Turning the Cyclopean Up to 11: Fiona Maeve Geist’s “Red Stars / White Snow / Black Metal”


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Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

This week, we’re reading Fiona Maeve Geist’s “Red Stars/White Snow/Black Metal,” first published in Robert S. Wilson’s Ashes and Entropy anthology in 2018. Spoilers ahead, but it’s worth reading on your own.

“So Kelsey grasps the thread and finds herself across the Atlantic, stuffing her hands into the worn-out pockets of her black denim vest—the sharp, white, goetic scrawls metled in alignment by lighter-touched dental floss announcing her arrival: a black sun strangled by the coils of skeletal snakes emblazoned across her back as she lights a cigarette from a black box.”

Journalist Kelsey wakes from troubled dreams in the bathroom of a Moscow hostel, where she pukes empty-stomach bile. If flooding memory serves, what a long ...

Redemption, Remaking, and Revolution: Natalie C. Parker’s Steel Tide


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Caledonia Styx returns knife-quick and bright as ever in Steel Tide, the thrilling, propulsive second installment of the Seafire trilogy. The novel picks up right where the first left off, Caledonia’s seafaring sisterhood pitted against the drugged and manipulated Bullet army, which is led by the vicious Aric Athair. A failed plot to destroy Aric and the murderous Bullet, Lir, leaves Caledonia horribly wounded and, worse, separated from her crew. She wakes to find herself recuperating in a camp of unlikely allies: former Bullets.

They call themselves Blades, and they hate Aric and the Bullets just as much as Caledonia—they know his tyranny firsthand. It’s not easy at first for Caledonia to trust a former Bullet—the first time she did, it cost her nearly everything. The second time, though, it gave her Oren, who became invaluable to the crew of the Mors Navis, and to Caledonia herself. She can’t ...

QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics: A, A’ [A, A Prime] by Moto Hagio, Translated by Rachel Thorn


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Sometimes I start reading an older book, and it turns out to have QUILTBAG+ themes that no one mentioned. Over a year into doing the QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics reviews column—a lot of spreadsheeting and gathering books later—this still keeps on happening. I’m starting to wonder if it will ever be possible to run out of eligible work to review. And I don’t mean “this book has a possibly queer couple in the background” moments—I just came across a science fiction graphic novel with an intersex main character (!), originally published in 1984 and translated to English in 1997.

A, A’ [also written as A, A Prime] is a one-volume manga by Moto Hagio, one of the groundbreaking classic creators of shōjo manga, Japanese comics aimed at teenage girls. The book has three long chapters, which were originally published in serialized form both in Japanese and in English. I ...

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Section 31: Abyss


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Section 31: Abyss
Written by David Weddle and Jeffrey Lang
Publication Date: July 2001
Timeline: April 2376, three months after “What You Leave Behind”; two weeks after Avatar, Book One and Two

Progress: As Section 31: Abyss opens, something large—very large—is headed to DS9. This turns out to be Nog’s plan from Avatar, Book Two to solve the problem of the station’s power needs since the loss of its core: with the assistance of nine other Federation ships, Nog successfully transports Empok Nor, by warp, into the orbit of DS9. What a fantastic opening set piece.

Kira wants most non-tech personnel off the station during the delicate core transfer, and that includes Bashir and Ezri. On the cusp of this vacation, Bashir is approached by a Section 31 agent calling himself Cole, who tells Bashir about another genetically enhanced human, named Dr. Ethan Locken. Locken has betrayed S31 and ...

A Single Mom Raises a Superhero In the First Trailer for Raising Dion


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It’s hard enough being a single mom, but when the child you’re raising is a burgeoning superhero with tons of reality-bending abilities, this comes with an entirely different set of challenges. That’s the premise of Netflix’s new sci-fi drama series, Raising Dion, which just dropped its new trailer.

Based on Dennis Liu and Jason Piperberg’s comic book, the series follows Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) as she takes on the upbringing of her preternaturally gifted son Dion (Ja’Siah Young) after her scientist husband Mark (Michael B. Jordan) dies in a mysterious accident, implied to be related to Dion’s as-yet-uncontrolled superpowers. As Dion explores his newfound abilities in some very visually striking ways (Floating milk and Froot Loops! Suspending fish in bubbles! Giving his mom a mini-fireworks show indoors!), Nicole has to juggle regular mom stuff with protecting her son from a conspiracy involving scientists who are tracking down people with ...

Damon Lindelof Reveals Lots of Worldbuilding Details in New Watchmen Show


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Watchmen HBO show logo

We, along with everyone else who has an HBO subscription, will be watching the Watchmen come October 20, and ahead of the series premiere, Damen Lindelof sat down with Entertainment Weekly for a deep-dive into the world of the show.

Previously, the showrunner revealed that the series would not be an adaptation of Alan Moore’s graphic novel, but instead a sequel, set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2019, that treats the original 12 issues as canon. In this alternate reality, Robert Redford has been president since 1992, and his reign has led to the complete ban of smartphones and Internet. Meanwhile, a Rorschach-mask-wearing white supremacist group called the Seventh Cavalry has been terrorizing Tulsa’s majority-black police force.

In his interview with EW, Lindelof revealed a lot more details about the world-building, as well as plenty of behind-the-scenes decisions that led to the making of the show. Here’s ...

A Quiet Hero’s Journey: Processing Trauma in Fantasy


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In The Goblin Emperor an airship explodes, killing the emperor and his three eldest sons. We later learn that this was not an accident, but the work of assassins. Later still, we learn that those assassins have been apprehended. Why am I telling you all of this? Doesn’t this ruin the book?

Not remotely, because the book isn’t about any of that. All of those action scenes, the scenes that would be in the trailer for Goblin Emperor: The Movie, happen off-page. Rather than showing us action sequences we’ve seen a thousand times, the book spends its time dealing honestly with aftermaths. As I read it I was reminded of another book that, on the surface, is quite different: Jo Walton’s Hugo-winning Among Others.

When the twins Morwenna and Morganna engage in magical battle with their mother, a witch who wants to destroy the world. It works, but at ...

Revealing the Cover for Alina Boyden’s Stealing Thunder — Plus Read Chapter One!


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We’re thrilled to reveal the cover for Alina Boyden’s Stealing Thunder, an immersive epic fantasy inspired by the Mughal Empire. Stealing Thunder publishes with Ace in May 2020—check out the full cover and preview an excerpt below!

In a different life, under a different name, Razia Khan was raised to be the Crown Prince of Nizam, the most powerful kingdom in Daryastan. Born with the soul of a woman, she ran away at a young age to escape her father’s hatred and live life true to herself.

Amongst the hijras of Bikampur, Razia finds sisterhood and discovers a new purpose in life. By day she’s one of her dera’s finest dancers, and by night its most profitable thief. But when her latest target leads her to cross paths with Arjun Agnivansha, Prince of Bikampur, it is she who has something stolen.

An immediate connection with the prince changes Razia’s ...

It’s the Night Monkey’s Turn to Shine in the Spider-Man: Far From Home Digital Release Trailer


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It’s the Night Monkey’s world, and we’re all just living in it. Peter Parker’s hastily improvised Spider-Man-but-in-a-black-suit alter-ego is getting his own movie at last.

Psych! It’s just the trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s digital release, made up entirely of Night Monkey-centric scenes from the movie. Still, we’ll admit to being quite taken by the editing and weirdly compelling tagline (“When night falls…a new hero rises. The night belongs…to the monkey.”). Plus, you get to see what the Night Monkey’s logo would look like, and let’s just say it’s very…Graphic Design Is My Passion.

Spider-Man: Far From Home will be released on digital today and Blu-Ray on October 1. You can check out a list of features on the digital release over at io9.

Five Fantasy Books Steeped in History


This post is by Jennifer Giesbrecht from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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“If the purpose of science fiction is to ask questions about where humanity is going, what is the potential speculative purpose of fantasy?” is a hyper-specific question asked by perhaps no one but me, and yet I am preoccupied by it endlessly. Tolkien had some answers to this, ones that were good enough to codify an entire genre. Among them was what he terms as eucatastrophe, that is: the joy a reader feels when the hero snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. In other words, it’s fine to write a story that exists for the sake of evoking powerful emotions in the intended audience.

This pulp view of Fantasy—exhilaration without subtext—has been the popular perception of the genre for decades, however Tolkien also believed that “fairy stories” were capable of imparting deeper meaning beyond mere escapism through, let’s call it empathetic verisimilitude. Careful world-building makes a fairy ...

The Vetting


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A suspenseful near-future story about what happens during the vetting process of a researcher from the Middle East, who is trying to enter the US to continue his studies, and the immigration lawyer assigned to his case, who is dying of cancer.

 

 

“Have you been here before?” The TSA officer, a tall African American woman in a baggy blue blazer, turns to punch numbers into the security pad.

He might simply say no, or not for a long time. Instead: “Tania,” he says, “it’s Jeff Bruno.” He smiles and holds up his badge with a photo that does not, in fact, really look like him.

TSA officer Tania Wilson finally makes eye contact, and is embarrassed. Bruno has been meeting clients at Los Angeles International’s Bradley Terminal for well over a year. Wilson has been his escort half a dozen times. Though, to be fair, not ...

Amazon Announces That its Middle-earth Series Will be Shot in New Zealand


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New Zealand will once again be home to Middle-earth. Amazon announced that its upcoming series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium will begin production in Auckland “in the coming months.”

The series is expected to take place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, potentially set in Númenor, Tolkien’s version of Atlantis, and prior to the forging of the Rings of Power.

In its press release, showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said that they “needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff.” The release didn’t come with any information on casting, or when the series is expected to debut on Amazon Prime Video.

In July, Amazon announced its production team for the series, which includes familiar names such as Tom Shippey, John ...

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Amazon Announces That its Middle-earth Series Will be Shot in New Zealand


This post is by Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




New Zealand will once again be home to Middle-earth. Amazon announced that its upcoming series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Legendarium will begin production in Auckland “in the coming months.”

The series is expected to take place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, potentially set in Númenor, Tolkien’s version of Atlantis, and prior to the forging of the Rings of Power.

In its press release, showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said that they “needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff.” The release didn’t come with any information on casting, or when the series is expected to debut on Amazon Prime Video.

In July, Amazon announced its production team for the series, which includes familiar names such as Tom Shippey, John ...

🇳🇿

V.E. Schwab’s The Archived Book Series Being Adapted for The CW


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V.E. Schwab

A new team of ghost hunters are making their way to The CW Network.

V. E. Schwab’s The Archived is currently being developed  for the CW, according to Variety.

The team behind Jane the Virgin, writer Liz Scudlo, and creator and showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman, will be adapting the book series’s universe.

In the series, the eldest child in a family of ghost hunters, Bex has trained her entire life for the day she’ll take up the mantle of “the chosen one.” But when her dad dies and her local-weather-girl sister wakes up with the familial powers instead, these night-and-day sisters will have to figure out how to work together and save the world.

Author V.E. Schwab sounded off on the announcement:

Sleeps With Monsters: Is This the Book I Wanted to Read?


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A difficulty haunts me, now, when I’m reviewing or otherwise critiquing books: am I judging the book I in fact read, or the one I wanted to read? Sometimes they’re the same thing. Often they’re not, and the question of how much I resent the novel in front of me for not being different in these specific ways becomes a live and pressing issue.

Part of that’s because I need to reconcile myself to living with my brain on some degree of burnout for the foreseeable future. (It’s dreadfully frustrating to feel duller and more stupid than one used to be all the time.) Part of it, though, is that I’ve been spoiled in the past while by the number of books I’ve read in which queerness was both present (prominent) and unremarkable. It seems I’ve come to expect an acknowledgement that people like me can (do more than ...

Steel Crow Saga Sweepstakes!


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Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle in Paul Krueger’s Steel Crow Saga – and we want to send you a copy!

 

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic . . . and against her own flesh and blood.

Joe Abercrombie’s A Little Hatred: A Book at War With Its Past


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What must it feel like to live in your own legend?

This is one of the key themes of Joe Abercrombie’s books: characters swept up in their own narrative, sometimes willingly, more often not. The burden of being a Named Man or a hero; the heart of the narrative, the one in the spotlight and the storybook.

Over the course of the six preceding books in the universe of The First Law, we’ve seen characters work their entire lives to become heroes, and others cross continents to run from their past. We’ve seen villains use stories to deceive and heroes deliberately foster lies. In The First Law, we read an entire trilogy set around manipulation—a conventional, page-perfect epic fantasy in which everything was a lie, and, yet, somehow it didn’t matter. In Best Served Cold, Abercrombie wrote a master-class on perspective: how heroism, vengeance, ambition, and cruelty are all ...

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 62 and 63


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CAKE OR DEATH, Tor.com? Cake? Well, we’re OUT of cake! So instead, have a RROK Goddess of Death with your afternoon tea, won’t you? I thought you would!

This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.

Today’s post will be covering Chapter 62, “The Gryphon Ring”, and Chapter 63, “Tea with Death.” Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.

Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!

 

Chapter 62: The Gryphon Ring (Talon’s story)

[In which a boy, a thief and an expository interlude walk into a bar, and stop me if you’ve heard this one]

You probably haven’t heard this ...

Grass Is Terrifying in the First Trailer for Netflix’s In the Tall Grass Adaptation


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“Grass, but make it scary” may seem like a dubious set-up for a horror story, but the first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of Stephen King and Joe Hill’s novella actually makes the humble lawn plant quite terrifying indeed.

Even before the premise is introduced, the clip opens with shots of breeze passing unsettlingly through the titular tall grass. This freaky field of green is then revealed to be unfathomably large, and inside, there’s a young boy yelling for help. Siblings Becky and Cal get out of the car to look for him, and what starts off as a simple Good Samaritanic deed devolves into an unending night (or week, or month) of disorientation, dehydration, lost signals, unsavory technological glitches, mud (yes, the mud is scary here, too), vultures, and mind-bending hallucinations (or are they???).

The source material, written by the father-son duo, was first published back in 2012 ...