Rowling Reveals That American Wizards Have Slytherin to Thank For Their School

We now have a nice long story as background on the Potterverse North American wizarding school, Ilvermorny. But how does it all break down? Fans have been concerned about how this tale would unfold, following some upset over Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” piece, but this is the first substantial glimpse we’ve been given into the more recent magical system in the United States and history of the school.

So let’s do this.

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The Swarm

The first invasion of Earth was beaten back by a coalition of corporate and international military forces, and the Chinese army. China has been devastated by the Formic’s initial efforts to eradicate Earth life forms and prepare the ground for their own settlement. The Scouring of China struck fear into the other nations of the planet; that fear blossomed into drastic action when scientists determined that the single ship that wreaked such damage was merely a scout ship. There is a mothership out beyond the Solar System’s Kuiper Belt, and it’s heading into the system, unstoppable by any weapons that Earth can muster.

Earth has been reorganized for defense. There is now a Hegemon, a planetary official responsible for keeping all the formerly warring nations in line. There’s a Polemarch, responsible for organizing all the military forces of the planet into the new International Fleet. But there is an enemy within, an enemy as old as human warfare: ambition and politics. Greed and self-interest. Will Bingwen, Mazer Rackam, Victor Delgado and Lem Juke be able to divert those very human enemies in time to create a weapon that can effectively defend humanity in the inexorable Second Formic War?

Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston return to their Ender’s Game prequel series with this first volume of an all-new trilogy about the Second Formic War in The Swarm—available August 2nd from Tor Books!

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Elder Gods Just Wanna Have Fun: Manta Aisora and Koin’s Haiyoru! Nyaruani

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 is our hundredth post! To celebrate just how weird Weird Fiction can get, we’re watching varying amounts of Haiyoru! Nyaruani, a TV series based on a Japanese light novel by Manta Aisora (writer) and Koin (illustrator). The light novel (manga series) was published by Soft Bank Creative between April 2009 and March 2014. The flash series aired October 2009–March 2010; the follow-up series aired December 2010–February 2011, and April 2012–June 2013. Spoilers ahead.

[“The pagan gods’ hearts are all slimy.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Big Patrick Rothfuss Fan Lin-Manuel Miranda Definitely Earned His Pipes

While many of the high-profile Hamilton audience members have tended toward the musical and/or political spheres, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical seems to have surprise celebrity guests at nearly every show. For instance, The Kingkiller Chronicle author Patrick Rothfuss popped backstage this weekend for a selfie with a starstruck Miranda.

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Political Popularity and World Peace: Icon by Genevieve Valentine

Last time we met Suyana Sapaki she had managed to survive an assassination attempt that lead to her popularity soaring amongst the general public, but falling to extremely dubious and complicated levels among the other Faces—official diplomats in a celebrity-obsessed near-future society.

The young woman who, it turns out, had always been a double agent of sorts, is back in Genevieve Valentine’s Icon, the follow up to last year’s wonderful Persona.

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Boundaries Are Conventions: Cloud Atlas is Easily One of the Most Ambitious Films Ever Made, Flaws and All

Saying that a film version of Cloud Atlas is an ambitious project is like saying that translating Midnight’s Children into Zulu when you don’t know the language is an ambitious project. It’s not ambitious, it’s kind of impossible. Yet the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer did just that in 2012.

This is a complicated one. Let’s work through it together.

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Series: Wachowski Rewatch

Lose Yourself in the Art of Night Gallery!

Rod Serling has long been acknowledged as one of the true geniuses of television. The Twilight Zone wasn’t just a work of sci-fi art; it was a socially conscious, fiercely moral show, that tried to nudge its viewers into new ways of thinking as it entertained them. It was also a decent hit. Unfortunately Serling’s follow up, Night Gallery, was only allowed three seasons before higher ups started interfering, so it was never able to attain The Twilight Zone’s heights. However it does have one extra last, one lasting, wonderfully creepy, legacy.

[Surely the boy will only use his power for good?]

Rereading Kage Baker’s Company Series: Sky Coyote, Chapters 11-15

Put down that Totter Dan game and fire up your buke, because it’s once again time for the Kage Baker Company Series Reread! This week, we’ll be covering chapters 11 through 15 of Sky Coyote.

As always, you can find all previous posts in the reread at’s handy-dandy index page, which I encourage you to bookmark and share widely among friends and loved ones. What else, what else? Oh yes, spoilers! This reread contains spoilers for the entire series, so please be careful if you haven’t read all the books yet.

And with that, we’re off!

[Sleep tight, children. Sky Coyote is with you.]

Series: Rereading Kage Baker

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Tholian Web”

“The Tholian Web”
Written by Judy Burns & Chet Richards
Directed by Ralph Senensky (uncredited) and Herb Wallerstein
Season 3, Episode 9
Production episode 60043-64
Original air date: November 15, 1968
Stardate: 5693.2

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is searching for the U.S.S. Defiant, which went missing three weeks earlier. Spock’s sensor readings indicate that the fabric of space where the Defiant was last reported is literally breaking up. Chekov picks up what appears to be the Defiant on the viewer, but though they can see it, there are no significant sensor readings from the ship. Nonetheless, it is there, even if it is all green and glowy.

Leaving Scotty—who reports a minute drop in warp power, which has him concerned—in charge of the ship, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Chekov don environmental suits and beam over to the Defiant bridge to find several dead bodies of crew who have apparently murdered each other.

[Do you suppose they’re seeing Jim because they’ve lost confidence in you?]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

This Savage Song

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books in the Monsters of Verity series, This Savage Song is available July 5 from HarperCollins.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

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Flashbulb Diplomacy: Image, Fashion, and Politics in Persona and Icon

Every year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a gala fundraiser for its Costume Institute with the fashion party of the year. Industry elite are invited to attend; in recent years, celebrity guests have increasingly joined them. It’s made the carpet a little more populist, for versions of “populist” that let the public gather behind barriers across the avenue to guess who’s in the giant silver ballgown. The evening is a crowning glory of the fashion world, the jewel of the Met crown—and an achievement for the Hollywood set who get invited. Being on the red carpet at the Met Gala is a power move. And Anna Wintour personally decides who goes, and when they’re allowed to arrive.

That seems vaguely ludicrous. But this party is a high-stakes event, and there’s a palpable hierarchy that’s understood—and being constantly negotiated—by everyone on the inside. Anna Wintour is just a visible figurehead of a process that’s usually refracted across dozens of event runners and publicists. The Best Actress ringers don’t show up in the opening hour of the Oscars carpet; the Hollywood inner circle shows up at the Met Gala after the models are gone. We’ve seen the patterns play out to the point we understand the rhythms. Show up too early and everyone knows you’re the opening act: your photos get buried in real-time slideshows. Show up later, and the burden’s on you to interpret the theme better than everyone around you—while hitting a red carpet grace note that has that Met edge. (The year the Met did its China Through the Looking Glass exhibit, Rihanna showed up in an embroidered Guo Pei coat it took three people to carry.)

[That level of image fascinates me.]