In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, crossposted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Last week Andrew Klavan started a discussion at his blog about the scariest movie ghosts:

Enough politics for a while, let’s talk movies. And let’s talk ghost stories specifically, one of my favorite kinds of movies. I’ve noticed the scare genre is not doing as well at the box office this year as it did last. Last year, there were a couple of monster hits, so to speak, like The Conjuring and Mama — though 2012′s Sinister was the last one that really grabbed me. This year…  Oculus…  The Quiet Ones…  Haven’t seen them so I’m not commenting, but they’re not doing great business.

However… to celebrate their release, put out a list by Jacob S. Hall of the “Ten Scariest Ghost Movies.” The list leaves out my favorite, The Innocents, and misses The Ring, Paranormal Activity and Lake Mungoall wonderful. But there are some definite good ones there: The Haunting, The Changeling, Poltergeist, The Devil’s Backbone — can’t argue with any of those. The Orphanage lost me on plot, but it had some fantastic scenes: that hide-and-seek game was spectacular. The Pulse and The Eye were good; The Innkeepers, I thought started too slow and then relied too much on boo-scares.

Read the rest of Klavan’s post. He argues that for a ghost movie to be really effective it must go beyond just cheap jump scares, to succeed it needs “ideas that really send a chill up your spine.”

In continuing the discussion started yesterday about Star Wars vs Star Trek, what villains in the world of sci-fi fantasy actually succeed at inspiring fear? What ideas lie behind them that make them so scary? How does one craft an effective villain for science fiction and fantasy stories?

What pop culture questions do you want to debate in the future? Leave suggestions in the comments.