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.
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December 22, 2014
What is it Like to be a Malfoy Post-Battle of Hogwarts? Rowling Reveals All on Pottermore
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December 18, 2014
Mistborn Fans Will Get TWO New Novels Next Year!
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December 15, 2014
Steven Erikson: On Completing Malazan
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December 12, 2014
When My Wife Put Her Face in a Fireball for Epic Fantasy
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December 10, 2014
Even More Standalone Fantasy Fiction!
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Showing posts by: Madeline Ashby click to see Madeline Ashby's profile
Fri
Jun 7 2013 8:30am
Excerpt

iD (Excerpt)

Madeline Ashby

iD cover, Madeline AshbyTake a peek at Book II of Madeline Ashby's Machine Dynasty, iD, coming out from Angry Robot Books on July 4:

Javier is a self-replicating humanoid on a journey of redemption.

Javier’s quest takes him from Amy’s island, where his actions have devastating consequences for his friend, toward Mecha where he will find either salvation… or death.

[Read more]

Wed
Oct 24 2012 1:00pm

Who is Dead? The Tense Mystery of Horror Ghost Anime Another

Another is a horror anime based on Yukito Ayatsuji’s 2009 novel of the same name. It’s currently streaming at Crunchyroll, and at only twelve episodes it’s the perfect series to get you in the Halloween spirit. It’s smart, lovely, and genuinely scary, with an unexpected puzzle at its heart that helps the series merit multiple viewings. You’ll want to watch this with the lights off, and then you’ll want to turn them all on again so you can make a map of all the characters – the living, the dead, and the ones you’re not so sure about.

[Read more]

Wed
Aug 1 2012 1:00pm
Excerpt

vN (Excerpt)

Madeline Ashby

After our review, we know you’d like a closer look at Madeline Ashby’s debut novel, vN, and you’re in luck! Check it out:

Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot known as a VonNeumann.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history - like the fact that she alone can kill humans without failsafing...

[Read more]

Fri
Jul 20 2012 10:00am

Everything About 3-Dimensional Heroes I Learned From A 2-Dimensional Cartoon

Before I started watching anime, and before I knew that the series I grew up watching were partially animated in Japan or Korea, I waited for Friday afternoon at 5:30 on FOX, when I could watch a new episode of Batman: The Animated Series. My ritual involved shutting off all the lights, locking myself in the basement, and carefully munching sour cream n’onion potato chips one by one, each dune-like ripple of starch vanishing steadily between my fresh-grown adult teeth.

[Read more]

Tue
Jan 31 2012 10:05am

Cowboy Bebop Re-watch: “Black Dog Serenade”

“Black Dog Serenade” is an episode of the series that has a good example of what my workshop calls “The Refrigerator Door Effect.” (Not to be confused with other all-too-common refrigerator issues.) The Refrigerator Door Effect is what happens when someone enjoys a story so thoroughly that the plotholes and inconsistencies don’t occur to her until she has her hand on the refrigerator door to fetch herself a celebratory beer. She stands there remembering the story, and realizes: that whole thing made no sense at all.

Fri
Dec 16 2011 11:00am

The Only Christmas Movie Not Airing This Month

Tokyo Godfathers (2003) is in many ways the perfect Christmas film. It’s an antidote to both the saccharine holiday specials each network feels compelled to churn out this time of year, and the holiday “comedy” films about finding or delivering the right toys to the right kids at the right time. It takes place on Christmas Eve, but it is not, strictly speaking, about Christmas. It’s about three homeless people finding an abandoned baby. But it’s really about the families we lose, the families we choose, the mistakes we make and the things we say, and the back alleys we wander through on the long road to redemption.

Fri
Dec 2 2011 10:30am

Why the Akira Adaptation is a Big Deal

I watched Akira (1988) for the first time at an LAN party at a friend’s house, sometime around the turn of the century. Then as now, I was a terrible shot and more concerned with cels than polygons, so I stretched out in front of the household’s last tube TV, and watched a copy of Katsuhiro Otomo’s film taped from cable. It ghosted across the screen like the Ring video, blurry and beige and riddled with tracking errors. A year or two later, my dad rented it on DVD. He wanted to see it, and I wanted to see a good print.

[I watched it for the next three days.]

Thu
Oct 27 2011 12:30pm

Manufactured Horrorscapes

I grew up near Twin Peaks. Actually, I grew up in a suburb of Seattle. But it was closer to Twin Peaks (better known as Snoqualmie Falls, WA) than Seattle. And my suburb, with its looming trees and truck-mounted gun racks, was a lot scarier than the big city. In elementary school, we thought the old man who tended barrel fires outside his modular home killed children. Knowing that somewhere out there, the Green River Killer was still active likely informed that suspicion. Deep down, we all knew that we could wind up like Laura Palmer: violated, dead, wrapped in plastic. The fact that an entire generation of middle class American parents had fled concrete jungles for engineered greenbelts meant nothing. In the suburbs, no one can hear you scream.

[Read more]

Mon
Oct 24 2011 2:00pm

These Kids Aren’t All Right

“There’s nothing as pure and cruel as a child.” - Jet Black, Cowboy Bebop, “Pierrot Le Fou.”

In the rampaging horde of vampires, werewolves, zombies, fae, ghosts, geists, creatures and crawlers that daily swarm our pages and screens, it’s easy to forget the ankle-biters. After all, the grown-up versions are so much sexier and more exciting. But even Grendel was somebody’s baby, once. Won’t somebody please think of the children?

[Creepy kids]

Mon
Oct 10 2011 4:00pm

All About Miku

For a while now, I’ve been trying to understand what bothers me so much about Hatsune Miku. She’s a virtual idol not unlike Rei Toei in Idoru, who I have no trouble with. She’s a program developed by Crypton Future Media with a Yamaha Vocaloid 2 sound rendering engine. She’s a fictional persona with millions of fans. Her projected performances regularly sell out stadiums across Asia. Everyone loves her. Everyone but me.

Wed
Sep 14 2011 1:31pm

A Moral Argument for Hard Science Fiction

The spring and summer of 2011 seem to have been dominated by uprisings of all sorts, and governments who appeared to be deeply confused about how the technology enabling them works. From the response to Wikileaks to the Arab Spring to the U.K. riots to the shutdown of mobile phone service in certain San Franscisco transit stations, the authoritarian response to civic protest is little more than hapless, n00bish button-mashing. Who do I blame for these FAILs? Not the button-mashers. Me, I blame Hackers.

[Read more]

Wed
Aug 17 2011 10:26am

Noir Films Perfected: The Third Man

The Third Man is director Carol Reed’s 1949 noir starring (among others) Joseph Cotten, and is adapted from Graham Greene’s novella of the same name. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s about a pulp writer. He’s named Holly Martin and visits Vienna after the second World War, and discovers that neither the city (split between the English, the French, the Russians, and the Americans) nor his friend Harry Lime (who offered him a job in Vienna before dying in a hit-and-run) are what they seem. Spoilers ahead!

[Read more]

Fri
Aug 5 2011 2:07pm

Carry On, My Wayward Animators: The Anime Supernatural

“I have a surprise,” Dave said. “It’s two things you enjoy separately, but put together.”

“Oh, you bought the Supernatural anime?”

“...You are very smart.”

[Read more]

Tue
Jul 5 2011 9:34am

Was it good for you?: Reviewing Rule 34

You are one of those odd reviewers who prefers Charlie’s diary to his fiction. Yes, you know, you know. You’re weird. You know. But it’s for that exact reason that you jumped at the chance to read Rule 34: because it’s the man doing something different, something that challenges him, something near-future about sex and crime and real humans, not the kind who quit their skins or express themselves in differential equations. You wanted to read about people with balls—and not buckyballs, either.

[Read more]

Tue
May 10 2011 4:01pm

Cowboy Bebop Re-watch: “My Funny Valentine”

It’s election night in Canada and I just sent in manuscript revisions, returned from Seattle, and started a new phase of my current strategic foresight project. Naturally, this means it’s time for another re-watch post! Welcome to the next phase of Cowboy Bebop, the gradual closure of the story’s plot and thematic arcs. Starting with “My Funny Valentine,” in which we learn more about the mysterious Faye Valentine’s past, the series begins to answer some of the questions it started out asking. Along the way, it teaches a crash course in how to do a classic science fiction story.

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 13 2011 3:30pm

Dealing with Real Dystopias is Part of My Job

Early in 2009, my friend and fellow Cecil Street Irregular Karl Schroeder suggested I submit an application to the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Karl knew that I would soon be finished writing my first Master’s thesis, on anime, fan culture, and cyborg theory. “But traditional academia won’t work for you,” he said. “You need to be a consultant, and do the kind of work I do for the army.”

[How dystopias can influence your future]

Wed
Apr 6 2011 10:26am

Cowboy Bebop Re-watch: “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Cowboy Bebop episode Bohemian Rhapsody

Like certain anime characters I could mention, your erstwhile Bebop blogger has a nasty habit of coming back from almost certain disaster to wreak further havoc. In that spirit: HOW ABOUT A NICE GAME OF CHESS?

[Read more]

Wed
Feb 2 2011 5:22pm

Everything About 3-Dimensional Heroes I Learned From a 2-Dimensional Cartoon

Before I started watching anime, and before I knew that the series I grew up watching were partially animated in Japan or Korea, I waited for Friday afternoon at 5:30 on FOX, when I could watch a new episode of Batman: The Animated Series. My ritual involved shutting off all the lights, locking myself in the basement, and carefully munching sour cream n’onion potato chips one by one, each dune-like ripple of starch vanishing steadily between my fresh-grown adult teeth.

[Read more]

Wed
Oct 13 2010 11:57am

Cowboy Bebop Re-watch: “Jupiter Jazz, Parts 1 & 2”

Once again, I am blogging the Blog of Shame for not re-watching with you more reliably. As penance, I’m offering you a two-fer: the entire “Jupiter Jazz” series in one post!

[Read more]

Tue
Sep 7 2010 11:11am

Cowboy Bebop Re-watch: “Toys in the Attic”

There’s this custom in anime, which TV Tropes calls the “Beach Episode” or “Onsen Episode.” Usually it involves the characters doing something fun and fluffy like putting on bikinis and frolicking, and happens right before or after seriously heavy stuff goes down in the plot. For most anime, this is limited to battling sand crabs. For Cowboy Bebop, it means fighting an alien. This is the lesson behind “Toys in the Attic,” which is both Aerosmith’s third album and a slang term for “crazy” that shows up in Pink Floyd’s The Wall. In space, no one can hear you procrastinate. Don’t leave things in the fridge.

[Read more]