A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass.
From The Blog
December 22, 2014
What is it Like to be a Malfoy Post-Battle of Hogwarts? Rowling Reveals All on Pottermore
Stubby the Rocket
December 18, 2014
Mistborn Fans Will Get TWO New Novels Next Year!
Tor.com
December 15, 2014
Steven Erikson: On Completing Malazan
Tor.com
December 12, 2014
When My Wife Put Her Face in a Fireball for Epic Fantasy
Brian Staveley
December 10, 2014
Even More Standalone Fantasy Fiction!
Stubby the Rocket
Fri
Dec 26 2014 3:30pm

Defanged, but Not Declawed: Into the Woods

Into the Woods, Little Red Riding Hood

Into the Woods has been a point of concern to everyone who knows the show since the Disney and Rob Marshall set out to make it happen as a film. Why? Let’s just say there are many aspects to the tale that are not exactly Disney-friendly, particularly in regard to how Disney does fairy tales. And while it’s good to find they didn’t abandon the ugliness of that world altogether, they do pull enough punches to make it irritating.

[I wish…]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 10:00am

Getting Into Into the Woods

Into the Woods

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, are chronically late to the theater and always miss the previews, or are deathly allergic to the smell of popcorn and artificial butter and so haven’t been to movies full stop, then you are almost certain to be aware that Disney’s cinematic retelling of Steven Sondheim’s classic musical Into the Woods is being released in a few weeks as a Christmas present to lovers of fairy tales and/or Johnny Depp everywhere. As a long time fan of Sondheim and of Into the Woods in particular my initial reaction was, ‘Really? Disney?’

This is NOT because I am a Disney hater. I live fifteen minutes from the park and got a report this week from Disney’s passholder services, who were ever so gently reminding me to renew, that I’ve visited the park no less than sixty or so times in the past couple of years. No, the reason for my reaction was that Sondheim’s musical is anything but your typical Disney faire. Very adult themes are addressed in the musical including rape, infidelity, child abandonment, stealing, lying, murder, and so on. None of the characters are classic heroes, many of the main characters die horribly, and the final song is basically the moral counterpoint to ole Jiminy Cricket’s suggestion that when you wish upon a star, “anything your heart desires will come to you.”

I realize that the musical Into the Woods is now over a quarter of a century old, having made its way onto Broadway in 1987, so many readers and moviegoers may not be familiar with the story. So, let us then dive into this steamy plot so you can get a sense of the many challenges that Disney faced in making a film for general audiences from Sondheim’s original work.

[Read More]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 2:00pm

Flying Hats and Marching Brooms: Once Upon a Time, “Heroes and Villains”

Once Upon a Time Heroes and Villains

Villains! Heroes! Trickery! Princesses! Pirates! Surprisingly Powerful Hats! Yep, time once again for ABC’s Once Upon a Time, as the fall season draws to a close with “Heroes and Villains.” Which has to do—SHOCKER AHEAD—with Heroes and Villains.

[This means an evil yet adorable dalmatian could be showing up. JUST SAYING.]

Mon
Dec 8 2014 2:00pm

Evil Is More Fun: Once Upon A Time, “Shattered Sight”

Once Upon a Time Shattered Sight

Curses! Giant ice walls with the potential to cause a lot of flooding issues! Sexy pirates! Beautiful princesses! Random comic book product placements! Over the top costumes! A strange fascination with Mickey Mouse’s Hat! Yes, it’s time once again for ABC’s Once Upon a Time, with “Shattered Sight.”

[Storybrooke goes evil, and it’s surprisingly fun. And full of spoilers below.]

Mon
Dec 1 2014 5:00pm

The Importance of Protective Eyewear: Once Upon a Time, “Fall”

Once Upon a Time Fall

Beautiful princesses! Sexy pirates! True Love! Truly Unconvincing Love! Shattered mirrors! Blatant product placements! Yes, it’s time once again to gather around and snark about ABC’s Once Upon a Time, because, let’s face it, after what this show did to actual eyeballs this episode, we all need it.

[Assuming your eyes are still working after that, they will see major spoilers after the cut.]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 11:45am

Watch the First Trailer for Disney’s Live-Action Cinderella

Cinderella trailer live-action Disney Kenneth Branagh Cate Blanchett Helena Bonham Carter

Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, being backed by Disney, looks to be a pretty faithful remake of the animated classic. (No songs from the Brandy/Whitney Houston musical, or the complete reimagining of Ever After.) Downton Abbey's Lily James is poor Ella, forced to serve her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett, who looks like she will be delightfully mean) and awful stepsisters. Until, that is, Ella's fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) reveals herself and whips up a pumpkin carriage, blue dress, and glass slippers for Ella to enjoy the ball.

[Watch the trailer]

Mon
Nov 17 2014 2:00pm

Freezing Powers: Once Upon a Time, “The Snow Queen” and “Smash the Mirror”

Once Upon a Time

Princesses! Pirates! Orphans! Thieves! Elegant yet snowy residences! Periodic reminders of the joys of comic books! A number of otherwise somewhat sensible people chasing after Mickey Mouse’s hat! Yes, it’s time once again to chat about ABC’s Once Upon A Time.

Disclaimer before the cut: When I announced that I would be missing one episode (last week’s “The Snow Queen”) because of the World Fantasy Convention, I was not aware that the very next episode would be a two hour episode (this week’s “Smash the Mirror”), meaning that this post is both a bit long yet less detailed than usual. You have been warned.

[In which Our Heroes and Villains still inexplicably refuse to just jet down to Disney World to solve their Hat Problem.]

Fri
Nov 7 2014 9:35am

Woody and Buzz Will Return for Toy Story 4 in 2017

Toy Story 4

In 2010, after taking us to the edge of our emotions and back, Toy Story 3 seemed an appropriate ending for the Toy Story trilogy, with toys and humans alike getting closure after 15 years. But now, Disney•Pixar has announced a fourth Toy Story film, bringing back Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the toys.

[To infinity and another sequel!]

Thu
Nov 6 2014 1:00pm

How Sleeping Beauty is Accidentally the Most Feminist Animated Movie Disney Ever Made

Sleeping Beauty

So I know what you’re thinking: Seriously, Leigh? Sleeping Beauty is feminist? The classic Disney film made in 1959, i.e. in possibly the least feminist-friendly decade of the entire twentieth century? The quintessential Disney Princess Movie? The one where the titular character is basically a Barbie doll knockoff who does nothing the whole film but sing wistfully about Finding Her Man, before becoming the ultimate passive Damsel in Distress, and other than that has maybe ten actual lines of dialogue? That Sleeping Beauty?

To which I say: Yep, that’s the one.

[But I wanted it blue]

Mon
Nov 3 2014 3:30pm

Rock Trolls and Captain Guyliner: Once Upon a Time, Family Business

Once Upon a Time Family Business

True Love! Pirates! Trolls! Characters who almost never change outfits! Pointless quests! Hunts for hats! And some absolutely fabulous sets, darlings! Yes, it’s time once again for ABC’s Once Upon a Time, with “Family Business.”

[Chilly and spoilery below the cut.]

Wed
Oct 29 2014 9:00am

Bring Me a Cuddly Marshmallow Robot: Big Hero 6 Will Make You Cry, and That’s Okay

Big Hero 6

Another Disney-Marvel venture that comes from the pages of a comic book, Big Hero 6 was already set to combine our favorite sci-fi buzz words—superheroes, robots, alternate realities—and deliver something fun for the whole family. But the movie supersedes those expectations to ruminate on invention, family, and how grief transforms us all... for better or for worse.

Spoiler-light review below.

[I am satisfied with my care.]

Mon
Oct 27 2014 1:00pm

Emma Loves Pop Tarts. And Maybe Other Things. Once Upon a Time: “Breaking Glass”

Once Upon a Time: Breaking Glass

Princesses! True love! Large hulking snowmen! Men trapped in mirrors! Women trapped in terrible plot lines! A surprising interest in Pop Tarts! Yes, it’s time for ABC’s Once Upon a Time to mess with our childhood memories, or make us just wish we could build large hulking snowmen to smash our enemies, depending.

[Spoilers follow]

Mon
Oct 20 2014 2:18pm

Disney’s Sea Voyage Film Moana Will Come to Theaters in 2016

Disney Moana 2016 Polynesia Maui

The last we had heard of Disney’s forthcoming CG-animated film Moana, it was set to be released in 2018. However, Disney has just announced (via Entertainment Weekly) that Moana will be sailing into theaters in 2016, two years early. The studio has also released a more detailed synopsis about the Polynesian heroine and her journey, including the gods and sea creatures she encounters along the way.

[Read more]

Mon
Oct 20 2014 3:00pm

Enter the Mouse: Once Upon a Time, “The Apprentice”

Once Upon a Time The Apprentice

True Love! Magic with a price, if almost never an actual price tag attached to it that would let you know whether it’s a bargain or not! Bad puns! Extremely convoluted family relationships! A sexy pirate and the savior who gives him a cell phone! And now, a reindeer! Yes, it’s another fantastic episode of ABC-Disney’s Once Upon a Time.

Ahem.

[After the cut, the spoilers will no longer be hiding under a hat.]

Mon
Oct 20 2014 11:00am

Snow White: The Blankest Slate of Them All

Snow White reimaginings The Sleeper and the Spindle

The Internet is abuzz over Neil Gaiman's newest children's book, The Sleeper and the Spindle, in which “a sort-of Snow White” rescues “an almost Sleeping Beauty” from her enchanted sleep with a kiss. Yet that boundary-busting kiss is just the bookend to an adventure that sees the raven-haired Snow trading her wedding dress for chain mail and racing through tunnels to get to the imprisoned Princess.

Sounds pretty rad, right? Well, it's not pop culture's first instance of Ready-for-Action Snow White—not by far. Mirror, mirror, on the wall, why is Snow White the most reimagined of them all? Because, when you boil it down, she has no personality—you can project anything you want onto her.

[Read more]

Mon
Oct 13 2014 2:00pm

A VERY Troubling Relationship with Ice Cream: Once Upon a Time, “Rocky Road”

Once Upon a Time Rocky Road

Ice! Cameras! ACTION! Plus plot holes! Magically contrived moments! Terrifying moments where ice cream is associated with—gasp—EVIL! Yes, it’s another wacky week with ABC’s Once Upon a Time, where every Disney character you’ve ever heard of turns out to be related to every other Disney character you’ve ever heard of and many you haven’t.

[Never take candy from strangers. Or, in this case, ice cream.]

Thu
Oct 9 2014 3:45pm

Baymax Embraces His Heroic Destiny in Big Hero 6 NYCC Footage

Big Hero 6 trailer NYCC

Every time we watch Big Hero 6 trailers, we become even more convinced that Baymax is going to somehow break our hearts. Just look at him, donning the carbon-fiber armor to fight off nanobots controlled by a villain in a Kabuki mask!

In this new “sizzle reel” that Walt Disney premiered at New York Comic-Con, not only are we tortured with Baymax cuteness, but we also get to see Hiro assemble the rest of his superhero team, each with their own rad gadgets.

[Watch the trailer]

Mon
Oct 6 2014 1:00pm

Dear Show, Ice Cream is NOT Evil: Once Upon a Time, “White Out”

Once Upon a Time White Out

Some fairy tale characters get to live happily ever after. Others, alas, turn into products of the Walt Disney Company and thus, find themselves trapped for what might seem like near eternity on an ABC Sunday night show. That’s right, it’s time for the weekly update for Once Upon a Time, with season four, episode two, “White Out.”

[Very, very spoilery up through season four, episode two]

Mon
Oct 6 2014 8:00am

Are All Princesses Really Waiting for Princes to Come?

“Some day my prince will come / Some day we’ll meet again
And away to his castle we’ll go / To be happy forever I know.”

“Some Day My Prince Will Come” from
Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In 1974, radical feminist Andrea Dworkin wrote a book called Woman Hating, in which she discusses some of the ways in which, in her view, culture and history work to promote a hatred of women. She dedicates an entire chapter to a discussion of fairytales. In the conclusion to that chapter she writes:

The moral of the story should, one would think, preclude a happy ending. It does not. The moral of the story is the happy ending. It tells us that happiness for a woman is to be passive, victimized, destroyed, or asleep. It tells us that happiness is for the woman who is good—inert, passive, victimized—and that a good woman is a happy woman. It tells us that the happy ending is when we are ended, when we live without our lives or not at all.

Dworkin’s view is not unique, nor even the first time that the treatment of women in fairytales was explored and criticized. In her influential 1949 book The Second Sex, existentialist Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “Woman is Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, she who receives and submits. In song and story the young man is seen departing adventurously in search of a woman; he slays the dragon, he battles giants; she is locked in a tower, a palace, a garden, a cave, she is chained to a rock, a captive, sound asleep: she waits.”

[Read More]

Thu
Oct 2 2014 12:06pm

Meet Your Emotions in Disney/Pixar’s First Inside Out Trailer

Disney Pixar Inside Out trailer

The first teaser trailer for Pete Docter’s next Disney/Pixar film, Inside Out, is here! Though we don’t get to see much footage, the teaser sets us up for the film by reminding us of how Disney/Pixar movies—including Docter’s Monsters Inc. and Up—tend to tug on your emotions.

Now Pixar is personifying those emotions themselves. We get to dive into the head of young Riley, and meet the emotions who keep everything running smoothly-ish.

[Introducing... Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness]