The Journey to Night Vale: The Foundations of SFF Podcast Fiction

So, you want to hear a story?

Last week, Wired Magazine featured an article entitled “Fiction Podcasts Are Finally a Thing! Thank You, Sci-Fi and Horror.” As I have been both a podcaster and a podcast consumer since 2004, I was anxious to find out what journalist Charley Locke and Wired had to say about Fiction Podcasts. However, I found myself scratching my head the more I read, especially when Locke boldly stated, “Years after Welcome to Night Vale first defined the genre, fictional podcasts have finally arrived.” This echoes a New York Times article from March of this year when Night Vale co-creator Joseph Fink said “The whole fiction podcast thing blew up in the past year.”

[Fiction podcasting has been alive and well for over a decade.]

The Soviet Version of The Hulk is a Giant Bear With a Machine Gun

Hey, who wants to see a giant bear with a gatling gun? The answer is: everyone.

A trailer for the Russian-made movie Guardians has been lighting up the internet in the past few days, drawing comparisons to 2012’s The Avengers in regards to sheer, eyeball-widening superhero action. The plot is terrifically simple. A machine army is attacking a present-day Soviet Union (according to the press materials, although the trailer says differently!) and the government has mere days to assemble disparate Soviet/Russian superheroes into a fighting force the likes the world has never…I’m sorry I can’t hold it in anymore…THEIR HULK TURNS INTO A GIANT BEAR AND IT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED.


Innumerable Voices: The Short Fiction of A. Merc Rustad

Innumerable Voices is a monthly column profiling short fiction writers and exploring speculative fiction themes in their many permutations. The column will discuss stellar genre work from both fresh and established writers who don’t have short fiction collections or novel-length works, but who actively contribute to anthologies and magazines.Links to magazines and anthologies for each story are available as footnotes. Chances are I’ll discuss the stories at length and mild spoilers will be revealed.

In reading A. Merc Rustad’s catalog in preparation for writing this profile, I found myself reflecting on how I came to read speculative fiction and which characteristics fostered a full and unconditional adoration of the genre—one that has only found strength in subsequent years. Few other authors have proffered the exact conditions to revisit my initial, sublime surrender to SFF’s immeasurable potential and richness in possibility, which should already inform you about the powerful effect Rustad’s writing exerts.

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The Key to the Coward’s Spell

Nursing an injured arm while on the job searching for a missing kid is bad enough for sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse. But when he discovers a smuggling ring rumored to be protected by powerful magic, he seeks out old friends and new to lend a hand. A tale set in Alex Bledsoe’s popular medieval noir world.

Please be warned that this story deals with difficult content and themes involving children.

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Learn How to Write the VanderMeer Way

Jeff VanderMeer has been appointed the 2016-2017 Trias Writer-in-Residence for Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and will be teaching a creative writing course called “Ghost Modules, Months of Secrets, and Dark Matter.” Assuming you’re not currently enrolled in the upstate NY college, he’s also been kind enough to post the basic outline for his seminar, along with a reading list.

This, along VanderMeer’s Wonderbook lecture series, will make for indispensable inspiration for those of you embarking on your own writing projects this fall!

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Is It Just Us, Or Does Leonardo Da Vinci’s Tank Look Like a Giant Terrifying Dalek?

Orbit Book’s intrepid Creative Director Lauren Panepinto travelled to Burning Man this week, and among the art festival’s many delights, she found this amazing Flaming Dalek Tank! This enormous tank, while it looks like it’s here to exterminate us all, is actually a life-size model of a tank designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.

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Holy Rewatch Batman! “That Darn Catwoman” / “Scat! Darn Catwoman”

“That Darn Catwoman” / “Scat! Darn Catwoman”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 40 and 41
Production code 9743
Original air dates: January 19 and 25, 1967

The Bat-signal. Robin is giving a commencement speech at Aaron Burr High School. (Why someone who hasn’t actually graduated high school yet is giving a high school commencement is left as an exercise for the viewer.) He’s approached afterward by Pussycat, who is Catwoman’s protégé. (She’s actually a rock and roll star, but Catwoman has recruited her to be her sidekick, since at age twenty, she’s already over-the-hill to be a rock star…). She scratches Robin with a cataphrenic, which turns Robin to a punk. The boy wonder actually slams O’Hara into a wall and then goes off with Pussycat.

[“I’ll do everything I can to rehabilitate you.” “Marry me!” “Everything except that…”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Hamlet Makes Way More Sense as an Out-of-Control D&D Campaign

Hamlet can be frustrating to even the most discerning of theatre aficionados. Sure, it contains some of Shakespeare’s greatest soliloquies, but the plot is an awkward thing that seems to meander and fizzle and jump around oddly. And no one can seem to make up their minds about whether or not Hamlet is into his mom? The prince leaves for a long while and comes back later on? It’s all a bit much.

Until you realize that it was merely the result of an overzealous tabletop RPG.

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Furthermore Audiobook Sweepstakes!

The audiobook of Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermorenarrated by Bronson Pinchot!—is available now from Listening Library, and we want to send you a copy!

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit—and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

Comment in the post to enter!

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Zachary Quinto to Narrate New John Scalzi Novella The Dispatcher

On October 4, Audible will exclusively release John Scalzi’s new novella The Dispatcher in audiobook form, with Star Trek‘s Zachary Quinto narrating the science fiction thriller. In a near future where people who get murdered come back to life, the eponymous Dispatcher Tony Valdez finds himself distracted from his job—of “releasing” people who are near death for a second chance at life—when a fellow Dispatcher gets kidnapped.

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Fiction Affliction: September Releases in Fantasy

Fifty-seven fantastical new books will arrive in September to vie for your attention. Lian Hearn winds up her Shikanoko series; Seanan McGuire brings us the next Toby Daye story; Peter S. Beagle presents a very Pacific Northwestern standalone; Sarah Beth Durst and Danielle Paige kick off new series; and ever so much more. Really, so much more. Where will you start reading?

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The Internet Combined The Force Awakens and Shrek to Make Kylo Ren Seem Sillier Than Ever

One of the most upsetting sequences in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is Poe Dameron’s torture at the hands of Kylo Ren. While it acts as an echo of Princess Leia’s torture at the hand’s of Darth Vader in A New Hope, TFA shows us more, making Poe’s pain immediate and frightening.

But in an alternate universe… Kylo Ren is in fact Lord Farquaad from Shrek, and everything changes.

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