The Thrill of Hearing “Once Upon a Time”

Amongst the sweetest phrases I’ve ever heard from my mother’s lips are “I love you,” “I’ve made lemon meringue pie” (those two meaning, essentially, the same thing), and “Once upon a time.” All three still fill me with roughly the same degree of happiness, but I don’t hear that last one anymore. It’s not for lack of trying; I do keep asking.

“Tell me a story?”

“You’re forty-eight years old.”

“And you’re seventy-one, so tell me a story before you forget how!”

So far no luck. Come to think of it, the lemon meringues have been a bit thin on the ground, too. Hmmm.

Nevertheless, the thrill of “Once upon a time” never leaves me, never dims. It’s the story addict’s equivalent of a ringing bell and the response is equally Pavlovian. I know, when I hear those words, that I will be transported. That the ...

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7 Curiouser and Curiouser Retellings of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland retellings Alice in Sunderland Bryan Talbot

Snacks that make you shrink (or grow gigantic), mad tea parties, murderous croquet: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a bonkers enough story on its own that it’s impressive to see the ways in which so many authors have been able to retell it.

In these thrillers and pastiches and history lessons, Alice Liddell is a princess on the run, a mad inmate, or only a tangential part of the story; some retellings focus on other citizens of Wonderland, from the maligned White Rabbit to the misunderstood Queen of Hearts. No matter which of the many ways into Wonderland these writers choose, the stories are as enticing as a bottle that says DRINK ME.

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer invents a back story for Wonderland’s primary antagonist: Catherine, who would rather create otherworldly confections in her dream bakery than accept the King of Hearts’ proposal. While ...

Aurora Australis: Superheroes, Merfolk, and Corporate Insects

Welcome to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! In Australia, there’s been controversy over which national politicians are actual dual citizens or not (thus invalidating their election as members of parliament), and we voted yes in the optional-postal-survey on marriage equality; we’re now waiting for our politicians to make it law. You would think that a poll about the Australian bird of the year would be less controversial, but that’s before you factor in an obsession with the bin chicken (aka Australian White Ibis) and how seriously some people take getting swooped by magpies.

Anyway, onto the publishing news!

Author James Bradley and artist Melanie Cook have teamed up to create The Death of Neutrino Man. It’s a brief comic taking a look at the life and experiences of one B-list superhero, Neutrino Man, from gaining powers to the world changing ...

Aurora Australis: Sci-Fi Thrillers and Murder Mysteries

Welcome to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! This month, Alex is back writing after an extended holiday (long service leave is a wonderful thing).

In other news, one of Australia’s most endangered birds has the first confirmed chick in three decades, the Socceroos still have hopes of making it to the soccer World Cup, and New Zealand is about to get a new Prime Minister in Jacinda Ardern. Also, there’s new books—both published and announced—and a variety of other exciting things happening…

New books! From Jonathan Strahan comes Infinity Wars, which continues the Infinity series and features Elizabeth Bear, Indrapramit Das, Aliette de Bodard, Carrie Vaughn, An Owomoyela… and many others. The stories in the anthology deal with the question of who will be fighting the wars of tomorrow? It’s taking futuristic military science fiction to its “furthest extremes....

Corpselight

< p class="frontmatter">Verity’s all about protecting her city, but right now that’s mostly running surveillance and handling the less exciting cases for the Weyrd Council—after all, it’s hard to chase the bad guys through the streets of Brisbane when you’re really, really pregnant.

An insurance investigation sounds pretty harmless, even if it is for ‘Unusual Happenstance’. That’s not usually a clause Normals use—it covers all-purpose hauntings, angry genii loci, ectoplasmic home invasion, demonic possession, that sort of thing—but Susan Beckett’s claimed three times in three months. Her house keeps getting inundated with mud, but she’s still insisting she doesn’t need or want help… until the dry-land drownings begin.

V’s first lead takes her to Chinatown, where she is confronted by kitsune assassins. But when she suddenly goes into labour, it’s clear the fox spirits are not going to be helpful…

Corpselight is the sequel to Vigil and the second book in the ...

Aurora Australis: Riddles, Promises, and Threads

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! Southern Australia has just taken a turn towards winter, it’s nearly time for the Australian National Science Fiction Convention (Continuum, in Melbourne), and—despite not being in Europe—Australia did okay in the annual Eurovision Song Contest. And we have books! And covers! And TV! And awards! A few new books this month… like Rachel Nightingale’s fantasy novel Harlequin’s Riddle is coming soon from Odyssey Books. It’s about the Commedia dell’Arte, in the vein of Erin Morgernstern’s The Night Circus. Mina has a missing older brother and, it transpires, a gift for storytelling—she can call visions into being with her stories. She joins a troupe of Travelling Players and, of course, mysterious things unfold… Then there’s Paula Weston’s The Undercurrent, coming from Text Publishing in July. Julianne De Marchi has an electrical undercurrent ...

Aurora Australis: Riddles, Promises, and Threads

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! Southern Australia has just taken a turn towards winter, it’s nearly time for the Australian National Science Fiction Convention (Continuum, in Melbourne), and—despite not being in Europe—Australia did okay in the annual Eurovision Song Contest. And we have books! And covers! And TV! And awards! A few new books this month… like Rachel Nightingale’s fantasy novel Harlequin’s Riddle is coming soon from Odyssey Books. It’s about the Commedia dell’Arte, in the vein of Erin Morgernstern’s The Night Circus. Mina has a missing older brother and, it transpires, a gift for storytelling—she can call visions into being with her stories. She joins a troupe of Travelling Players and, of course, mysterious things unfold… Then there’s Paula Weston’s The Undercurrent, coming from Text Publishing in July. Julianne De Marchi has an electrical undercurrent ...