a bathhouse, to give her a job so she can survive in this spirit world, and Yubaba eventually hires Chihiro in exchange for ownership of the girl’s name. Yubaba renames her Sen. Later, Chihiro learns that Yubaba takes people’s names in order to trap them in this spirit world; if she ever forgets what her original name was, she will be permanently unable to return to her home world. I wondered where Yubaba got the name “Sen” from, and once I noted the kanji characters that make up both names, I realized exactly what Yubaba was trying to take away from her. “Chihiro” is written as two kanji characters: the first is pronounced “chi” (which means “one thousand”), and the second is “hiro” (which means “questions”). But kanji characters almost never have just one single pronunciation or meaning attributed to them; in this case, the character used for “chi” can also be read as “sen,” the basic number for one thousand. The name “Chihiro” does not necessarily express a finite quantity, but could be interpreted as an endless or uncountable number. Her full given name therefore could be roughly translated to “endless questions.” To me, the translation behind this name paints a mental picture of a girl who is eager to learn, curious about the world, and a deep thinker. By renaming her “Sen,” her captor completely drained the name of any meaning.

by Mark Barron

Arguably, the most degrading name you can give a person is that of a number. It means that the person has no value as an individual, and that he or she is only one of many—completely replaceable. This also reminds me of Jean Valjean from Les Miserables, a man who takes great offense when Javert refers to him as “24601.” In response, he dramatically exclaims “My name is Jean Valjean!” To be a prisoner constantly referred to by a number must mean a constant, unending reminder that your individuality is—and therefore, you are—completely worthless to those above you. In Chihiro’s case, her captor is not only trying to physically trap her in the spirit world, but is also trying to dull down her sense of even having a “self.” It’s possible Yubaba is also trying to restrain Chihiro’s ability to think freely and strive for new discoveries by removing from her the name “Chihiro,” which represents such things specifically. As the film’s story progresses, and Chihiro’s character develops, she more and more begins to show the traits her name represents; she becomes a strong and independent thinker, unafraid to push forward on her own. She stubbornly refuses to take no for an answer, doesn’t give up despite her fear, and shows love and compassion where no one else will. And she does these things in spite of her name being taken from her, which makes her actions all the more powerful. Despite losing her name, she doesn’t lose herself. Sometimes I’m tempted to lose my sense of self when I have a stressful day at work or am facing an irate customer. But Chihiro’s battle for self-worth inspires me. Her story reminds me that no matter how worthless people tell me I am, I can still be confident that I am of value, that I matter. And if I don’t forget that, I can accomplish things I otherwise wouldn’t have the courage to try. w AOE MAGAZINE • 21

OUR MINIONS One may assume that the nerd and geek community can be found in the sciences, but as a community there is an extremely high value placed on the arts as well. From comics, graphic novels, literature, video games, board games, TV, film, roleplaying, storytelling, costuming, cosplay and countless others are the cornerstones from which the community holds itself up. Area of Effect’s desires to support and showcase these artists. Our writers are from North America and our artists come from all over the world.

Claudia Gironi soyungnomo. /GnomoArtista


Gnomo del Bo

Cover Artist


Contributing Ar

JesÚs Campos Jiménez

Justin Currie

Contributing Artist

Darren Carnall

Contributing Artist

Mathias Fontmarty

Contributing Artis


Contributing Artist

Shuyang Dai

Jonas JÖdicke

Contributing Artist 22 • AOE MAGAZINE

Contributing Artist

Kyle Rudge Admiral

Kyle is the founder of Geekdom House. He comes most alive when he is telling stories, whether in print or on stage, and is a web developer and programmer with a strong tendency to be distracted by marathon watching TV shows.

Allison Barron Commander

Jamie Arpin-Ricci is the author of Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick. He pastors Little Flowers Community in the inner city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Mark Barron

Guest Writer

Michael Boyce Paranoid Android

Jason Dueck

Michael Penner Guest Writer

nfirmed Science has co positiveds Mark respon d video ly to anime ans favourite games. Mark’ mozza things inclue Little sticks and My musician Pony. He is a mer in and a program itoba. Winnipeg, Man


Casey Covel

An INTJ and self-proclaimed connoisseur of chocolate, tea, and suishi, Casey spends her free time in Florida cosplaying, writing, gaming, philosophizing, squinting at strange words, and watching Corgi videos.

Kyla Neufeld

Kyla has been studying Tolkien’s works since a young age. She is a poet, writer, and editor living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has a BA in Creative Writing, and currently works as the managing editor of Geez magazine.

Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry

Jen is an opinionated, mouthy girl from New Jersey. She loves to write about geeky topics in light of her faith. Jen currently works for a Catholic Church, practices martial arts, and cares for her family and pets.

Michael teaches English Literature and Film Studies in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He’s published on Hitchcock, Alec Guinness, and James Bond. And he likes coffee. A lot.

Ewok Translator

The managing editor of Area of Effect, Allison is the Galadriel of the team, offering wisdom where needed but turning treacherous as the sea when competitive board games are involved. She has a BA in English and certificate in Publishing.

Keyblade Master

From Captain Kirk to Commander Shepard Jason’s love for science, fiction extends to the final frontier. When Jason’s not geeking out, he’s studying communications at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Mike is an equal opportunity geek, with interests ranging from math and board games to sports and music. He finds joy in helping people grow and succeed through shared experience.

Elven Scribe

Mad Scientist


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