Aliens and Family Values: Lilo and Stitch

Gantu: You’re vile. You’re foul. You’re flawed!

Stitch: Also cute and fluffy!

Before I get into this post, I should perhaps confess something. I have two plush Stitches; a Yoda Stitch complete with a stuffed green light saber; a Christmas Stitch; assorted Disney Trading Pins featuring Stitch, including, but not limited to, a Star Wars Emperor Palpatine Stitch and a pirate Stitch; and a Stitch backpack which I have taken to cons.

Which is to say, I may—may—have a slight bias in favor of destructive aliens reformed through the examples of Elvis and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling.

Just slight.

So now that we have that slightly embarrassing admission out of the way… let’s chat about Lilo & Stitch.

[In which we can all learn valuable lessons from the sterling example of Elvis Presley]

The Diabolic Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of S.J. Kincaid’s The Diabolic, available November 1st from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers!

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 27th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 31st. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Childhood Trauma Here: Poltergeist

It’s HEEE-ERRRR! The Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia, that is! And with a special switcheroo treat—or trick, depending on your point of view!

So, yeah: for reasons both too complicated and too boring to get into, it turns out I totally lied in the last post’s epilogue about what the MRGN is covering next, and uh, also forgot to update the last post to tell you that. Sorry? I love you?

But nevertheless, I hope you will forgive me, and also still join me for my very nostalgic and eminently Halloween-season-appropriate review of My First Horror Flick, 1982’s Poltergeist!

Previous entries can be found here. Please note that as with all films covered on the Nostalgia Rewatch, this post will be rife with spoilers for the film.

And now, the post!


Series: Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia

The Offbeat Infernal: 5 Books with Unusual Demons and Devils

We all know the standard-issue demon, all horns and sulfur and dark seduction, often done up in a bespoke suit; perhaps you’d care to trade your soul for this totally sweet vintage Jaguar, or maybe you prefer to play chess? Of all the recurring characters in Western literature, the devil and his attendant demons rank among the most familiar. If we’re talking Paradise Lost, or Faust, or the many works that bear their imprint, the devil’s evil is complicated by a rebellious grandeur, a defiance both poignant and brave in its futility. But whether his wickedness is crude or nuanced, the devil walks cloaked in tropes.

But the devil is a shapeshifter, and what we find if we lift away that cloak depends on the imaginations of those who dare to interrogate the nature of the demonic. Writers who conjure up the devil on their pages have encountered fiends both coldly alien and far too human for comfort. They’ve revealed versions of Mephistopheles who offer a hideous reflection of the culture in which they’ve appeared, who expose something about the specific forms evil takes in the modern world. But they’ve also described demons who are quirky or wistful or even oddly innocent as they create their casual havoc; demons who, like human beings, are engaged in a constant struggle with their own will to destruction. Here are five of my favorite books featuring out-of-the-ordinary denizens of Hell.

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Warbreaker Reread: Chapter 2

Welcome back to the Warbreaker reread! Last week, we met the Idrian royal family, learned of treaties and conflicts, and witnessed the critical decision to send Siri in Vivenna’s place. This week, the sisters express their dissatisfaction with the exchange in no uncertain terms, and another plot-critical decision is reached.

This reread will contain spoilers for all of Warbreaker and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. This is particularly likely to include Words of Radiance, due to certain crossover characters. The index for this reread can be found here.

Click on through to join the discussion!

[She was redundant now. Useless. Unimportant.]

Series: Warbreaker Reread

How Fantasy Author Brent Weeks Makes Space for His Readers’ Opinions

“Things on my mind,” Brent Weeks shared in his latest Reddit AMA on r/fantasy: “how much polonium is in the Ramen noodles I’m eating, the interactions of low-level fame with social media (i.e. the reasons I lurk instead of post), and how much I should be packing for book tour.”

The tour is for The Blood Mirror, published earlier this week, the fourth (of five) novel in his Lightbringer fantasy series. While much of the AMA focused on the chromaturgy, or color magic, that makes up the Lightbringer series’ magic system, one Redditor latched on to the lurking comment. Weeks’ answer was the kind of gem you find in AMAs: a short primer on making space for the opinions of readers and fans while still engaging in the art and in the fantasy community.

[Read more]

The Only Way Is Down: Faller by Will McIntosh

At the start of Faller, the new SF novel by Will McIntosh, a man regains consciousness lying on a city street. He doesn’t remember his name, the name of the city, or how he got there. In fact, his mind is almost completely blank, just like all the other people who are waking up in complete confusion around him. What’s even stranger, the world appears to end a few city blocks from where the man woke up. Rather than more streets and buildings, there’s just a chasm looking out over empty sky, as if this fragment of a city was torn from a larger whole and then tossed into the air. This feels odd to the man, somehow, even though he has no recollection of what a city is supposed to look like.

The man finds three objects in his pockets: a toy soldier with a plastic parachute, a mysterious map drawn in blood (and since his finger is cut, he assumes he drew the map with his own blood, suggesting it must be important), and a photograph of himself with a woman he doesn’t recognize. Since clues are the only thing he has, and he doesn’t recall his name, he decides to go by the name Clue.

Eventually, inspired by the toy soldier in his pocket, Clue decides to construct a parachute. That’s how he discovers that the floating city fragment on which he regained consciousness isn’t the only one. Taking the new name Faller, he embarks on a quest to find the mysterious woman on the photograph…

[But wait, as they say in infomercials, there’s more!]

Midnight in Karachi Episode 69: Sami Shah’s “Fire Boy Interlude C”

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

This week’s episode is a reading of a story from the world of Fire Boy—an urban fantasy set in contemporary Karachi, and writer and comedian Sami Shah’s first novel. Sami’s memoir I, Migrant, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Russell Prize for Humour Writing. You can find more of his writing here.

[Read more]

Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Where to Start with Joe Hill

Joe Hill is the kind of author whose works burrow under your skin. Months after finishing one of his books, certain scenes will pop up in your memories at unexpected moments. Characters will haunt you, their travails or deaths stalking you during work meetings, Twitter scrolling, even through other books. Hill writes horror fiction with a style as eviscerating as it is visceral. His works critique and peel apart our sociocultural ideals by pushing his characters to the extreme, and he does it all with geeky Easter eggs and literary eloquence.

There was a time not long ago when I could bring up author Joe Hill and no one would have any idea who I was talking about. Nowadays nearly every reader I encounter has heard of him, but many haven’t yet read any of his works. The son of authors Stephen and Tabitha King, Hill has written numerous novels, short stories, and comics, as well scripts for two TV shows (even though neither made it to air). His back catalogue, while a boon to long-time fans like myself, can be overwhelming for a newbie unsure of which to read first. Some are intimidated by his larger tomes while others by the horror tag. But I maintain there’s at least one Joe Hill story for everyone. It’s just a matter of digging around until we find it. Let’s see if I can’t do something about that…

[“Fantasy was always only a reality waiting to be switched on.”]

This Morning in Publishing: October 27, 2016

Now here’s a cameo more exciting than a superhero crossover! Ariell Johnson, owner of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in Philadelphia, is the first black woman to own a comic book store on the East Coast—and she’s also the first to appear on the cover of a Marvel Comic! Chatting it up with new Iron Man Riri Williams, no less. That’s the kind of groundbreaking news you’ll find in today’s publishing culture roundup!

[Read more]

Recluce Tales: “The Forest Girl”

For over a thousand years, Order and Chaos have molded the island of Recluce. The Saga of Recluce chronicles the history of this world through eighteen books, L. E. Modesitt, Jr.’s most expansive and bestselling fantasy series. Available January 2017 from Tor Books, Recluce Tales: Stories from the World of Recluce collects seventeen new short stories and four popular reprints spanning the thousand-year history of Recluce.

First-time readers will gain a glimpse of the fascinating world and its complex magic system, while longtime readers of the series will be treated to glimpses into the history of the world. Modesitt’s essay “Behind the ‘Magic’ of Recluce” gives insight into his thoughts on developing the magical system that rules the Island of Recluce and its surrounding lands, while “The Vice Marshal’s Trial” takes the reader back to the first colonists on Recluce. Old favorites “Black Ordermage” and “The Stranger” stand side-by-side with thrilling new stories. Below, we’re excited to share “The Forest Girl,” a  new story about a historical figure before he became a legend to be feared… and respected.

[Read more]

Star Wars Propaganda Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Pablo Hidalgo’s Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy, available now from Harper Design!

A Star Wars authority deepens and extends our appreciation of the Star Wars galaxy with this imaginative “history” featuring striking full-color artwork—created exclusively for this entertaining volume—that examines the persuasive messages used to intimidate and inspire the citizenry of the galaxy far, far away. . . .

A Star Destroyer hovering over a planet, symbolizing Imperial domination.

An X-wing delivering a message of resistance and hope on behalf of the Rebellion.

A line of armed, faceless First Order stormtroopers promoting unity.

These are all examples of propaganda used by the Empire to advocate strength and maintain fear, and by the Rebel Alliance to inspire hope and win support for the fight. Star Wars Propaganda takes fans into the beloved epic story as never before, bringing the battle between these two sides to life in a fresh and brilliant way.

Star Wars Propaganda includes fifty dazzling pieces of art representing all seven episodes—including material related to Star Wars: The Force Awakens—specially produced for this companion volume. Each page combines an original image and a short description detailing its “history:” the in-world “artist” who created it (either willingly or through coercion), where in the Star Wars galaxy it appeared, and why that particular location was targeted.

Packaged in a beautifully designed case and written by a franchise expert and insider, Star Wars Propaganda also includes ten removable art prints, and is sure to become a keepsake for every fan and graphic artist as well.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 4:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 26th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 30th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.