Bad Solutions For Writer’s Block: Henry Kuttner’s “The Salem Horror”

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 Henry Kuttner’s “The Salem Horror,” first published in the May 1937 issue of Weird Tales. Spoilers ahead.

[“He became conscious that he was standing in the exact center of the chamber…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Attention Citizens: We Have A Premiere Date for The Tick!

The Tick is coming to Amazon on Friday, August 25th! The reboot of the show stars Peter Serafinowicz as the titular Tick and Griffin Newman as his sidekick Arthur, and is taking the characters in a somewhat grittier direction as the duo investigates a conspiracy involving a mysterious super villain who may have faked his own death.

Tick-creator Ben Edlund is executive producing along with Barry Josephson and Barry Sonnenfeld. Edlund is also writing, and the show will be directed by Wally Pfister. You can read a review of the pilot here, and click through for a brief-yet-adorable promo!

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All of Your Favorite SFF TV and Movie Adaptations in the Works

Thanks to major properties like Game of Thrones and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, we’ve entered a golden age of sci-fi and fantasy properties being developed for film and television. It seems that nearly every network and studio has snatched up the rights to old and new classics, with a bevy of projects in production or premiering in the coming months. To keep you on top of the latest news, we’ve updated our master list of every SFF adaptation currently in the works, from American Gods to Y: The Last Man.

Check out this list and get your DVRs and Netflix queues ready, because you’re going to be wonderfully busy for the foreseeable future.

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Down Among the Sticks and Bones

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Seanan McGuire returns to her popular Wayward Children series with Down Among the Sticks and Bones—a standalone urban fantasy set before the events of Every Heart a Doorway. Available June 13th from Tor.com Publishing.

[Read an Excerpt]

Taking Flight with Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a reader gets home, opens her front door, and is promptly crushed to death by the tower of books that has taken over every square inch of her home. Granted, it’s not a great joke, but it is my life. My stacks of books To Be Read are gradually taking over my living, work, and, um, everything space. In an effort to clear some out, I’ll be reading one book a week—fantasy, sci-fi, horror, whatever—and reporting back.

This week, I’m reading and spewing thoughts about Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus. Angela Carter was a writer who joyously blurred the lines between literary fiction, fantasy, and fairy tale, and who often used her work to examine gender roles and sexuality. Nights at the Circus was her eighth novel, published in 1984, and… well, the plot bumps and sprawls around half of the world through dozens of characters, but mostly follows a woman who might be part-swan. Cool, right? There is only one problem… this book is so overstuffed with ideas, plot points, conspiracies, and general insanity that it’s been difficult to find one element to focus on.

What would Angela Carter do?

[“You can do anything you like, as long as nobody takes you seriously.”]

Such Sweet Sorrow: On the Final Chapter of the Lady Trent Series

In the spring of 2016, a close friend of mine moved away.

Or at least that’s what it felt like. After five years spent writing the Memoirs of Lady Trent, I finished the last book… and suddenly my protagonist wasn’t a part of my life anymore. Not the way she used to be. I still think about her, of course, and now that Within the Sanctuary of Wings is in readers’ hands, she’s very much on other people’s minds. So metaphorically speaking, we’re still in contact with each other. But we don’t hang out every night like we used to.

[I’ve never had this reaction to the end of a series before…]

Strange Days: A Flawed but Fascinating Look at Racism, Voyeurism, and the Future

I don’t know how Kathryn Bigelow is still making movies. Don’t get me wrong—I’m very, very glad she is, because she’s one of the best directors around. Up until 2008’s The Hurt Locker, Bigelow directed movie after movie that went unnoticed or unappreciated. While a box office success, Point Break doesn’t receive nearly enough credit for being one of the most stylish action movies to come out of the ’90s. Near Dark—my goodness, Near Dark is vampire movie paradise. The Weight of Water is fascinating.

And then there’s Strange Days, which is Bigelow at her best, delivering a sci-fi thriller/noir that’s prescient even now, in 2017. In 1995? To say it was ahead of its time would be like dropping a 1967 Chevelle into Victorian England and calling it advanced.

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Art Show “Never Grow Up” Showcases Fantastic Riffs on Disney Classics

There are few things we love as much as re-imagined Disney artwork, and the latest art show from Mondo Gallery does not disappoint. Never Grow Up: A Disney Art Show, is being presented by Mondo in association with Cyclops Print Works, and will feature new limited-edition posters celebrating the entire history of Disney. We honestly couldn’t pick a favorite, so we’ve rounded up a few highlights below.

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Memoirs of Lady Trent Sweepstakes!

The fifth and final book in Marie Brennan’s Memoirs of Lady Trent series, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, is available now from Tor Books! And to celebrate, we want to send you a hardcover set of all five books in the series.

After nearly five decades (and, indeed, the same number of volumes), one might think they were well-acquainted with the Lady Isabella Trent—dragon naturalist, scandalous explorer, and perhaps as infamous for her company and feats of daring as she is famous for her discoveries and additions to the scientific field.

And yet–after her initial adventure in the mountains of Vystrana, and her exploits in the depths of war-torn Eriga, to the high seas aboard The Basilisk, and then to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia–the Lady Trent has captivated hearts along with fierce minds. This concluding volume will finally reveal the truths behind her most notorious adventure–scaling the tallest peak in the world, buried behind the territory of Scirland’s enemies–and what she discovered there, within the Sanctuary of Wings.

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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on April 25th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on April 29th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

The Chosen Children of Portal Fantasy

Let’s talk about doors for a moment, you and I.

Let’s talk about the power of something closed, whether or not it’s been forbidden; the mystery of the trapdoor that leads up into the attic, the powerful draw of the locked hatch that leads down into the cellar, the irresistible temptation of someone else’s fridge or medicine cabinet. We want to know what’s on the other side—and I don’t mean we want to be told. We want to see. We want to look with our own eyes, and know that no one can take that looking away from us. People are curious. It’s one of our defining characteristics. We want to know.

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Fighting on Arrival, Fighting for Survival: Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus

Maurice Broaddus’ utterly fantastic PoC steampunk Buffalo Soldier opens with Desmond Coke on the run with his young charge, Lij Tafari. Having absconded with the boy from Jamaica to Albion to the Free Republic of Tejas, their next step is to cross through the strongly defended territory of the Assembly of the First Nations and thence to sanctuary and liberty in Canada.

When they hole up in a Tejas town called Abandon, Desmond’s plan goes pear shaped. He may be a former servant-turned-spy, but he and Lij’s dark skin and Jamaican accents puts them in the crosshairs of Albion industrialist Garrison Hearst, gun-toting Tejan Cayt Siringo, Niyabingi rebels, Maroon Rastafarians, and the technologically advanced Seminole. Everyone wants to capture Lij and use him for their own nefarious purposes. Desmond swore to protect Lij at all costs, but that may not be an oath he’s able to keep. With his cane-sword in one hand Lij in the other, Desmond will have to fight for Lij’s survival like he’s never fought before. Only the boy matters, now.

[“You protect what’s yours.”]

Which Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Character Should Get a Standalone Novel?

In Brian Staveley’s recent Reddit r/fantasy AMA for Skullsworn, the standalone prequel set in the world of The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, a question about writing different characters’ perspectives led into conversation about possible standalone novels. Skullsworn stars Pyrre, the assassin who played a pivotal role in The Providence of Fire (the second book in the series), as she earns her stripes within her religious order by killing ten people in a month. (Or, as Staveley described it when revealing the cover, “a romance novel—some kissing, some heartache, some sex—but with monsters, murder, and buckets and buckets of blood.”) But there’s at least one other side character who Staveley would be interested in exploring down the line.

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The Horse-Lovers’ Guide to Star Trek

The Star Trek franchise is a little horse-lite. For those of you new to the series, it’s a bunch of shows (and movies) that take place in space, a place where horses mostly don’t live. I have not yet seen a precise analysis of the challenges inherent in transporting horses into space, but I am unwilling to believe that those challenges are trivial. This explains why the most common reason for the appearance of a horse in an episode of Star Trek is that someone is having some kind of telepathically-induced hallucination. Star Trek characters like horses just fine—Chris Pike rode a little; Jim Kirk rode a little; Picard was passionate enough about it to travel the galaxy with his own saddle, in case he got the chance to ride and found a horse whose back and withers fit his tack. (I know some of you are dying to know—I asked Melinda Snodgrass, and she said it was a dressage saddle. She does not know the maker.) There’s a longstanding historic relationship between military command and horsemanship, and it’s nice to see that Starfleet has officers who maintain the tradition.

It won’t matter much in the end. In the Star Trek universe, real horses are doomed.

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