Fanzines, Cover Art, and the Best Vorkosigan Planet: An Interview with Lois McMaster Bujold

When I first started discussing the Vorkosigan reread with Bridget McGovern, I suggested that I could interview author Lois McMaster Bujold. I was pretty sure that was not going to fly. I thought it would be fun and interesting, and also terrifying, and that there was no way that real adults would endorse that plan, or that Lois would make time for it. She has books to write about Penric and stuff!

I had really not been paying attention, because, as I would shortly discover, Lois spends a lot of time with fans. She reads the reread! I only spent one afternoon hyperventilating into a paper bag over that (it was the afternoon she commented on “Aftermaths”). She has been incredibly generous with her time and thoughts in the comments. Because she is so generous with her time, Lois has been interviewed a lot, including by Jo Walton here on If you’re looking for a question I didn’t ask, check out her earlier interviews!

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Magical Miscalculations: Revealing the Cover for Margaret Killjoy’s The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

We’re excited to show off the cover for Margaret Killjoy’s The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, a punk fantasy that Alan Moore calls “scary and energetic.” The first in a new series, The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is a story of ancient witchcraft among modern-day vagabonds, and about the hope we find in the strangest of places. Learn more about the novella and check out the full cover by artist Mark Smith below!

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Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway Wins the Alex Award! Publishing is excited to announce that Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire has been selected as a 2017 Alex Award winner at the American Library Association Youth Media Awards!

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year’s publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002. The award is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust and administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association.

Every Heart a Doorway, the first installment in the Wayward Children series, tells the story of what happens to children who tumble into magical worlds after they return from their adventures and find themselves unable to cope with their old, mundane realities. In June, the Wayward Children series continues with Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which transports readers to the dark otherworld of Jack and Jill, the twisted twins (and fan favorites) featured in Every Heart a Doorway.

The Alex Award winners were announced today at the Youth Media Awards ceremony at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. See more about the awards and a full list of winners here.

What Can We Learn from Star Trek’s Jake Sisko, Writer?

The 24th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 took place earlier this month. The series took a lot of risks with the “idealized future” of Roddenberry as written into Star Trek’s DNA, adding nuance to Starfleet ideals by incorporating human desires and failings into the narrative. Some praised it for being more real, more relatable; some criticized it for being “too dark” and showing Starfleet in a bad light.

One thing I enjoyed was that in the midst of the Star Trek Universe’s science-and-tech-centric STEM paradise, DS9 showrunners made the captain’s son, Jake Sisko, a writer. We science fiction writers love our astronauts and engineers, but I was thrilled to see 14-year-old Jake developing into a writer and storyteller. They gave him a familiar writer’s journey: he dabbled in poetry, moved into short stories, then novels, and along the way he became a journalist, a war correspondent (echoes of Hemingway and Crane), and published a collection of essays about living under Dominion occupation, as well as a semi-autobiographical novel. By committing to Jake’s arc through the whole series, DS9 brought into broader relief how the series honoured storytellers.

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Passing Strange

San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.

Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.

Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages. Available January 24th from Publishing.

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Gaming Vicariously: Rolling the Dice with Critical Role

If you’ve ever participated in a role-playing game, you know that moment: when everything is on the line, the monster is this close to defeat, and you have the perfect opening. All you need is a little cooperation from your dice. You take a breath. Your party holds theirs. You toss the dice. And when it’s a success—or even better, a crit—that blooming bubble of joy, giddiness, and celebration bursts from you and your party, as your DM describes the moment of victory. If you miss that feeling of unrestrained, breathless happiness at the twists and turns to be found in a roleplaying game, then you’re probably the perfect audience for Critical Role.

Started by gaming and nerd channel Geek & Sundry in late 2014, Critical Role chronicles the Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition adventure of eight professional voice actors and friends. They started playing Pathfinder together a year or so before Geek & Sundry asked them to take the game live and the show was born; now through the magic of the livestream channel Twitch, having migrated over to DnD, Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer and his seven friends gather together every Thursday at 7PM West Coast time to continue the harrowing, hilarious, and dramatic adventures of Vox Machina. A group of noble, lovable misfits who have become a family, our adventurers have fought everywhere from the depths of the Underdark to the heights of Gatshadow Mountain; they’ve traveled between planes, battled vampiric lords and ladies, savage Beholders, nobility from the Nine Hells, and most recently have dedicated themselves to the destruction of a vicious group of chromatic dragons who have razed the country they love.

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Sir Ian McKellen Marches with a Friend

Women’s Marches were held all over the world this weekend, which naturally led to a cavalcade of creative signs, including some shared by Mark Hamill and Lois Lane author Gwenda Bond. But our favorite may have been this eloquent statement from Sir Ian McKellen, who attended the march in London. As he says in his attached note, he found the sign after he had already marched, but we’re glad he shared the experience with his BFF, Sir Patrick Stewart.

Jon Hamm is Becoming a Hologram–Literally

In his new science fiction dramedy Marjorie Prime, Jon Hamm plays a hologram… and he’s really getting into character. In a neat bit of tie-in promotion, Passage Pictures has partnered with technology startup 8i to turn Hamm into an actual, lifelike, three-dimensional hologram for Sundance Film Festival attendees to interact with. With the #Holohamm (hee) possessing the actual volume and depth of Hamm, visitors to Sundance’s virtual reality and augmented reality will feel as if they’re actually interacting with the actor. Or at least, with his character, Walter Prime.

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Holy Rewatch Batman! “Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under!”

“Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 3, Episode 10
Production code 1714
Original air dates: November 16, 1967

The Bat-signal: The World Surfing Championship is coming up, and it’s going to be held at Gotham Point. Barbara’s old friend Skip Parker is a favorite to win the championship, and she watches him ride a wave and compliments him on his form. The Joker shows up in his Jokermobile with two henchmen, Wipeout and Riptide, and he radios his moll, Undine, at the Hang Five, a surfin’ hangout run by Hot Dog Harrigan. (The radios actually are in the shapes of hot dogs, for whatever reason.) Riptide and Wipeout put Hot Dog in a bag and then send Undine to tell Skip there’s a phone call for him. Skip enters the Hang Five and Joker gasses him and takes him off to his secret HQ.

[“Barbara had to go back to the library but she told me to keep an eye on the girl behind the counter.” “You mean the one talking to her hot dog?”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Old-Fashioned SciFi: Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn

Martians Abroad is a new stand-alone novel from Carrie Vaughn, the author most famously responsible for the Kitty Norville, werewolf radio host series. Set in the not-so-far future, it features a solar system where humans have habitats on the moon, colonies on Mars, and habitable stations further out, but Earth is still the wealth-and-culture capital of everything.

Polly Newton is the teenaged daughter of the director of Mars Colony. Her one dream in life is to be a pilot, and she has her future planned out. When her mother decides to send her and her “twin” brother Charles to the exclusive Galileo Academy on Earth, though, Polly’s plans are derailed. Unlike Charles—a genius and a manipulative wee asshole—Polly doesn’t adjust well to the new environment. Isolated and homesick, things aren’t going too well for Polly even before a string of dangerous accidents starts putting her powerful and well-connected classmates at risk. Something is rotten in Galileo Academy, and with their next class trip taking Polly, Charles, and their classmates to the moon, another accident may kill them all.

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