I love Sansa's story because we so rarely see its kind in genre fiction. I like Arya too, but "orphaned kid becomes super ninja assassin" is such a trope now, even if I find Martin's take (part spiritual awakening, part descent into sociopathy) an interesting version. Meanwhile, fantasy fiction is full of master… » 12/18/14 2:18pm Thursday 2:18pm

The Abrahamic religions' opposition to witchcraft is founded on the notion that magic involves pacts with demons, false gods, or otherwise attempts to beseech a power other than God's. As far as I can remember, no wizard or witch in the HP novels, not even the Death Eaters, call upon any outside entity for their… » 12/18/14 9:51am Thursday 9:51am

No, duels are dangerous. With guns or swords there's a very real possibility of maiming or death, even if you're the victor. Especially in an era before modern hygiene and trained physicians. It's gang violence that's natural. Why take the risk of maiming or death alone, when you can spread the risk among several… » 12/17/14 10:57am Wednesday 10:57am

This was really fun, and I need to run out and read the other two books in this series. What really stood out was the premise. There are dozens of genre books about tomboyish girls who break out of prescribed gender roles and make it in a man's world. Katherine is different: she wants to wear pretty dresses and be… » 12/17/14 8:02am Wednesday 8:02am

I'm torn. On the one hand, I agree that our emotions are part and parcel of our sapience, and I'm not aware of much evidence you can completely divorce rationality from emotion or perceptual bias. On the other hand, artificial intelligences won't be the product of millions of years of evolution—"Darwinian baggage",… » 12/16/14 12:06pm Tuesday 12:06pm