A Demoralizing Disaster: Disney’s The Black Cauldron

Ever since Snow White, Disney had been struggling with two separate animation issues: effects sequences and the process of transferring animation art to film without going disastrously over budget. Some film tricks—using cornflakes to create something that more or less looked like snow, for instance—had helped with the first, and the xerographic process introduced in One Hundred and One Dalmatians had been a lifesaver for recent film budgets. But some of those techniques also caused problems: the cornflake technique could often be tricky to film, and the xerographic process generally resulted in characters outlined with thick black lines, and limited the ability of animators to add the subtle color shadings that had been featured in Pinocchio and Fantasia.

But in the 1980s, something new and miraculous entered the picture: computers. They could, animators thought, solve multiple issues: the transfer process; effects shots (Disney animators had been thrilled by the computer animation created by Pixar for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan); and even—possibly—filming. They decided to try to insert computer generated images into their next upcoming film. And, they thought, they could also try out a new animation transfer technique, animation photo transfer (APT) for a few scenes.

Unfortunately, audiences were introduced to both in Disney’s second all time greatest animation flop: The Black Cauldron.

[The demoralizing experience of making a film your new corporate overlords hate]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Half-Blood Prince, Chapters 9 and 10

The Harry Potter Reread currently cannot stop eating gummy bears, and it’s probably not a good thing since they’re basically corn syrup and gelatin. But at least it’s not compulsively eating candy corn, which is basically corn syrup and wax?

We’re going to get a fancy new textbook and find out a bit about Voldemort’s relatives! It’s chapters 9 and 10—The Half-Blood Prince and The House of Gaunt.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

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Series: The Harry Potter Reread

She Walks in Shadows Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of the all-women H.P. Lovecraft anthology She Walks in Shadows, edited by Silva Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, available October 13th from Innsmouth Free Press, with stories by Angela Slatter, Gemma Files, Molly Tanzer, and more!

They emerge from the shadows, to claim the night…

Women from around the world delve into Lovecraftian depths, penning and illustrating a variety of Weird horrors. The pale and secretive Lavinia wanders through the woods, Asenath is a precocious teenager with an attitude, and the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Nitocris has found a new body in distant America. And do you have time to hear a word from our beloved mother Shub-Niggurath?

Defiant, destructive, terrifying, and harrowing, the women in She Walks in Shadows are monsters and mothers, heroes and devourers. Observe them in all their glory. Iä! Iä!

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 October 8th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 12th. 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.

Too Many Voices: Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley

Empire Ascendant is Kameron Hurley’s fifth novel. The second volume of her epic fantasy “Worldbreaker Saga” from Angry Robot Books, it follows last year’s The Mirror Empire, and builds upon the grim and terrible events of that novel to depict a world facing cataclysmic events. The invading Tai Mora have suffered a minor setback, but their legions still pour through rents in the world. The country of Saiduan has already been torn apart. Now the Tai Mora are pouring into Dorinah and the land of the Dhai—and worse is yet to come, because the dark star Oma is not yet fully risen.

To be honest, I wanted to enjoy Empire Ascendant more than I did.

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Charmed, I’m Sure: Getting to Know Everyone’s Dream Prince

I will admit up front that I have a strange affection for Prince Charming. He inspired the Charming Tales (available at fine book portals everywhere), and got me started on the road to a career as an author, or at least a published author. However, what made me interested in writing a story about Prince Charming was not that he was a particularly interesting character, but that he was entirely uninteresting. In fairytales filled with iconic beautiful princesses like Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty, and Briar Rose, the prince is, almost without exception, a non-entity. In fact, in fairytales prince characters are comically nondescript and interchangeable. Would the stories of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or Snow White be any different if Prince Phillip or Prince Charming or Prince “Noname” (literally—the prince in Snow White is never given a name) were swapped?

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A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Part 39

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 39 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 66 (“Tyrion”) and Chapter 67 (“The Kingbreaker”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[“In my experience,” he said, “the trouble with oaths of the form, death before dishonor, is that eventually, given enough time and abrasion, they separate the world into just two sorts of people: the dead, and the forsworn.” –Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 58

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, a full disadvantaged duel was fought; a full disadvantaged duel was won; and a full disadvantaged duel was wasted. This week, the aftermath: a lot of shouting and unwarranted stubbornness.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here.

Click on through to join the discussion!

[He was in a cage once again.]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com

Midnight in Karachi Episode 32: Kameron Hurley

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

Hugo award winner Kameron Hurley is on the podcast this week to talk about the meaning of grimdark, her honesty about the business of writing, pushing boundaries, and her new novel Empire Ascendant—available October 6th from Angry Robot. Read an excerpt from Empire Ascendant, sequel to The Mirror Empire, here on Tor.com.

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Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Revealing the Covers for Andy Remic’s Song for No Man’s Land Trilogy

We’re pleased to reveal the covers for Andy Remic’s trilogy of dark fantasy novellas set in the trenches of World War I. Book 1—A Song for No Man’s Land—comes out next February, to be followed shortly after by Return of Souls and The Iron Beast. Below, artist Jeffrey Alan Love walks us through the process of creating these three great covers!

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All the Ways SciFi Brings Dinosaurs Back

What’s the point of having dinosaurs around if they can’t terrorize people? That’s the lesson that Jurassic World reminded us of with its $1 billion worldwide haul. But tinkering around with amber-trapped bugs is just one of the ways authors and filmmakers have made dinosaurs part of our world. Here’s a quick primer on the major ways scifi creators put people within reach of dinosaurian jaws and claws.

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Spoiler Playground for Brandon Sanderson’s Shadows of Self

The latest installment in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere is out! It’s been landing at bookstores, doorsteps, mailboxes, and e-readers, and now we need to talk about it. Tor.com has most graciously given us a playground for Shadows of Self-related spoilers, questions, debates, and general fannish chaos, so let’s dive in! But first, if you’re looking for a non-spoiler review of the novel, head over here!

Waxillium, Wayne, Steris, and Marasi are all back in fine form, taking on crime and the social elite of Elendel in their own special ways. Humor, tension, back stories, character development, and a culture in transition—yup, it’s Sanderson, all right. Also, giraffes.

[Huh. You’re as surprising as a donkey who can dance, Mister Cravat.]

These Cats Believe in the Boogieman, Because He Gives Them Scritches!

Kat Philbin is an artist after our own Halloween-loving, kitty-WORSHIPPING hearts. Here we present a collection of the greatest icons of horror history cuddling some adorable little purr boxes. Above, you will see “Meowloween” which is the most perfect of perfect things. Click below for more, and check out Philbin’s site to order prints!

[Hellraiser seriously needed more cats.]

Rebuilding After War: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

Hallie Hoffmann is sixteen and trying to keep her family farm running with her pregnant sister Marthe—six months after her sister’s husband, Thom, went marched south to fight in the war against a dark god and his irregulars. The war is over, but Thom hasn’t come home and winter is coming. The sisters’ relationship is strained to the breaking point already when a veteran walking up the road hires on through the winter, bringing more with him than just the clothes on his back.

Twisted Things begin appearing on Roadstead Farm again—the creatures of the dark god, thought to be slain in the war by the hero John Balsam—and the politics of families, cities, and armies come crashing together on Hallie and Marthe’s land. At the same time, the sisters are dealing with their own wounds—jagged and unhealed fears left in the wake of their abusive, difficult father—and the strained relationship with the local township that resulted from his behavior in life towards his neighbors. Hallie must look into herself, as well as face down the danger ahead, to save her family and her home.

[A review — contains spoilers.]

The Builders Sweepstakes!

Daniel Polansky’s novella The Builders is available November 3rd from Tor.com Publishing, and we want to send you a galley! (Check out an excerpt from The Builders, and the highlights of Polansky’s recent Reddit AMA.)

A missing eye.
A broken wing.
A stolen country.

The last job didn’t end well.

Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the Captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.

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 October 7th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 11th. 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 Perils of Communal Living: High-Rise

I was predisposed to like High-Rise, given my admiration for J.G. Ballard’s fiction and Ben Wheatley’s films. Wheatley is a Fantastic Fest favorite; his previous films Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field in England all had their US premieres there in previous years, so it’s no surprise that High-Rise was one of the hot tickets for this year’s festival.

Advance word out of TIFF was fairly polarized, and reactions at Fantastic Fest were similarly split. High-Rise is not to all tastes. Overly literal minds will spend too much time wondering why Laing doesn’t just leave the high-rise and go to Tesco instead of doing the notorious thing that he does for food in the opening scene. Some may be slightly disappointed by the fact that it is what they envisioned when they heard “Ben Wheatley is directing an adaptation of High-Rise” and thus lacks some surprise. However, the film largely succeeds—Ben Wheatley and screenwriter/co-editor Amy Jump have created a visually striking, splendidly acted adaptation that accurately captures the sardonic humour and the gimlet observations of human behaviour of Ballard’s novel.

[Mild spoilers, for those who haven’t read the novel]

Last Song Before Night Author Ilana C. Myer Talks About Writing and Sword Fighting!

Ilana C. Myer’s debut novel Last Song Before Night is out now! In the world of Last Song, art and magic are intertwined, and poets must recover their lost enchantments in order to avert cataclysm—at great cost to themselves. Ff you live in the Northeast, you can catch her on tour with Seth Dickinson, the author of The Traitor Baru Cormorant, but in the meantime she took to reddit to talk about writing, music, and swordfighting, Check out the highlights below!

[So much writing advice!]

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Welcome to Season Three

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has returned with a bang: Coulson is back, but his left hand is not, and his “right hand,” May, is taking her own sweet time getting back. Skye is back, but is now going by her birth name, Daisy. Mack and Hunter are back, being competent and cracking jokes. Bobbi is back, but working in the lab rather than as a field agent while she recovers from wounds. Fitz is back, but searching for clues to Simmons’ disappearance in the field rather than in the lab. And Simmons has been having more than a little trouble getting back. The team has immediately found themselves at odds with a new agency, as well as a shadowy monster, and a resurgent Hydra. Today, we recap the first two episodes of the season. And this post will start a thread to give everyone a chance to discuss future episodes as the season progresses.

Only Agents cleared to observe SPOILERS should proceed beyond this point!

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