Harry Potter and the Crisis of Sorting

It’s safe to say that Harry Potter blazed many paths. It brought life to a dying publishing industry, it launched the young adult and children’s genres into the mainstream, and it gave adults and children alike an outlet for their imaginations. But perhaps most importantly, it spawned one of the most important debates of our…

The Poor Teaching Practices of Professor Dumbledore

Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore was a great man. A champion of wizard and muggle rights, defender of the innocent, genius, scholar, warrior, philosopher, and general. Founder of the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore single-handedly stopped the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald’s reign of terror, kept the dangerous Elder Wand safe from those who would…

The Every Day Speculative Playlist

Are you looking for great new music for your study time, work time, or downtime? Well, here is a suggestion: look to the speculative. Speculative fiction has entertained you with books, stories, comics, and movies, and now it can be used for all your music-listening needs. All of the amazing films that you have admired for years…

Impractical Immortality: Do You Really Want to Live Forever?

Well, do you? Really? The idea of immortality, in one form or another, comes up frequently in speculative fiction: elves, Timelords, divine beings, cursed humans, and undying monsters are all easy to find between pages and on screens. Immortality is often a flexible concept, ranging from gods that are all-powerful and cannot die but can—with…

The Giants Made Me Eat My Spinach: From Then to Now

Giants.  From the English fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk” to the most recent iteration in the anime and manga Attack on Titan, giants are a well-established element of fantastical stories. However, as with all story elements, they are subject to evolution. Giants in some form or another had existed in folktales and stories well before…

My Human Library: How I Started Reading My Friends

My Human Library: How I Started Reading My Friends If I had a super power it would be the ability to read people like books. I mean, teleportation or shooting lasers from my eyes would definitely be fun for a while, but there’s something uniquely attractive to me about understanding the mechanics of being human….

Mentally Ill Monsters: Mental Illness in Horror

There are a few well-trodden settings for horror stories: the haunted house, the carnival, the ghost town, and—my area of interest—the asylum. This last setting has been used in such narratives as American Horror Story: Asylum, Outlast, and Shutter Island. While I am a proponent of exploring mental illness in stories, especially in speculative fiction,…

Gateways to Glory: an Interview with Brian Gottheil

Brian Gottheil is a University of Toronto Law alumnus and the author of Gateways, a self-published fantasy novel that he is launching March 29. As a journal for speculative fiction, The Spectatorial is thrilled to interview Brian about self-publishing fantasy fiction. This interview has been edited for length. Your Goodreads page describes your work as…

Getting Dragons on Screen: The Cycle of Readers and Viewers

At its birth, the literary elite refused to accept fantasy as a legitimate genre. Fire-barfing dragons, scantily clad elves, and steel-swinging hunks could not possibly make for capital “L” Literature. Even after the explosive popularity of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, and yes, even J.K. Rowling’s Harry…