Less Cannibalism, More Moonbeasts: Lord Dunsany’s “Poor Old Bill”

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 Lord Dunsany’s “Poor Old Bill,” first published in A Dreamer’s Tales in 1910. Spoilers ahead.

[“We stopped our work for a moment because Captain seemed to be looking away from us at the colours in the sky…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

M.R. Carey Talks The Girl With All the Gifts Movie and Myth vs. Reality in His Reddit AMA

While we’ve only known for about a year or so that M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts was coming to the big screen, it turns out that Carey was writing the screenplay while plotting out the novel years ago! Which means that the movie—set to be released later this year in the UK, and hopefully soon in the U.S.—plays with perspective in a way that the novel didn’t, making for a different telling of a celebrated addition to the zombie genre. This is just one tidbit from Carey’s recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread in Reddit’s r/books subreddit, which covered plenty about the movie (including diverse casting choices) and the next form the book should take (Carey is all for a graphic novel version).

Carey also discussed his new novel Fellside: how he came up with this ghostly prison story, and what similarities its protagonist Jess shares with young Melanie. Not to mention some nostalgic musings on his work on Lucifer and The Unwritten… Read on for the highlights! (Beware, there are some spoilers for The Girl With All the Gifts in the questions and answers.)

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What’s it Like for Peter Parker Growing Up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Our brand new Spider-Man, as introduced in Captain America: Civil War, is only fifteen years old. Take that in for a moment. He is fifteen. A decade-and-a-half old. He wasn’t even born in the 20th century, which is pretty much a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s exciting because none of the previous screen Spider-Mans have been truly teenage-like (mostly because they were being portrayed by adults). And it’ll be great for the current audience of kids, who can view Peter as more of an avatar. But the really cool part? This Spider-Man grew up in an age full of superheroes—and it’s bound to shape his worldview in a way that these films have never been able to address before.

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The Seascape Tattoo Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Larry Niven and Steven Barnes’s The Seascape Tattoo, available June 28th from Tor Books!

Aros of Azteca and Neoloth-Pteor are the deadliest of enemies: Swordsman and Sorcerer, locked in mortal combat, who have tried to kill each other more times than either can count. But when the princess Neoloth loves is kidnapped, there is only one plan that offers any hope of rescue . . . and that requires passing off the barbarian Aros as a lost princeling and infiltrating the deadliest cabal of necromancers the world has ever seen. They cannot trust each other. They will betray or kill each other the first chance they get. But they’re all each other has.

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 12:45 PM Eastern Time (ET) on May 25th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 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.

Watch the First Trailer for The Space Between Us, About Literal Star-Crossed Lovers

Of course in the future, when we’ve colonized other planets, the thing connecting humans will be the Internet. Asa Butterfield (who we last saw as Ender Wiggin in Ender’s Game) stars as Gardner, the only human ever born on Mars, while Tulsa (Tomorrowland‘s Britt Robertson) is an average Earthling, and they meet-cute through instant-messaging. But when he escapes to Earth in a reverse take on The Martian, all of the astronauts and scientists who have kept him alive (and secret) on a distant planet have to deal with the publicity nightmare of a “Martian” wandering around Earth in search of his true love.

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Science Fiction, Alchemy, or a Little Bit of Both?

John Crowley, the author of classic Little, Big, believes he’s found the strongest contender for “oldest SF story,” and he loves the story so much, he’s working on a new translation of it for Small Beer Press. The story, The Chemical Wedding, appeared in Germany in 1616 and purported to be the work of Christian Rosencreutz, the legendary founder of Rosicrucianism. A theologian and utopian named Johann Valentin Andreae admitted to authorship years later, and called the book a “ludibrium”—which can mean hoax or joke—but by then it had already become one of the foundational texts of the Rosicrucian movement. And Crowley thinks the book is much more than that.

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Dream-Casting The Wheel of Time TV Series

Well, whaddaya know. It’s happening after all.

As you know, Tor.com Bob (especially if you just clicked that link), the television rights to the Wheel of Time series have just been optioned by a major studio, this time with the approval of Robert Jordan’s estate. Which is pretty stupendous news if you’re a WOT fan. That doesn’t mean a WOT TV series is a fait accompli, of course, but it does mean that its existence is a hell of a lot more likely than it was just over a year ago – which, as you may recall, was when the whole Red Eagle/“Winter Dragon” alleged pilot debacle went down. (My thoughts on the subject at the time are at the beginning of this post.) But whatever, who cares about the legal technicalities of it all, when we can discuss the actual important conundrum now facing the fandom?

That conundrum being, of course (drumroll, please): casting. Dun-dun-DUN!

Who, WHO shall play our beloved (and not so beloved) Wheel of Time characters that we have been following for so very long? It’s a question that’s been fought over since the nineties, over and over again, but now we can start yelling at each other about it afresh, y’all! Yay!

[“Hey, a creeping kid! For my film, The Creeping Kid!”]

12 Scenes from HBO’s Game of Thrones We Wish Were in the Books

Last week we talked about all the dumbest things that we were upset didn’t make it to the small screen, but HBO’s Game of Thrones has legions of fans and an army of Emmys for a reason—we would be lying if we told you there weren’t a few things the show actually does better than the books. Before the book purists come for us, we remind you of the budding romance between Tormund and Brienne, AKA Tormienne. The show has once again delivered to us something we never knew we wanted but love all the same.

With the show firmly beyond the books and the plot lines beginning their advance to conclusion, we want to acknowledge our favorite scenes from the show that were never in the books. And because we had so many, we’re giving you twelve! Beware of spoilers through Season 6.

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Support the 2016 Con or Bust Auction By Bidding on Amazing Prizes!

It’s time once again for Con or Bust! The annual auction is administered by Kate Nepveu under the umbrella of the Carl Brandon Society, a not-for-profit organization named after fictional African-American fan author Carl Brandon. The Society is dedicated to increasing ethnic diversity in the SFF community, and holds this annual online auction to help fans of color attend the SFF con of their choosing. As always, they’re offering a wide range of fabulous prizes, including rare Wheel of Time art, publishing prize packs, signed first editions, and handmade gifts.

The auction closes at 4:00pm on Sunday, June 5th, so get your bids in soon!

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Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Colors!

Doesn’t this look like a page from the most disturbing coloring book? Artist Andrey Fetisov illustrates the madness-inducing horror of some of H.P. Lovecraft’s best stories, including “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and (of course) “The Call of Cthulhu.” Just look at those colors! As vivid as our nightmares.

[via Imgur]

Pick a Door, Any Door…

As this excellent comic from SlugBooks demonstrates, magical doors come in many shapes and sizes, and inspire hours of endless debate over which fantastical world (some portal fantasies, others not) you’d like to visit. We can’t help but think of Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway, with endless possible worlds into which you can tumble. But who says you have to pick just one? As we already discovered, nearly all magical worlds can be mapped into a multiverse—so why not take the TARDIS to Hogwarts, Narnia, and 221 Baker Street?

We’d recommend avoiding Westeros, but we know our own Emily Asher-Perrin would definitely pick Neverland. Which doorway(s) would you choose?

Legends of Tomorrow’s Wibbly Wobbly First Season

Even if you don’t find much else to praise in Legends of Tomorrow’s first season, you have to admit that it’s consistent on at least one front: from week to week, the show had a lot of promise that it didn’t quite live up to. Somewhere under the surface—beneath the bland sets, the clunky exposition, the placeholder feel of some episodes—is a really interesting show about different kinds of heroism, the things that drive people to drastic actions, and the way we take care of ourselves and others. But a poorly chosen central plot and a tendency to tell rather than show make Legends’ first season often more fun to pick apart than it is to watch.

That is, until the end.

Spoilers for the entire first season follow.

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The Great Catastrophe: The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

The epic journey that began in The Passage finally comes full circle in The City of Mirrors, a proper doorstopper of a novel that satisfies somewhat in spite of its sheer size and a hell of a hammy bad guy.

I have such fond memories of the beginning of this trilogy, which paired an awesome and expansive apocalypse—one up there, in my estimation, with the end of the world in Swan Song and The Stand—with a truly heartbreaking tale of loss on the small scale. By the denouement of that book, I had no idea where the story as a whole was going to go, but I knew that I wanted to know. And then… well.

The Twelve wasn’t terrible. It had a couple of a kick-ass action scenes, and some stirring slower moments that allowed Justin Cronin to explore the emotions of his vast cast of characters. But almost every other inch of that many-inched monolith of a novel felt like filler; texture at best and time-wasting at worst. In that respect, The City of Mirrors splits the difference. It doesn’t meander as much as its messy predecessor did, but nor, on the back of such bloat, and with more of its own to add to the tally, can it recapture the magic of The Passage.

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Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Enterprise Incident”

“The Enterprise Incident”
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by John Meredyth Lucas
Season 3, Episode 4
Production episode 60043-59
Original air date: September 27, 1968
Stardate: 5027.3

Captain’s log. Kirk is acting irrationally, being snappish with both Chekov and Spock and then ordering the ship to head for the Romulan Neutral Zone, in violation of treaty, and entirely on his own authority, as no order from Starfleet has come in that Uhura is aware of. They go through the Zone and into Romulan space. Three ships decloak: Romulan ships, albeit of Klingon design. The Enterprise is surrounded.

Sub-commander Tal contacts them, asking them to surrender or be destroyed, giving them an hour to comply. Kirk and Spock theorize that they would’ve just destroyed them right off normally, but they must want the ship.

[Captain, please go. Somehow they do not look aesthetically pleasing on a human…]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch