Daughter of Necessity October 1, 2014 Daughter of Necessity Marie Brennan Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious heroine... Midway Relics and Dying Breeds September 24, 2014 Midway Relics and Dying Breeds Seanan McGuire Between the roots and the sky. The Golden Apple of Shangri-La September 23, 2014 The Golden Apple of Shangri-La David Barnett A Gideon Smith story. Selfies September 17, 2014 Selfies Lavie Tidhar Smile for the camera.
From The Blog
September 29, 2014
Powerful Words:The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Anton Strout
September 29, 2014
Slarom, the Backward Morals of Fairytales
Jack Heckel
September 25, 2014
After Paris: Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride
Jo Walton
September 23, 2014
It’s All About the Benjamins in Sleepy Hollow: “This is War”
Leah Schnelbach
September 23, 2014
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture: Nerd Culture Edition
Lindsay Ellis
Showing posts by: Leah Schnelbach click to see Leah Schnelbach's profile
Oct 1 2014 11:00am

Millennial Tension: Selfie Does Everything Wrong, Generates Negative Feels


OK, let me say this first: I love John Cho. I have spoken before about his excellent stretched-neck acting in Sleepy Hollow. I love Karen Gillan. While I had many, god, so many some issues with Amy Pond, I always thought she did a great job with the character, and she was fun as Nebula in GoTG. And here, again, they do their best, but this thing was doomed from the start. Do we seriously need a new version of Pygmalion? Do we need “older stuffy dude angrily mansplains life to a young woman who’s trying to figure herself out”?

[Has Lena Dunham accomplished nothing?]

Sep 30 2014 3:05pm

Cleaning Up After George Washington: Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution

Sleepy Hollow Children of the Revolution Keith R A DeCandido review

Keith R.A. DeCandido, our faithful Tor.com Deep Space 9 Rewatcher, has had a long and fabulous career writing SFF. In addition to original work like The Klingon Art of War and Dragon Precinct, he has written tie-in novels for shows including Star Trek, Buffy, Supernatural, Doctor Who. This week he adds to his fictional family with the first Sleepy Hollow tie-in novel: Children of the Revolution.

The narrative travels from Sleepy Hollow to the Astor Court of the Met, from Fort Ticonderoga to the Bronx. It ranges over New York’s history from 1776 all the way up to last January, and fills in some great bits of Ichabod’s backstory, as well as giving us a more emotional portrait of Ichabod, Abbie, Capt. Irving, and Jenny. But, most important, there’s a new mystery, and it involves Irving’s past!

[Read more]

Sep 30 2014 12:00pm

Cheat Death the Benjamin Franklin Way in Sleepy Hollow: “The Kindred”

Sleepy Hollow Kindred

All right, I need to get something off my chest. The Sleepy Hollow theme song is driving me crazy. Really, truly crazy, because it loops in my head, but, you know the point where it sort of fades into a deeper note and then ends? In my head, it segues into “The Theme from Arthur.” I don’t even think I’ve ever seen Arthur. Why is this happening to me? Is the show trying to get me into the correct state of lunacy to enjoy it? Is my brain trying to murder me? What the hell motive could my brain have for murdering me?

Lets try to recap this sucker.

[I’ve always been good to you, brain!]

Sep 23 2014 1:30pm

It’s All About the Benjamins in Sleepy Hollow: “This is War”

So how was everyone’s summer? Do we all remember where Sleepy Hollow left us last year? Ichabod’s buried alive, Abbie’s in Purgatory, Purgatory continues to deviate from every catechism class I ever avoided, Henry is actually War and also actually Ichabod’s son Jeremy, and—hang on, there’s waaaay too much to cover here. Check out Fox’s recap to get up to speed.

So for the season premiere, “This is War,” you want to see Ichabod and Abbie attempting to bust out of their respective prisons, right? And you want to see Henry savoring evil witticisms like they were… I don’t know, cherry tomatoes or something? And you want to see Jennie being her usual BAMF self? What if I told you, dear friends, that not only do you get all of that, but that ICHABOD SNARKS ON BEN FRANKLIN THE WHOLE TIME?

[This is a great day to a sleepyhead. Read on!]

Sep 21 2014 10:00am

H.G. Wells Invented Everything You Love

HG Wells Art by David A. Johnson H.G. Wells is considered one of the fathers of science fiction, and if you look at a brief timeline you’ll see why he’s so extraordinary:

  • 1895: The Time Machine
  • 1896: The Island of Doctor Moreau
  • 1897: The Invisible Man
  • 1898: The War of the Worlds
  • 1901: The First Men in the Moon

So basically for four consecutive years Wells got out of bed on New Year’s Day and said, “What ho! I think I’ll invent a new subgenre of scientific fiction!” And then he took a year off, only to return with a story about a moon landing. If it wasn’t for that gap in 1900, he probably would have invented cyberpunk, too.

[Read More]

Sep 21 2014 10:00am

The Great Stephen King Birthday Cinema Celebration!

Stephen King Art by David A. JohnsonI love Stephen King, as a writer, as a proclaimer of the greatness of genre literature, and, maybe most of all, as a guy. He was the first author I knew who—actually, scratch that. Stephen King was the first author I knew.

I recognized the names of children’s authors, and some of the bigger pulpy adult authors that my parents read (my mother was a huge Dick Francis fan, and our house had the requisite copies of Clan of the Cave Bear and Shogun) but King was the first author I saw being interviewed on TV. He was the only author I knew who wrote introductions to his own books, and I got a real sense of him as a person form reading them.

Later, when I read Danse Macabre and On Writing, I discovered that he could carry that conversational, regular-guy writing style through an entire book, and the more I write myself, the more impressed I am. I think what really came through, more so even than in his fiction, was his weird, dark sense of humor.

It is in this spirit that I present to you, oh my brothers and sisters and neithers and others, a Stephen King Movie Moment Retrospective.

[Including the second-funniest moment in Maximum Overdrive.]

Sep 19 2014 10:00am

Terry Gilliam Grabs Life by the Lapels and Demands Answers in The Zero Theorem

Terry Gillaim Cristoph Waltz Zero Theorum review

The Zero Theorem is the first screenplay from UCF writing professor Pat Rushin. It was in the running for Project Greenlight, and spent a decade shuffling around a production company and being rewritten, and each of the main roles has been cast multiple times—all of which removes it a bit from the more personal, auteurist Gilliam ventures. Having said all that, this is still a Terry Gilliam film, and we should all cherish it as we would a starving, bedraggled unicorn that stumbled up onto our porch one morning, looking for ambrosia.

If you like Gilliam even a little bit you should run out to see this movie if it’s playing anywhere near you—there are astonishing visuals, actors gleefully doing things they’d never get to do with any other director, giant thinky-thoughts, and lots of conversations about the meaning of life, or lack thereof, or irrelevance of the question. If you want more details click through, and if you wants some spoilery discussion of the meaning of the film—or lack thereof, or irrelevance of the question—there will be that below a spoiler line.

[And anyway, shouldn’t it be The Zero Conjecture?]

Sep 8 2014 12:00pm

Come With Us to All the Magical Londons!

Magical London skyline panorama

Every city has a certain literary quality that draws writers back again and again. Paris inspires stories of romance and revolution, for instance, while New York seems mired in tales of power and corruption.

London, though... London is all about finding that one tiny crack, twisting alley, or Magical Doorway that leads you into another world. Sometimes the encounter is horrifying, and sometimes it’s filled with wonder. Either way, once you’ve found the magic, there’s simply no turning back. We’ve gathered some of our favorite hidden and alternate-Londons below—come, follow us underground!

[And be sure to Mind the Gap.]

Aug 28 2014 7:00am

The Varied Life of Jack Vance

Jack Vance Art by David A. JohnsonThere’s one thing I’ve learned from researching our founding SFF authors: writers used to be a hell of a lot cooler. Not to insult any of our modern masters—far from it! They’re doing their best with the era they were dealt. But skim over Ryan Britt’s article about Harlan Ellison. Take a look at Robert Heinlein’s life, or Kurt Vonnegut’s, or Frank Herbert’s or Philip K. Dick’s. You’ll find stories of street brawls, epic rivalries, tumultuous love lives, hallucinations. And then you get to Jack Vance, and the more you read the more you expect to learn that the man wrestled tigers for fun.

[Actually, he wrestled with more interesting things than tigers...]

Aug 22 2014 12:30pm

Ray Bradbury: The Best Writing Teacher You Could Ever Have

Ray Bradbury David A JohnsonToday would have been Ray Bradbury’s 94th birthday, and there are many, many stories you can tell about Bradbury’s life and career: Fahrenheit 451 was written in nine days, and cost the young author $9.80 in typewriter rental fees; Truman Capote got “The Homecoming ” published in Mademoiselle after it was rejected by Weird Tales; it took several years of working with editors at Knopf to find his voice; Ray Harryhausen was the best man at his wedding, and the two were lifelong friends.

All of these make for a colorful life, but I really want to talk about Ray Bradbury: the best writing teacher you could ever have.

[Read More]

Aug 20 2014 9:30am

Should the World Fantasy Award be Changed?

World Fantasy Award Howard HP Lovecraft

Daniel José Older, author and editor of Long Hidden, recently started a Change.org petition to redesign the World Fantasy Award. This has led to signatures and celebration, as well as some controversy. His petition’s immediate request is that the WFAC change the award to resemble Octavia Butler. The current WFA statuette (shown here) is a stylized bust of H.P. Lovecraft. Designed by the great Gahan Wilson, it is a striking piece of sculpture—but it is also a reminder of the community’s contentious past.

So there is also a larger question that needs to be heard: who is SFF’s audience? Who is this community for?

[Read more]

Aug 16 2014 8:00am

Diana Wynne Jones Subverted Fantasy Even as She Celebrated It

Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones never quite took her fantasies seriously. Any time she had the chance to subvert your expectations of the brooding Byronic wizard, or the master enchanter, or the fantasy kingdom wracked by war, she took it. Taken as a whole, her books act as both a love letter and a critique to the Fantasy genre.

Born this day in 1934, she was raised by parents (both professional teachers) who neglected their children, remained emotionally distant, and only provided their three girls one book a year to share between them. What might have fostered resentment instead led Wynne Jones to be self-reliant: she made up for their lack of books by making up her own stories.

[Read More]

Aug 15 2014 10:00am

We’re Holding Out for a (New) Hero: How Heroes and Villains are Evolving

I think it’s safe to say that 2014’s greatest hero is a vocabulistically-limited tree. (If not him, then maybe the raccoon with anger management issues.) I had already been think about how heroism and villainy seemed to be changing this year after I saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The LEGO Movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past also gave us far more ambiguous heroes and villains than their predecessors, and then I saw Guardians of the Galaxy.

And now, I think that the Western is evolving in some really exciting ways, especially when we look at how heroes in 2014 stack up against some of our biggest cultural good guys. Be warned: I might be completely wrong. I have accepted this, and am quite open to being yelled at in the comments. Also, spoilers abound! It turns out it’s hard to write about villain-deaths and Noble Heroic Sacrifices without giving away endings, so proceed with caution.

[Seriously, I spoil everything.]

Aug 14 2014 9:00am

No Longer Locked In: How Real-Life Robots Help Kids

VGo Verizon

John Scalzi’s latest novel, Lock In, builds from a deeply relatable premise: Fifteen years from now, a virus knows as Haden’s Syndrome sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. 4% suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And 1% find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

When the book begins, society has adjusted to the crisis, and life has, for the most part, gone back to normal. Those who are locked in spend most of their time in the Agora (a virtual reality designed specially for Haden’s patients), but they can also use “threeps,” highly maneuverable robots that can interact with non-Hadens. And then there are the Integrators, healthy humans that can allow Hadens to jack into their minds and use them for trips to theme parks, bacon cheeseburger feasts, and… other activities where a threep won’t be optimal.

While we’re not quite ready for Integrators yet, a form of threep is already in use, going a long way toward helping some children live better lives.

[read more]

Aug 6 2014 3:00pm

James Gunn’s The Toy Collector and Subversive Man-Children

The Toy Collector James Gunn review

As a writer, you run the risk of discovering a book that is the book—the book you would have written if you had time, money, talent, drive.

When you meet this book you have two choices. You can beat your head against a wall in a rage at the fact that your book has already been written, by someone who is not you, or you can allow than anger to pass through you like fear on Arrakis, bow your head, and humbly accept that this is now your favorite book. Because, by claiming the book as your favorite, you mark yourself as the book’s greatest fan, rather than a failure.

James Gunn’s The Toy Collector is not that book for me, but it comes damn close.

[Read More]

Jul 31 2014 11:00am

Dovebuckets and Face-Crabs: The Sandman: Overture Issue 3

Sandman Overture #3 Neil GaimanThe Sandman: Overture Issue #3 has finally arrived! I’ll skip over the part where I snark about how long it’s taking, because the art is so amazing I’m cool with it taking three times this long. I’ll also say upfront that I think some of the writing is shaky in this issue, but that I’m still happy to be along for Morpheus’ journey to try to save the universe. Again.

I am faced with my usual conundrum of how much to say here… I want to talk about the issue, but I also want to stay as non-spoilery as possible. Let’s start off with the basic plot...

[Read More]

Jul 27 2014 3:00pm

Constantine Panel Gives a Sneak Peek At Demons!

We don't think there are enough cigarettes in all of London for this number of Constantines! They were part of a John Constantine meet-up that took place shortly before the screening of the pilot episode of Constantine at this year's SDCC. So at least any lingering demon plagues should be sorted out...

Constantine premiered its pilot to a great response from the crowd! We've gathered some of the highlights from the show's panel below, along with the new extended trailer that debuted on Saturday night.

[Unless this is a Constantine/Orphan Black crossover...?]

Jul 26 2014 8:00pm

Vin Diesel Credits Groot with Helping Him Heal After Paul Walker’s Death

Vin Diesel Groot Paul Walker

Okay, the following will probably make you cry. Vin Diesel recently went on record as saying that playing the role of Groot helped him deal with his grief after his Fast and the Furious co-star Paul Walker’s tragic death last November.

[More proof of Groot’s wonderfulness]

Jul 26 2014 6:13pm

The Boxtrolls Invades San Diego with Bug-Kebabs!

The Boxtrolls is the new film from the creators of Coraline and ParaNorman. That should be all you need to hear, right? The film just did a panel at Comic Con that had people in tears, plus they launched a wonderfully unique marketing campaign!

[Check out more below!]

Jul 26 2014 1:13pm

Naked Ben Franklin! Headless Romance! Devilishly Handsome Centaurs! Sleepy Hollow at San Diego Comic-Con 2014!

The Sleepy Hollow panel hadn’t even started yet on Friday at San Diego Comic Con and Orlando Jones was already killing social media, first with this adorable message to the world, and then with a tweet that summed the Con up pretty well: “What do mean you don’t ship Ichabbie? We’re gonna have to ask you to leave sir.”

The panel featured executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek, Fringe, Spider Man 2), Mark Goffman, Heather Kadin, Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Noble, Orlando Jones, and Lyndie Greenwood, and Katia Winter. We’ve gathered the highlights below!

[Click through for magic and centaurs!]