Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
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November 21, 2014
Never Wait for a Sequel Again: 17 Standalone Fantasy Novels
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The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
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In Defense of Indiana Jones, Archaeologist
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November 14, 2014
An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!
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November 13, 2014
Why Do We Reject Love as a Powerful Force in Interstellar?
Natalie Zutter
Tue
Nov 25 2014 2:30pm

Deities in Brief: “Azathoth” and “Nyarlathotep”

The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales HP LovecraftWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at “Azathoth” and “Nyarlathotep.” “Azathoth” was written in 1922 and published in Leaves in 1938; “Nyarlathotep” was written in 1920 and published in the November 1920 issue of The United Amateur. You can read both stories here. Spoilers ahead.

[“Never before had the screams of nightmare been such a public problem; now the wise men almost wished they could forbid sleep in the small hours, that the shrieks of cities might less horribly disturb the pale, pitying moon as it glimmered on green waters gliding under bridges, and old steeples crumbling against a sickly sky.”]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “A Fitting Punishment”

Joe Abercrombie reread Before They Are HangedI’m writing this from a bus. Any typos are the failt [sic] of my zany driver Harvey. He’s got salt and pepper hair and a weird proclivity for loudly snorting to clear his nasal passages. All in all he seems like a swell fellow. The neon green vest he’s wearing is particularly charming. This is neither here nor there. Just trust me when I say you’re better off than I am right now.

You know who’s not better off? Everyone in Before They Are Hanged. We’ve got three chapters left, which for the sake of sanity, I’m breaking into one chapter this week and two next week. I apologize for the shorter post this week, but we’ll have a nice explosive finish coming up.

[This week’s chapter…]

Tue
Nov 18 2014 10:00am

Imperfect Saltes: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Part V

Hp lovecraft reread The Case of Charles Dexter WardWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at the finale of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. CDW was written in 1927, published in abridged form in the May and July 1941 issues of Weird Tales; and published in full in the 1943 collection Beyond the Wall of Sleep. You can read the story here.

Catch our posts on the earlier parts of the story here, here, and here. Spoilers ahead.

[“It was a godless sound; one of those low-keyed, insidious outrages of Nature which are not meant to be. To call it a dull wail, a doom-dragged whine, or a hopeless howl of chorused anguish and stricken flesh without mind would be to miss its most quintessential loathsomeness and soul-sickening overtones.”]

Fri
Nov 14 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Questions” and “Holding the Line”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadI missed last week’s post. I have an excuse. The power cord to my MacBook Air inexplicably stopped working. One minute I’m the happiest little blogger on earth. The next I’m attempting to resuscitate a cord with mouth to mouth, shouting why over and over again. This screaming continued when I learned that the replacement was $80. This is not a joke.

In any case, I was probably missing the signs for several months that this tragedy was about to befall me. Maybe I had to wiggle the cord to get the light to come on. Maybe little bumps were developing where the internal wires were kinking. Maybe my little cord was constantly burping at serious moments and blaming indigestion. One things leads to another and it’s spewing blood all over the battle plans in the middle of a gods damned war!

Crap. I might be getting a little ahead of myself here.

On to this weeks chapters, one of which contains Lord Marshall Burr doing some things even my MacBook Air cord would be grossed out by.

[Click to find out...]

Tue
Nov 11 2014 12:00pm

Do Not Call Up That Which You Cannot Put Down: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Part IV

Hp lovecraft reread The Case of Charles Dexter WardWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at Part IV of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. CDW was written in 1927, published in abridged form in the May and July 1941 issues of Weird Tales; and published in full in the 1943 collection Beyond the Wall of Sleep. You can read the story here.

Catch our posts on the earlier parts of the story here and here. Spoilers ahead!

[“And now that I am ready to speak, I must own with humiliation that no triumph such as I dreamed of can ever be mine. Instead of triumph I have found terror, and my talk with you will not be a boast of victory but a plea for help and advice in saving both myself and the world from a horror beyond all human conception or calculation.”]

Fri
Nov 7 2014 12:00pm

The Malazan Reread Series Wrap!

Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Welcome to the final installment of the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! In this article, your hosts Bill and Amanda look back over the reread and share their thoughts on the entire series (with Amanda, new to the Malazan Empire, going first). Obviously this post will contain spoilers for the entire series, so beware! Join the discussion in the comments, and keep track of the previous comments here on our reread spoiler thread.

[Read More]

Tue
Nov 4 2014 10:00am

Unfortunate Relations: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Part III

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at Part III of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. CDW was written in 1927, published in abridged form in the May and July 1941 issues of Weird Tales; and published in full in the 1943 collection Beyond the Wall of Sleep. You can read the story here.

You can catch our post on parts one and two of the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“When the coach crossed the Pawcatuck and entered Rhode Island amidst the faery goldenness of a late spring afternoon his heart beat with quickened force, and the entry to Providence along Reservoir and Elmwood avenues was a breathless and wonderful thing despite the depths of forbidden lore to which he had delved.”]

Mon
Nov 3 2014 9:00am

Follow Your Arrow: Let’s Talk about Vanyel

Arrows of the Queen Valdemar RereadWelcome to the Valdemar re-read! This week, we’re taking on chapters one and two of Arrows of the Queen, the first book in the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy. We’ll be meeting some major characters and taking an educational trip through Valdemar’s southern half. And although he’s been dead for a couple hundred years, we learn a surprising amount about Vanyel.

The Summary: Our first look at Valdemar is a long, hard stare at Talia Holderkin, carding wool and reading a book under a tree. Look! It’s me! Carding wool and actively reading are not activities that mesh well, in my limited experience with wool. You can’t turn pages while carding, and if you put the wool down it gets dirty. Talia seems to have read this book so many times she has it memorized. She has good taste—she’s reading about Vanyel, the historical hero whose saved Valdemar from certain destruction.

[I have a few things to say about Vanyel.]

Fri
Oct 31 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “To the Edge of the World” and “Before the Storm”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadThunder and lightning kept me awake all night. Nature is a powerful thing. It can make you feel small and vulnerable. I imagine it’s a lot how Jezal, Logen, and Ferro felt sitting between Bayaz and Cawneil this week, or Colonel West between General Poulder and Kroy. In both cases the experienced ones, the ones who should know best, are squabbling like children, putting the responsibility for acting like an adult in the hands of the less capable.

Abercrombie might be playing once again with the trope of wizened experience that’s often present in fantasy, but I think it’s far more likely that instead he’s offering the idea that doing things as they’ve always been done is hardly a recipe for success. Perhaps instead he’s making a comment on his own work, which is clearly not doing fantasy as its always been done.

Food for thought.

[This week’s chapters...]

Fri
Oct 31 2014 11:00am

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Crippled God, Chapter Twenty-Four (Part Four) and Epilogues I & II

Malazan Crippled God rereadWelcome to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover the end of chapter twenty-four, plus epilogues I and II of The Crippled God.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing.

Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read More]

Wed
Oct 29 2014 11:00am

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Crippled God, Chapter Twenty-Four (Part Three)

Malazan Crippled God rereadWelcome to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover part three of chapter twenty-four of The Crippled God.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing.

Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read More]

Tue
Oct 28 2014 11:00am

Marvel-Shadowed Providence: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Parts I and II

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at the first two parts of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. CDW was written in 1927, published in abridged form in the May and July 1941 issues of Weird Tales; and published in full in the 1943 collection Beyond the Wall of Sleep. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“One must look back at Charles Ward’s earlier life as at something belonging as much to the past as the antiquities he loved so keenly.”]

Fri
Oct 24 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Coming Over” and “Cheap at the Price”

Before They Are Hanged Joe Abercrombie rereadThe best part of this reread has been the folks commenting. They see things I never would have. This week rather than a clever lead, I want to quote a few things said last week that I thought were particularly insightful.

From Xena Catolica: “The whole time he’s giving Jezal advice on good leadership he’s blatantly not doing that himself & that’s [Abercrombie] drawing our attention to the fact Bayaz has intellectual/theoretical knowledge to match his age, but not the moral mojo to go with it. The disconnect between power and judgment ought to apply to Bayaz like it does to everybody else.”

[More comments and this week’s chapters...]

Fri
Oct 24 2014 11:00am

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Crippled God, Chapter Twenty-Four (Part Two)

Malazan Crippled God rereadWelcome to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover part two of chapter twenty-four of The Crippled God.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing.

Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read More]

Wed
Oct 22 2014 11:00am

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Crippled God, Chapter Twenty-Four (Part One)

Malazan Crippled God rereadWelcome to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover part one of chapter twenty-four of The Crippled God.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing.

Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read More]

Tue
Oct 21 2014 11:00am

The Most Merciful Thing in the World: “The Call of Cthulhu”

The Call of Cthulhu HP Lovecraft rereadWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Call of Cthulhu,” written in Summer 1926 and first published in the February 1928 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: This manuscript was found among the papers of Francis Wayland Thurston, deceased.

Thurston’s grand-uncle Angell leaves everything to him when he dies, apparently after being jostled by a “nautical-looking negro.” These possessions include a disturbing bas-relief and a series of notes and clippings.

[“I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars which dream beneath the sea, known and favoured by a nightmare cult ready and eager to loose them on the world whenever another earthquake shall heave their monstrous stone city again to the sun and air.”]

Mon
Oct 20 2014 12:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 6

Servant of the Empire rereadWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

This one embraces its 80s heritage by inspiring nostalgia for a certain sitcom based on a sexist premise (I know, that doesn’t narrow the field much, does it?) and pays off a lot of set up, mostly involving market prices and commercial guilds. But I’m sure there’s a whole lot more horrible murders just around the corner...

Chapter 7—Target

SUMMARY: It’s the morning after, though months have passed. Mara is still in the happy honeymoon phase of her relationship with Kevin, enjoying his intelligent conversation and contribution to her work as well as his sexy bedroom skills.

On this particular drowsy post-coital morning, however, Kevin decides to bring up the matter of poverty in the cities like Sulan-Q, which totally kills the mood. He is disturbed by the lack of alms and charity work to help deal with the homeless and the dispossessed.

[Read More]

Wed
Oct 15 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: Dragon Prince, Chapters 23 and 24

dragon prince reread melanie rawnWelcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Dragon Prince! This week Rohan suffers a fate worse than death, Sioned deals with her many responsibilities as Princess and Chosen lover, and the war gets seriously under way.

Chapter 23

So This Happens: Rohan wakes from a drugged stupor to the sound of a man and a woman bickering. He can’t quite place the voices. It’s clear from context that they’re Ianthe and Beliaev.

Sioned meanwhile prepares to ride in search of Rohan, over her brother’s objections.

[Read More]

Wed
Oct 15 2014 11:00am

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Crippled God, Chapter Twenty-three (Part Two)

Malazan Crippled God rereadWelcome to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover part two of chapter twenty-three of The Crippled God.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing.

Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read More]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 1:00pm

Unnatural Annals: “The Lurking Fear”

HP Lovecraft reread The Lurking FearWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Lurking Fear,” written in November 1922 and first published in the January-April 1923 issues of Home Brew. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: Unnamed narrator of the week seems to be an independently wealthy bachelor with an obsessive taste for the weird. Today he’d have a ghost-hunting reality show. In 1921, he must settle for motoring to the Catskills to investigate a massacre near Tempest Mountain.

[“Sometimes, in the throes of a nightmare when unseen powers whirl one over the roofs of strange dead cities toward the grinning chasm of Nis, it is a relief and even a delight to shriek wildly and throw oneself voluntarily along with the hideous vortex of dream-doom into whatever bottomless gulf may yawn.”]