There needs to be a serious fucking cultural conversation about the storytelling desire to turn everyone into an edgy badass that thinks all problems are best solved with violence and what the overwhelming prevalence of that narrative is doing to our brains.

Alex Acks

We want to start that cultural conversation right here on Breaking the Glass Slipper. Luckily for us, Alex agreed to come on the show to help!

Mentioned in this episode:

  • Military worship!
  • Rugged individualism!
  • Radical kindness!
  • The Patriarchy!


  • The Matrix
  • Star Trek (inevitably)
  • Sailor Moon
  • Bleach
  • MacGyver
  • Spy
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • The Good Place
  • The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
  • The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
  • Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Beginning with the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of badass, we discuss the images and stereotypes the term conjures up. Ranging from US gun laws to Hollywood, Jean-Luc Picard to Sailor Moon, we ask why we’ve become so obsessed with violence. When our heroes make it their go-to response, what sets them apart from our villains? Is it too late to change the narrative surrounding the term? We end by asking: who or what could serve as our new model badass?

Alex Acks is an award-winning writer, geologist, and dapper AF. Angry Robot Books has published their novels HUNGER MAKES THE WOLF (winner of the Kitschies Golden Tentacle award) and BLOOD BINDS THE PACK under the pen name Alex Wells. Their award-nominated steampunk collection MURDER ON THE TITANIA AND OTHER STEAM-POWRED ADVENTURES and its sequel are published by Queen of Swords Press. They’ve written scripts for Six to Start and been published in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, Shimmer, and more. Alex lives in Denver.