Gillian Anderson is David Bowie Now, and Everything is Perfect

You know how American Gods is essentially a perfect show? And how it keeps, somehow, becoming even more perfect? Well, it’s done that again. As any fans of the book or TV show know by now, Media, played by Gillian Anderson, is a New God who can take any form it chooses to. We’ve see it as Lucy Ricardo, and looking decidedly Judy Garland-esque in a promo shot. But Media has taken its best form yet in a new promotional video sent out by STARZ: DAVID BOWIE.

Click through for British-accented goodness.

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The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, Theodora Goss’s The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins. Available June 20th from Saga Press!

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

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Fish Parenting and Disability: Finding Nemo

“Fish are friends, not food!”

Before we get into this post, I must make a quick confession: of all of the Pixar films, this is probably the one I resent the most. Not because of anything actually in the film, I must say, but because of what has happened to aquaria since the film’s release: Hordes of little children squeaking “NEMO NEMO NEMO LOOK IT’S NEMO” even when the clownfish in question are OBVIOUSLY NOT NEMO SINCE THEIR FINS ARE PERFECTLY FINE SOMETHING YOU MIGHT HAVE NOTICED, KIDS, IF YOU WEREN’T SO BUSY SQUEAKING “NEMO!”

And that’s before we get into what this film did to one of the Epcot rides.

And with that out of my system, onto Finding Nemo.

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Should The Handmaid’s Tale Have Saved Luke?

In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred considers that there are multiple, contradictory versions of Luke: He could be alive, plotting with the resistance; alive, and wasting away under back-breaking work in the Colonies; or dead since the day their family was dragged apart. Any of these scenarios are plausible, but as long as she carries them all in her head, she doesn’t have to choose for one to be the truth. With the various adaptations of the novel, we now have three different Lukes existing in our pop culture consciousness. Book Luke’s fate is never spelled out, and we have no idea if Offred ever even gets closure. Movie Luke is gunned down in the first few minutes. And TV Luke… well, he’s surviving.

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That Magic Technique: Dark City’s Influence on Modern Sci-Fi

Wait, don’t hang up,! Do you find yourself lurking in shadows, memory gone, wondering if anything around you is real?

Well then, you’ll fit right in with this post, for today’s Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia covers one of my personal faves, 1998’s dark and twisty neo-noir offering of Dark City!

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!

[It’s a Small World Afte- BLAM]

Series: Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia

Warbreaker Reread: Chapters 36 and 37

Welcome back to the Warbreaker reread! Last week, while Siri was feeling guilty about enjoying her political challenges, Vivenna barely escaped with her life—twice. This week, Siri and Susebron have a picnic on the floor, while Vivenna wanders the slums in despair.

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!

[And so my corruption of the God King continues.]

Series: Warbreaker Reread

Star Wars: A New Hope is Sheer, Unbridled Joy

One of my favorite stories about what it was like to see Star Wars: A New Hope when it was released in 1977 comes from my father. He went to see the film with his friend and roommate at the time, and when Vader’s Star Destroyer came into frame in the opening sequence, stretching on and on into infinity, the guy sank into his chair and shouted to the theater “Oh shit, this is it!”

I love that story because it elucidates something so significant about that first Star Wars film; when it first came out, no one had ever seen anything quite like it.

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Meet the Hippos From Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth

Sarah Gailey’s River of Teeth features a diverse cast of memorable characters: Winslow Remington Houndstooth, leader of the gang tasked with clearing the Mississippi of feral hippos; Regina “Archie” Archaumbault, charming con artist; Hero Shackleby, the quietly deadly poisons expert brought out of retirement for one last job; and Adelia Reyes, assassin extraordinaire. (And then there’s Cal. That’s really all we need to say about Cal.)

But none of these mercenaries would be quite as bad-ass without their trusty hippo steeds.

So we want to introduce you to the hippos at the heart of Sarah’s alternate history adventure, and asked Sarah herself to provide the stats on each–from size to breed to quirky traits and middle names–to accompany these original illustrations by Gregory Manchess!

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Horror in Translation: 8 Chilling Reads From Around the World

Readers can find plenty of horror fiction on bookstore shelves here in America, but what about horror fiction around the world? What kinds of stories do, for example, Japanese horror/speculative fiction writers gravitate toward when trying to terrify their readers? What differentiates Austrian horror fiction and Mexican horror fiction? Are there any interesting worldwide trends in the genre over the past decade?

I don’t have the answers to all these questions, unfortunately, but I can start the discussion by highlighting some recent international horror novels that are available in English in the list below. And lest those of us less familiar with the genre think of horror in two-dimensional terms, we should consider the following statement from the Horror Writers Association: “Horror has once again become primarily about emotion. It is once again writing that delves deep inside and forces us to confront who we are, to examine what we are afraid of, and to wonder what lies ahead down the road of life.” So what terrifies us across languages and borders? Let’s find out.

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The Queen of Swords

1870. Maude Stapleton, late of Golgotha, Nevada, is a respectable widow raising a daughter on her own. Few know that Maude belongs to an ancient order of assassins, the Daughters of Lilith, and is as well the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Anne Bonney, the legendary female pirate.

Leaving Golgotha in search of her daughter Constance, who has been taken from her, Maude travels to Charleston, South Carolina, only to find herself caught in the middle of a secret war between the Daughters of Lilith and their ancestral enemies, the monstrous Sons of Typhon. To save Constance, whose prophetic gifts are sought by both cults, Maude must follow in the footsteps of Anne Bonney as she embarks on a perilous voyage that will ultimately lead her to a lost city of bones in the heart of Africa—and the Father of All Monsters.

In R.S. Belcher’s The Queen of Swords, one of the most popular characters from The Six-Gun Tarot and The Shotgun Arcana ventures beyond Golgotha on a boldly imaginative, globe-spanning adventure of her own! Available June 27th from Tor Books.

[Read an Excerpt]

I’ll Make a Man Out of You: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Do you get all giddy at YA historical fantasy? Are you craving new diverse fiction? Did you dig Mulan? If you answered yes to all three of those questions, then Renée Ahdieh’s Flame in the Mist is just for you.

At not-quite seventeen, Hattori Mariko suddenly finds herself engaged to the Emperor’s son after some political maneuvering by her father. When her marital caravan is attacked on her way to the palace and everyone slaughtered, Mariko barely escapes and flees into the woods. Everyone blames the band of brigands and rogues who operate under the moniker the Black Clan, and Mariko’s twin brother Kenshin, a seasoned warrior known as the Dragon of Kai, sets out to track her down. Realizing her only way to prove her worth while also protecting her reputation is to figure out who tried to kill her and why, she pretends to be a boy and joins the Black Clan. There Mariko’s innovative intellect thrives. So too does her heart.

Flame in the Mist is a very entertaining novel. It’s also a story you’ve heard before, even if the setting is creative and unique. There’s cryptic political intrigue, intriguing magic, and plenty of characters who aren’t what they seem. I definitely recommend it overall, despite some of the less successful elements. Speaking of which…

[“True weakness is weakness of the spirit.”]

Cthulhu and Sons: Lin Carter’s “The Winfield Heritance”

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.

Today we’re looking at Lin Carter’s “The Winfield Heritance” (unless it’s “Heritage” or “Inheritance,” sources differ), first published in 1981 in Weird Tales #3 (an anthology, edited by Carter himself, not a magazine). Spoilers ahead.

[“The coiling stone stair did not end, but it vanished into a black pool of slimy liquid mud…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Why I Stopped Reading The Queen’s Thief Series

My best friend handed me Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief probably shortly after its publication in 1996, at a point where we had read through all of Tamora Pierce’s then-current body of work and were slowly going mad waiting for the next installment. The Thief was the logical recommendation for a next read: Gen was small and sassy like Alanna, stubbornly self-reliant even when the gods decided to take an interest in his business, and as creative an interpretation of the thief archetype as Alanna is with knighthood. It was also, I think, the first fantasy novel that actually bowled me over with its twist. The stuff I had read before then—The Song of the Lioness, The Blue Sword, etc.—kept me enthralled simply exploring every inch of their lush worlds, but The Thief set up expectations and then swiftly subverted them.

It was such a perfect standalone novel that I remember initially being leery of the sequel. But then 2000’s The Queen of Attolia, true to the brutal ruler after which it’s named, upped the ante with a devastating act of violence early on that forever alters Gen’s identity. Suddenly, instead of a thief or trickster he is neither, simply a beloved protagonist coping with the unimaginable. By the end of the book, our worldview—both as readers and as participants in the ongoing conflict among Sounis, Eddis, and Attolia—has radically shifted. So why didn’t I continue on with The King of Attolia, published in 2006? For one, I didn’t even know that a third installment existed. Around that time, I met new fantasy heroines in Rani Trader (from Mindy Klasky’s The Glasswrights’ Apprentice) and Mel Astiar (from Sherwood Smith’s Crown Duel) and forgot all about Gen.

But twenty years after I read The Thief, Turner’s series has stolen my attention back.

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Watch the First Trailer for Game of Thrones Season 7

“Enemies to the east. Enemies to the west. Enemies to the south. Enemies to the north.” All of the major players are bearing down on the Iron Throne in the first trailer for Game of Thrones season 7. HBO has released a tantalizing preview full of awesome giant maps, battles both fiery and icy, alliances forged and broken, and, of course, a huge dragon at the end.

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Problem Child: First Born by Caroline Thompson

Long before Caroline Thompson wrote the screenplays for Edward Scissorhands or The Nightmare Before Christmas, she wrote this dark, deeply weird novel called First Born. She sold director Penelope Spheeris the rights to the film adaptation for $1, and adapted her first novel into her first screenplay. The film was never made, but it launched Thompson on a new career in Hollywood, and she soon met Tim Burton at a studio party. The two bonded over feeling like nerdy outcasts in a room full of Hollywood insiders.

As a lifelong Tim Burton fan, I’ve been meaning to read this book ever since I first found out Thompson had written it. It took me a while to track a copy down, but even after I had it I was nervous about cracking it open. Would it be worth it? Does the book offer a glimpse at the writer who would later pen some of my favorite movies? I only knew that the plot concerned abortion, and that it was literary horror.

The book is both more and less than what that description promises.

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