On Writing Process: A Dissection (of sorts) of “Rappacinni’s Crow”

Raven

Can a raven be a sociopath?

Someone mentioned this as one of their favorite stories of mine, and I wanted, for selfish and egotistical reasons, to use it for the subject of a blog post, but I hope that I can in pulling it apart and explaining some decisions, shed a little light on both my process and writing in general.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it appears here on the excellent online publication Beneath Ceaseless Skies, or you can buy an e-copy on Amazon or Smashwords. If you’re too impatient, here are some of the pertinent details: steampunk world, asylum for those injured by the war, nurse with a secret, doctor with an evil crow, wacky hijinks ensure.

The story takes place in a dystopian steampunk setting that I’d wandered around the edges of previously in “Clockwork Fairies” and “Rare Pears and Greengages”. This story got me far enough into that territory that it spurred others: “Her Windowed Eyes, Her Chambered Heart,” “Snakes on a Train,” and “Laurel Finch, Laurel Finch, Where Do You Wander?” I’ve been calling the series Altered America, and you can see some of the images I’ve used for inspiration here.

And the amount of effort involved in writing the protagonist that appeared to me scared me. Transgendered, Native American, poor, and disabled. How could I write that other without offending someone? Better folks than I have battered themselves against that question. But you can’t do something without trying, so I gave it a shot. I strove to do my best by my protagonist: to explain his background, his history, the way he thought, and his relationship with Jesus. Which is another way my character is unlike me: he is struggling with his Christianity, while I’m Unitarian, a faith that has taught me a great deal, and which I embrace, but which draws on, rather than consists wholly of, Christianity.
Continue reading

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Guest Post: Bitterballen – Carleton Chinner Presents The Tastiest Snack You’ve Never Heard Of

Far further back than I care to admit, the large newspaper I worked for sent me to Amsterdam to attend a trade show. In among the many adventures I had on that trip, I discovered the incredible variety of cuisines that make Amsterdam such a pleasure to visit. The glories of a spread of rijsttafel dishes, gouda cheeses, crisp Dutch beers, and so many others. One of my favourite discoveries was bitterballen the crunchy bar snack with a savory creamy filling that were served alongside beers.

It got me thinking about culture and how food transcends boundaries. Rijstaffel (rice table) is the Dutch version of Indonesian cookery. It dates back to the glory days of the Dutch East India Company, where creaking wooden barques made the perilous journey around the Cape of Storms to venture to the far east colony of Batavia (present day Indonesia). The ships would return laden with exotic spices like nutmeg, mace, and cloves dried and sometimes ground to powder to survive the long journey back to Holland. At a time when the Dutch Republic was entering its golden age, cooks could not get enough of these new flavours and sought out exotic flavours and colours to impress their guest with a dazzling array of dishes.

The sailors also brought recipes back with them, curries, nasi goreng, gado gado sambals,fried bananas and others. Back in Amsterdam people tried to make these recipes, but lacking the fresh ingredients, they substituted dried spices.

While the colonial excesses of the rijsttafel banquets have long since fallen out of favour in Indonesia, they remain a staple of Dutch restaurant fare, as former colonials returned following independence.

What’s in a name? Bitterballen are part of the larger tradition of bittergarnituur, or savoury snacks to serve with beer. Ballen being the Dutch plural for ball. So, essentially, savoury balls to have with beer.

Bitterballen are one such incarnation of the mixture of cultures permeating Dutch food. The basic recipe was probably taken from a French croquette filled with ragout, a traditional way of using leftover meat. The filling is shredded cooked meat mixed with a thick roux, to which with the addition of nutmeg brings an exotic flavour.

In my latest science fiction novel, Plato Crater, Holly a young thief is sentenced to community service in one of the only antique rijsttafel restaurants still licensed to burn hydrocarbons. One of the first dishes she learns to cook is bitterballen. This is how I imagined the recipe to be:

INGREDIENTS

    For the filling:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 cups of shredded cooked beef or veal (usually taken from last night’s leftovers)
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp powdered nutmeg
  • ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
    For the breading:

  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pan, sauté the onions in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add the butter and once melted, add the flour slowly to make a roux.
  3. Gradually add the broth, while stirring continuously to ensure that the roux absorbs the liquid.
  4. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add meat and parsley. Cook for around two minutes until the mixture resembles a thick gravy. Stir in the salt, pepper, parmesan and nutmeg.
  6. Transfer the filling mixture to a shallow container and refrigerate for 2 hours or until is has a solid consistency.
  7. Take a spoonful of mixture and roll it into a ball the size of a golf ball.
  8. Dredge the bitterballen in the all-purpose flour, then the egg wash and finally roll it the breadcrumbs. This should make around 20 bitterballen.
  9. Place the bitterballen on a shallow tray in the to the freezer for 30 minutes before frying.
  10. Prepare oil for deepfrying, either using a small saucepan or a deep fryer.
  11. Fry the bitterballen, a few at a time, until golden brown, remove and set on a plate covered in paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  12. Now open a crisp Amstel or pale lager, and serve the bitterballen hot, with a side of Dijon or grainy mustard.

About the Author

CARLETON CHINNER is an Australian born writer who grew up on a remote farm in South Africa, where the trip to the town library was the highlight of his week. He devoured anything science fiction, fantasy and horror. And, when that wasn’t enough, turned to urban legend and traditional tribal histories which combined to provide a heady brew of stories.
He has settled in Australia as an adult but not before turning up unarmed at a gunfight, discovering dead bodies and fighting off sharks while spearfishing. When not writing, he works as a project manager on large corporate programs. Follow him on Twitter @sunfishau

The CITIES OF THE MOON series is Chinner’s debut series, now available as POD and in ebook form from good online stores everywhere. Book 2 Plato Crater is available from 31 October.

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Guest Post: J.D. Moyer on Writer’s Workshops with Kim Stanley Robinson

I recently attended a writing workshop with Kim Stanley Robinson via the Locus Writers Workshop series. The workshop was in Oakland, California (where I live), near the Locus offices, and Kim Stanley Robinson is one of my favorite authors. Signing up was a no-brainer.

Over the course of the day, Kim Stanley Robinson (who goes by Stan) was generous and helpful. His advice was insightful, and sometimes counterintuitive. And there was a lot of it; he’s written for decades and has no shortage of opinions on craft, the writing life, MFA programs, and reviewers. I took copious notes.

Five weeks after the workshop, with time to synthesize, some of that advice stood out. Here are some of the highlights:

On Craft:

  • Pacing. This was Stan’s biggest focus, in terms of writing craft. He contrasted the breakneck, action-filled Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan plots to the glacial but equally gripping pace of Proust’s novels, which include numerous thoughts and impressions. He emphasized that a slower pace, that includes the internal perspectives of the characters, is something that cinema can’t do. He encouraged us to experiment with elastic pacing over the course of a story, speeding up over less interesting bits, and slowing down for pivotal moments.
  • Prose vs. cinema. Adherence to the “show don’t tell” advice can lead some writers to take on an overly cinematic style, describing only what happens externally, and unnecessarily avoiding both character internality and useful summary/exposition. At the same time, experimenting with a strict “camera eye POV” can be a useful writing exercise.
  • Plot. Stan suggested we try to maximize both drama and believability. When you have an idea, interrogate the idea – consider how would it really happen. Though not every story needs to be completely realistic – some stories are waking dreams. Never point out or draw attention to the thin ice (low believability). Skate fast over thin ice. (I was surprised by this point because Stan’s work is so obviously well-researched – but ultimately every science fiction writer needs to make some things up)
  • .

On Career:
• With practice and perseverance, you can get published and have some kind of writing career. But there’s no way to force blockbuster success; there’s too much luck involved.
• It’s much better to have no agent than a bad agent. Don’t take on an agent that tries to edit your work. Be cautious and meet a potential agent in person before entering into a contractual agreement.
• On being a full-time writer (vs. having another job): Don’t do the crash and burn thing, don’t write or die. There’s no shame in the part time job. Life needs to be paid for. Don’t starve. He’s seen a lot of people jump off financial cliffs and just crash.

Anecdotes:
• Stan was writing a novel called Green Mars but was worried it would be too long; he was several hundred pages in, and the characters hadn’t yet arrived on Mars. Sharing that concern with his agent, his agent replied “Stan, we call that a trilogy.”
• On Iain Banks: In contrast to Stan’s messy, incomplete first drafts and laborious, multiple subsequent drafts, his friend Iain Banks had a different style. From January through September he would drive to various locations in Scotland and hike the hills, thinking about his next novel and taking a few notes. Then, from October 1st through the end of the year, he would sit down and write a nearly perfect first draft.

Things Stan Dislikes:
• MFA programs. Most writing programs teach three truisms that aren’t consistent — 1) write what you know, 2) find your voice, 3) show don’t tell. Stan’s take is instead to 1) write what you suspect, 2) find your narrator’s voice, and 3) use exposition sensibly.
• The New York literary establishment. Stan admitted he has a big chip on his shoulder in regards to how genre fiction is artificially segregated from literary fiction, and generally looked down upon by the NY literary scene.
• Fantasy. Stan isn’t a big fan of fantasy. To sum up his feelings, he quoted H.G. Wells: “Where anything can happen, nothing is interesting.” Some of us protested that most fantasy is not “anything goes,” but from his point of view, creating a system of rules for magic becomes pseudoscience, or the bureaucratization of magic.

General Advice:
• Read and write poetry, even if you’re bad at it. It exercises a different part of the writing brain (than prose).
• Keep a list of every book you read. When asked why, Stan said “I don’t know!” But on further reflection, he finds it to be a valuable practice for knowing where your head was at during a particular time, what influenced you.
• Don’t be a writing prima donna, demanding special conditions for your writing to occur. Fit your daily writing in, despite the daily pressures of life. Have a writing routine, but also be flexible and adaptable. Make it work.

There was much more than this. Someone else who attended the workshop might have an entirely different set of impressions. I should also point out that I may have gotten some things wrong, that what I remembered or wrote in my notes might not have been what Stan intended to convey. But I think I got the gist of most of it. And I found the workshop as a whole to be incredibly valuable and encouraging.

If you get a chance, I’d encourage authors to check out the Locus Writer’s Workshop series. The next one is December 9th, with Gail Carriger, on The Heroine’s Journey.
https://locusmag.com/locus-master-class-gail-carriger-december-2018/

J.D. Moyer lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, daughter, and mystery-breed dog. He writes science fiction, produces electronic music in two groups (Jondi & Spesh and Momu), runs a record label (Loöq Records), blogs at jdmoyer.com, and tweets from @johndavidmoyer. His stories have appeared in F&SF, Strange Horizons, IGMS, and Compelling Science Fiction. His debut science fiction novel The Sky Woman was recently published on Flame Tree Press.

Want to take a writing class but don’t have the time or travel money? Check out the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, which offers live and on-demand writing classes aimed at fantasy and science fiction writers.

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Alas Poor Ginger, Wherefore Art Thou: Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Ginger

I’m very fond of crystallized ginger, and accordingly I am substantially less fond of the Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Ginger, whose ginger to “rich dark chocolate” ratio is weighted in chocolate’s favor to the point that the ginger is nigh imperceptible.

The ingredients promise Australian crystalized ginger, and I do appreciate that Trader Joe’s, the J. Peterman of foodstuffs, has resisted the urge to embroider the tale with “harvested by koalas” or a story about backpacking across the outback while noshing on these or anything of that nature. But what’s given us instead of tasty, delicious ginger is waxy and overly sweet dark chocolate that is unappealing and which hosts a poverty of taste that is far from the promised richness.

The label makes no mention of fair trade or ethically sourced chocolate, which is honest, at least, and not the sort of “3% of our cacao beans are ethically sourced” shenanigans that some companies engage in. The smallish bag holds eight servings of what they claim is a 1/4 cup each, but these are apparently servings where the bits of chocolate repel each other, thereby taking up twice as much space in a measuring cup than normal.

All in all, a disappointing snack best suited to eating 3 am in an international airport, killing a few hours at a deserted gate while waiting for a lengthy flight, already sunk in ennui and listening to the echoes of the janitor’s footsteps as they mop a nearby lobby.

You can read this story at http://thegreenmanreview.com/food-and-drink/alas-poor-ginger-wherefore-art-thou-trader-joes-dark-chocolate-covered-ginger/

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Recent Reading: Wolves, Wives, Knives, Curses, A Hospital, and a Henchgirl

The works read but yet to be reviewed are piling up, so here’s a new roundup to clear away part of the deluge.

The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley is a retelling of Beowulf from the monster’s point of view, set in a possibly not-so-future world where the rich live in protected enclaves. Stark and beautifully told, the story raises the question of who the actual monsters are and whether they haven’t been residing in us all along. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; release date 17 July 2018)

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn is the second in what feels very much like a series, following A Perilous Undertaking. It reads a lot like Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series but with a much more sexually outspoken protagonist named Veronica Speedwell and a dose of fantasy. I initially thought Speedwell’s love interest was Bram Stoker, which actually turned out not to be the case. A fun, light read. (Berkeley Original, 2018)

The Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman is entertaining urban fantasy in the police procedural tradition, and will remind the reader of a Ben Aaronovitch novel with a slightly smaller cast. Meerkat has been putting out some very solid stuff, and this is another example of that. (Meerkat Press, 2017)

Two graphic novels, very different from each other, round out the list. The first is Freedom Hospital: A Syrian Story by Hamid Sulaiman, winner of the English PEN Award. This book is graphic, a brutal and heart-wrenching introduction to conditions in Syria in 2012. The art is simple, sometimes with the quality of a slogan stenciled on a wall: I could image image after image from the book used in that way. Recommended but not light reading. (Interlink Publishing Inc., 2018 American Edition)

Henchgirl, by Kristen Gudsnuk, comes from Dark Horse Books and is a fun exploration of the economics of supervillainy, particularly for the minions and henchfolk just trying to make an honest living. Clear and charming drawing with a nice sense of whimsy. (Dark Horse Books, 2017)

You can read this at http://thegreenmanreview.com/books/recent-reading-wolves-wives-knives-curses-a-hospital-and-a-henchgirl/

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Round-up of Awards Posts by F&SF Writers, Editors, and Publishers for 2018

Image of a Christmas tree made out of books. Photo by Cat Rambo; all rights reserved.It’s that season again! Here’s a collection of awards-eligibility posts from fantasy and science fiction authors and publishing peeps:

Writers:

Editors:

Magazines:

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CyberMonday Coupons for the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers

If you’re gift-buying, be aware you can gift one of my classes, both live and on-demand ones! Just drop me a line about what you’d like to do and I’m happy to send the gift certificate in virtual or physical form! Order before Tuesday, November 27th, when I’m back at home to fill the first batch of orders, and I’ll give you an extra 10% off. Check the link below to see what’s available!

Live classes
On-demand classes

And if you want something for yourself, here’s some 25% off coupons for the on-demand classes:

Make sure you’ve entered the November giveaway!
The November giveaway is TWO coaching sessions. Use them both yourself, or give one away to a friend. To enter, mail me with the subject line: November 2018 Giveaway by midnight, November 30, 2018.

To the NaNoWriMoers – you’ve got a week left and I’m cheering for you! Go go go!

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Pilot’s Varsity Disposable Fountain-Pens

I do a good bit of writing by hand, usually in a large hardbound sketchbook, although I sometimes like the feel of a nice narrow yellow-lined pad or the sprawl of an enormous expanse of drawing paper. And to write on these, while sometimes I’ll wander over into glitter gel pens or fine-point felt tips, my favorite is the Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen.

Depending on where you’re getting it, the price varies from $3-10, with the high range of that usually appearing in fancy stores aimed at writers, which will strategically place a mug of them near that stack of leatherbound, gilt-edged journals locking with tiny moon and star clasps whose splendor will prove so intimidating to live up to that you will never actually use it. Overall, it will prove much cheaper to buy yours at an art supply store, which is where I get mine, since I go through at least a few each month.

I like writing with this pen because it never feels as though the nib and paper are dragging at each other. The nib could best be described as medium, somewhere well between broad point and narrow. The pen comes in a variety of shades and shows clearly what color it is at both the top and the bottom. For me, the availability of the color depends on how recently the store’s restocked, but the web tells me it comes in black, navy blue, red, green, pink, purple, and turquoise blue.

My only quibble with the pen is a small one that may not apply to many people’s experience. I am tough on pens. They end up jammed in purses, pockets, lost in coat linings, moved from one book bag to another. And so if your treatment of your possessions is overall gentler, which it probably is, you may not experience the same results I do, which is that about one in twenty pens ends up not exploding so much as getting a bit drippy to the point of ink-stained fingers.

You can read this review at http://thegreenmanreview.com/what-nots/making-words-flow-with-pilot-varsity-fountain-pens/

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Chuao Chocolatier’s Chocolate Bars with All the Add-ins

Here in America we like our add-ins, ice cream and candy full of other candy, nuts, random sweets, and sometimes savories. Chuao (pronounced Chew-WOW) has a shelf-load of such, chocolate bars with all the goodies, created by Venezuelan chef Michael Antonorsi.

Most of the bars I tried were terrific but some are more successful than others. Idiosyncrasies of taste may make a difference; when I tweeted about the one I really disliked, someone mentioned that was their favorite, and bemoaned not being able to find it. And it’s not entirely fair to stack dark chocolate up against milk, particularly given that my sweet tooth resembles that of a six-year-old’s. Still, I present them in order of how much I liked them, from most to least.

First up, the “Baconluxious”. Described as “delicate maple sweetness, a sprinkle of bonfire smoked sea salt and crispy, uncured bacon in milk chocolate.” This had a nice aroma and when tasted, an immediate smoothness to its mouth feel, followed by a wash of saltiness and not-unpleasant grittiness before the final bacon note, leaving just a few salt crystals to be crunched between the tooth and savored. This was delicious to the point where I thought I would and then did readily pick one of these up again. And probably will again and again.

For the ingredient conscious, this 2.8 oz bar clocks in at 420 calories per bar (the label does the usual this is really 2 servings thing). It is 41% milk chocolate; 67% Fair Trade Certified, which means that up to 33% of it may come from places using child labor or other unfair trade practices. (Looking at these percentages was an interesting exercise; no bar was the same and it’s something I’m going to watch for, going forward.) No mention of non-GMO ingredients.

This was followed by the “Firecracker”. Described as “sea salt, a dash of chipotle and popping candy crackle in dark chocolate,” this had a lovely spicy saltiness that the sharp crackle accentuated, and a nice after crunch, all against a palatable dark chocolate background.

This bar is 400 calories total. It is 60% dark chocolate; marked as ethically sourced cocoa but not Fair Trade Certified, which means that up to 100% of it may come from places using child labor. However, it is non-GMO ingredients.

Marshmallow issues. Nickel provided for scale. Bonus: practice chocomancy by reading images formed in bars by marshmallow constellations.

Both of these were good and so was the “Oh my S’mores”. Described as “fluffy marshmallows and crushed honey graham crackers reunite in milk chocolate.” This held delightful toffee bits, somewhat sandy graham cracker crumbs, and a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to conquer the marshmallow issue by scattering mini marshmallows on the bottom of the bar, resulting in a layer of projecting marshmallows and air.
This bar is 380 calories in total. It is 49% Fair Trade Certified and the marshmallows are specifically non-GMO, while other ingredients are unspecified.

Fourth in line was the “Honeycomb”. Described as “luscious organic honey caramelized into crisp bits and enrobed in dark chocolate.” This had a surprisingly lovely honey note, very alive, that worked well with the dark chocolate.

This bar is 380 calories in total, and 60% dark chocolate. Ingredients specify that the honey contained in the bar is actual caramelized honey and that bee and honey dipper are not included, no mention is made of non-GMO ingredients. It is 95% fair trade certified.

For example of textual inconsistency of presentation, these little aphorisms are cute but three describe the bar while two don’t. The honey one has a funny bit of whimsy in the ingredient list.

We finish with “Pop Corn Pop”, which I did not like. The label describes it as “inspired by that familiar flavor you love, with a surprising POP in milk chocolate.” This bar had a strong nutty flavor and not much to recommend it; the additions are bits of corn chip, which I found an unpleasant combo, and popping candy, all in milk chocolate.
This bar is 420 calories in total. It is not Fair Trade certified and no mention is made of non GMO ingredients.

The variances of text notes like Fair Trade proportions and non GMO ingredients from bar to bar reflects the varied demands of candy-making but does mean that consumers concerned about such things should be careful about reading the label. There are a number of inconsistencies across the labeling that make the overall presentation feel a bit incoherent here and there, but note I am a writer and tend to have strong opinions about these things that do not matter to most chocolate consumers.

You can read this review at http://thegreenmanreview.com/food-and-drink/chuao-chocolatier-all-the-add-ins/

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Guest Post: What Happened to Sabrina?

As I drank my morning coffee and scrolled through Twitter one morning, I stumbled upon a preview for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. At first, I didn’t quite realize where it was from. The name sounded familiar, them it hit me! It was a reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I was instantly intrigued. I thought, if the executive producers of Riverdale worked on it, it must good right?

Sabrina from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Before I get into talking about the gritty Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I should start at the roots. Now, I understand comparing a sitcom to a gritty satan loving Netflix original is quite silly, but hear me out.

I am one for originals so let me start with Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Of course I had watched the new version first, but for the sake of old times, I revisited the original. And may I say, it was everything I missed. Hilda and Zelda’s relationship was like every sister’s relationship. They would get on each others nerves but in the end they always looked out for each other. Sabrina was also their pride and joy and would do anything for her!

Hilda, Zelda and Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Sabrina, in the sitcom, I found to be very brave and thoughtful. The moment she found out she was a witch, she used her magic for her friends and yes, sometimes her uses could be selfish. However, all of her uses of her magic, no matter what it was used for, came from the heart. Especially when it came to Harvey, who as you may know is her soulmate. Despite him being her boyfriend throughout the series, it never stopped Sabrina from pursuing her dream. Sabrina had also always been passionate about her studies and succeeding. This is part of the reason why I have always loved her as a character.

Salem takes the cake though. He is a comedic gift from the Gods. I mean it when I say Salem is the best character on the show. As most of you probably know, Salem is their family cat and has been with Hilda and Zelda for years. Salem is their familiar, but Salem has a backstory which is undeniably hilarious. Salem was originally a witch, but after attempting world domination, he was sentenced to hundreds of years of being a cat. Despite him being a cat, that doesn’t stop him from causing tons of shenanigans throughout the series. This just gives him more character.

Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Yes, it may be goofy and yes, it may not be gritty, but it’s lighthearted. Sometimes, you just need a little laugh.

Now that I have clearly state my love for the 90s sitcom, I should state my thoughts on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

Now, in this series being a witch is no surprise for Sabrina unlike in the Sitcom. She has known she was a witch since she was little and in this series, her parents have passed leaving Hilda and Zelda (including her cousin Ambrose, who was not in the sitcom) to take care of her. In the sitcom, Sabrina isn’t allowed contact with her mortal mother or her mother will be turned into a ball of wax. Her father, in the sitcom, was out traveling and working. The way they approached her parents in the Netflix series was just rather bleak.

Salem the cat in the new series, does not talk. He also does not have his awesome backstory not to mention that Sabrina attains Salem by summoning her own familiar. I would have nothing against this way of approaching introducing Salem. In fact, it is more or less that I’m angry that Salem doesn’t talk. He doesn’t bring anything to the table in the new series. Salem, in fact, is hardly shown in the show despite him being very important in the sitcom version.

Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

You may say that it’s petty of me to be upset about a cat, but Salem is apart of the Spellman family, so to not include him in the new series seems ridiculous to me.

Now, let’s talk about Harvey. This is something that I hold a lot of thoughts on. In the sitcom Harvey is a doof. He’s goofy and somehow never found out that Sabrina was a witch for years. Netflix must’ve upped Harvey’s IQ because he does not skip a beat in the new series. Not to mention the fact that despite Harvey being Sabrina’s boyfriend, he was always sort of a side character.

In the Netflix series, you are introduced to Harvey’s family. Of course, you’ve had some backstory for Harvey in the sitcom. You knew his parents were together, he had sibling and his dad worked as an exterminator. In the Netflix series, Harvey has a brother and a dad, and his dad works in a mine. His dad, in the Netflix series, is rather aggressive and abusive, which was never established in the sitcom.

My final comparison about Harvey comes to his reaction to when he finds out that Sabrina is a witch. In both series Harvey is clearly did not handle Sabrina being a witch very well. In the sitcom Harvey ends up breaking up with Sabrina for a very short moment. Towards the end of the series, Harvey ends up patching up things with Sabrina. In fact, they end up becoming very good friends like they did in the beginning of the sitcom. In the Netflix series, Harvey wants to end all ties with her. He acted like being a witch was the equivalent of being a monster. In fact, even when Sabrina tries to patch things up and help Harvey, he still treats her like a monster.

Harvey and Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

This leaves me to my final thoughts. I would like to end this post talking about how the two series deal with the topic of witches. In the sitcom, they treated witches differently than in the Netflix series. In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, all the witches lived harmoniously. They had their own government, The Witches Council, and lived in what they called the Other Realm. However, some witches chose to live in the mortal realm, which is earth.

In the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, they use cliche witch backgrounds. They make them seem quite evil when they really are not. Of course I am not saying there aren’t any witch stereotypes in the sitcom. In the sitcom, they have their familiars and also make potions in cauldrons, however, those do not compare to the stereotypes portrayed in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, they portray witches like every media platform does. This bothered me the most.

From the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I love the sitcom because it is not full of stereotypes. It doesn’t make witches out to be Satan loving monsters. Not all witches, in my opinion, are Satan loving monsters. I understand they wanted to make a gritty remake, but what made the sitcom so original to me was how lighthearted it was, even if they did touch up on difficult topics.

The way Netflix portrayed witches to me was something that I’ve seen so many times before. Making witches Satan worshippers is so. . .overused and not at all true. Today, there are people who identify as witches who do not worship Satan. I find the use to having a “dark baptism” and celebrating their “lord Satan” in the Netflix series is stereotyping and frankly, rude.

From the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I’m not saying the Netflix series is all bad. There are aspects of the show that are enjoyable. However, it was not my favorite. I found there to be a lot of things I did not enjoy. Not to mention, there are things I would definitely tweak, but overall, the editing was well done and I believe it was well produced. Although, I’d take a goofy talking cat in a silly sitcom any day.

Lou is a writer of rom coms, eater of pizza, lover of 90s boybands and cat enthusiast. You can follow her on Twitter at @aweosmewriter.

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