Original content writer and “Jack of All Trades,” Andrew A. Koerner, joins Lytherus

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Andrew A. KoernerFor as long as I can remember, I’ve loved stories. I was reading before I stated school, and would use any excuse to show it off to anyone who would listen. I even tried my hand at writing (terrible) stories about my favorite toys. After years of jumping around from book to book through random selection, I stumbled into the fantasy genre, quite by accident, and fell in love. It was Rowling’s Harry Potter that introduced me to the world of fantasy, Paolini’s Eragon that kindled the flames, and Brooks’ The Scions of Shannara that turned me into a junkie. In high school, I began writing stories of my own, and after taking up an English for New Media major in college (as well as spending far too much time on TVTropes.org), I began to take interest in the art of storytelling itself, and how tales make the most of the medium they’re written in.

My tastes aren’t too particular. I’ll read books, play games, or watch TV or movies. I’ll give equal time to light and campy or dismal and gritty. After all, it’s the stories I’m after, and so many different stories can be told in so many different ways. I am, however, a sucker for worldbuilding, magic systems, and mythologies, and the more a story makes me laugh, the better.

Naturally, as a writer, I love books. However, as the necessary preparations for entering the “real world” have been eating up my free time and it’s easier to multitask while playing video games and watching television than it is to do anything while reading a book. Most of my current reading is in audiobook form. If I had to play favorites, I’d have to go with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, David Wong’s John Dies at the End, Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, and more recently, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Glen Cook’s The Black Company. That said, I’ll read pretty much any fantasy story. Even the cheesy stuff packed full of clichés. And I’ll still love it to death.

After years stuck on dial-up, sudden access to a fast internet opened up the magical world of streaming services to me, and I’ve been struggling to keep up with all the TV shows and anime I want to watch. I have a very strong preference for shows with long-running narratives over episodic ones, and most of my favorites tend to be—unsurprisingly—speculative fiction. On the Western front, I’m a big fan of LOST, Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, Firefly, Avatar: the Last Airbender, Arrested Development, Community and Siberia. Well, okay, Survivor too, though that one’s admittedly a guilty pleasure. I watch it for the social experiment, I swear! I also love anime, largely because the Eastern takes on things are still pretty new and exciting to me. Favorite series at the moment include Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Baccano!, One Piece, Fairy Tail, Fullmetal Alchemist, Darker than Black, and Death Note.

Most of my experience with video games has been limited to Nintendo. However, I recently built a decent PC that’s allowing me to catch up on approximately a decade of well-received games I’m behind on. There are a few younger franchises and stand-alone games I’ve fallen in love with (The World Ends With You, Portal and its sequel, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Spec Ops: the Line) and I’m currently trying to start up the Final Fantasy franchise, but the only long-running game series I’m a fan of are Fire Emblem and The Legend of Zelda, the latter of which I have an almost unhealthy love for.

In the end, though, I’m just some guy. Some normal guy living his normal life and doing normal things. And to be honest, I think that’s probably why I love speculative fiction so much. It lets me briefly touch the fantastic. To go somewhere else. To be someone else. For just a little bit, I can replace life’s monotony with something new and exciting. And that, to me, proves that there are still some forms of magic in this world.

Let’s discover them together, shall we?

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