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Posts Tagged ‘Fallout 76’

Excuse me while my feminist side rears her lovely head. Things I’m encountering are prodding me to think about how female leadership is portrayed in the stories we tell.

In my current video game, Fallout ’76, America was destroyed in a nuclear war. After spending 25 years in a fallout shelter, my character is roaming what used to be West Virginia. There are no other humans left except vault dwellers like me (a. k. a. the other players). But I do encounter various factions of survivors — or what’s left of them.

For most of these factions, the leaders are/were women. Awesome! Female empowerment. But then, uh-oh — they’re all dead, along with every member of their group. You take on a quest line, hoping to connect with this woman and her organization, and at the end you find her body. With some loot, of course. Time for the next quest line!

Of the post-apocalyptic survivor groups I’ve encountered so far, seven of them were led by women. I have found three bodies, two have disappeared without a trace, one was replaced by a robot that thinks it’s her, and one I’m still searching for. (Not with much hope.)

On the masculine side, three groups were led by men. One was replaced by a robot and I haven’t found the other two’s bodies. There is another faction that I don’t know yet who led them.

Okay, it’s the post-apocalypse. It’s a given that almost everyone is dead. But the unbalanced ratio is telling.

So I alternate between happiness (Cool, women leaders are in the post-apocalypse) and depression (Oh, women can’t be leaders UNTIL the world ends). It’s good that women are shown to lead. But then all their leadership ends in failure.

As the title says, I’m conflicted. What is the message here? Are the game writers showing women as leaders, just to prove that women shouldn’t be allowed to lead? Maybe they didn’t want to show males communicating through the angsty audio recordings we get from the females. Maybe they wanted to be inclusive but didn’t think about the subtext.

Maybe, even they don’t know. But I kind of think they should.


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This will be just a quick recap of what I’ve been working on so far in 2020. I had a goal to finish a short story, and I did it. “It’s a Dirty Job” is a chill science fiction that ended up around 2,500 words. It was intended for my children’s pen name, Lucy D. Ford. Unfortunately, the youth magazines don’t want work over 2,000 words. So it’s on submission under my own name. Poor Lucy will have to wait.

I also began work on my fourth Minstrels of Skaythe novella. The tentative title is Prisoners of the Wailing Tower. So far I’ve got around 1,000 words, which barely puts a toe into it. I’m loving the way the setting has come together, but the POV character is fairly blank. Come on, Alemin, work with me!

When I get home from my day job, I have a little time set aside for video games. My current game is Fallout 76, which was a Christmas gift. My character has emerged after 25 years in a fallout shelter into what was West Virginia. It’s a survival game, so I have to search for food, water and shelter while exploring what happened above ground during the 25 years.

In most of these games, you go around the villages and get quests from people. Here, there are no people left. The only humans are other players, but I prefer a solo game, so I leave them alone. I can follow the story by finding audio tapes and newspapers. I’m enjoying a game that’s less scripted and forces me to think rather than rush into situations. However, my character dies a lot and I can lose some resources I’ve collected. One more thing to plan for in Appalachia.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my web site, Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter!

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