Independence Day: Resurgence is Just Happy to Be Back, You Guys

One of the very first classes I took in high school was a required English comp course, one that every student, including myself, was dreading. To break the ice on that nervous, greasy-eyed day in late 1996, the teacher asked each of us what movie we had most enjoyed seeing over the summer. Most of us answered: Independence Day. Sure, it was loud and simplistic, but we had never before seen entire cities being wiped out, never been able to conceptualize massive and realistic alien craft, never had to consider being confronted with such an inescapable threat until that movie came out.

I answered Independence Day, as well, of course. Not so much because of the spectacle, but because I loved imagining where the story could go after the ending. What would humanity do with all that new technology? Would we be able to live in harmony with the surviving aliens? Would the planetary alliance last beyond the great battle? Independence Day was fun, but I really wanted to know what came next after such a civilization-altering event.

I would have to wait twenty years.

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Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Barrayar, Chapters 1-2

Last week, we finished with Shards of Honor and its unofficial epilogue, “Aftermaths.” This week, we’re staring Barrayar! The third book in the Vorkosigan Saga in chronological order, but the fourth in publication order, Barrayar won both the Hugo Award for best novel and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction novel in 1992. The book has been through a number of publishing formats in a lot of places, and it has a lot of cover art.

If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the reread, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

City of Wolves

Alexander Drake, Investigator for Hire, doesn’t like working for the Nobility, and doesn’t prefer to take jobs from strange men who accost him in alleyways. A combination of hired muscle and ready silver have a way of changing a man’s mind.

A lord has been killed, his body found covered in bite marks. Even worse, the late lord’s will is missing, and not everyone wants Drake to find it. Solving the case might plunge Drake into deeper danger.

City of Wolves is a gaslamp fantasy noir from debut author Willow Palecek—available July 26th from Publishing!

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The Last Adventure of Constance Verity Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of A. Lee Martinez’s The Last Adventure of Constance Verity, available July 5th from Saga Press!

Constance Verity has been saving the world since she was seven, and she’s sick of it. She sets off on one last adventure to reset her destiny and become the one thing she’s never been: ordinary.

Ever since she was granted a wish at birth by her fairy godmother, Constance Verity has become the world’s great adventurer. She is a master of martial arts, a keen detective, and possesses a collection of strange artifacts. Constance has spent the past twenty-eight years saving the world, and she’s tired of it. All she wants is to work in an office and date a nice, normal guy. And she’s figured a way out. The only problem is that saving the world is Constance’s destiny. She’s great at it, and there are forces at work to make sure she stays in the job.

Then again, it’s also her destiny to have a glorious death.

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 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on June 27th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 1st. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

The Boy Who Died: Swiss Army Man

“I honestly don’t know how I’m going to continue my life after this.”

These were the words of a fellow moviegoer as we were leaving the afternoon showing of Swiss Army Man (possibly better known to you as “the Daniel-Radcliffe-plays-a-farting-corpse movie”) and since I think this is exactly the reaction the filmmakers want, I thought it made for a good opening gauntlet. Because if you choose to see this movie, it’s quite possible you’ll have a profoundly emotional experience. It’s equally possible you’ll just be grossed out, or even horrified.

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The British SFF Book Trade on Brexit

Last Thursday, more than thirty million British people turned out to answer a critical question about the UK’s future. “Should we remain a member of the European Union?” was what the government wanted to know, and although Scotland answered in the affirmative—as indeed did large parts of London and Northern Ireland—overall, the numbers said no.

This has already led to a number of potentially great changes, quite apart from the eventual consequences of Brexit itself. Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, a politician from the Conservative camp who campaigned to Remain, is soon to step down, the leader of the Labour party is under pressure to follow in his footsteps, and Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has said a second independence referendum is “highly likely.” In other words, the United Kingdom is united no more.

So where does that leave the British publishing industry and its literary luminaries? Let’s start the tally with the latter.

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Series: British Fiction Focus

A Look Back at Independence Day

Blockbusters are the most perfect cultural snapshots. There are few purer reflections of their times than big tent-pole movies and while those times—and we, inevitably—keep a-changing, the movie does not. So a film you loved when you were 15 might be unwatchable now. It’s not the movie, it’s the distance you have from it and the way that distance has changed you.

Bloodsport’s still awesome, though. KUMITE! KUMITE!


Kameron Hurley talks about this a lot in The Geek Feminist Revolution, especially with regard to Die Hard. It’s a great essay in a great book, and it got me thinking about Independence Day in the same terms, especially as the sequel is about to be released.

[So, how does ID4 hold up now?]

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 10 “The Winds of Winter”

The sixth season of Game of Thrones can best be described as predictable. As the show outpaced Martin’s novels, major book theories were confirmed as show canon and the large cast reunited in fast-track ways that were best suited to television’s shorter timeline.

But this is not to say that this show isn’t still capable of the mother of all surprises.

MAJOR episode spoilers ahead.

Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Five Science Fiction Novels about Sheep

I hadn’t even noticed the pattern until my editor brought it to my attention. “Rob,” she said, peering at me over a stack of my books on her desk, “why do you keep writing about sheep?”

“I have no idea what you mean,” I replied, taking a seat across from her. “I write very highbrow literary-type science fiction novels.”

She grabbed a copy of Mercury Rests from the top of the pile. “Page 243. You have a reference to an ‘exsanguinating sheep’.”

“Well,” I said, “what other animal are you going to sacrifice on top of a volcano?” I asked.

[And here in Mercury Rises…]

Series: Five Books About…

Jim Butcher Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

The Aeronaut’s Windlass comes out in paperback from Roc on July 5th—and in celebration, we want to send you a Jim Butcher starter pack!

Five lucky winners will each receive a copy of The Aeronaut’s WindlassStorm Front, and Furies of Calderonthe first books in the Cinder Spires, the Harry Dresden series, and the Codex Alera series, respectively.

In The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. Even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come.

Storm Front introduced readers to Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name.

In Furies of Calderon, the people of Alera have been united for a thousand years against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon. Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy—the Marat—return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.

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 12:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on June 25th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on June 29th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.