content by

Theresa DeLucci

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

The Dark Tower Misses the Mark for Longtime Fans and Newcomers Alike

There are other worlds than these, pilgrim, and The Dark Tower movie tries to be the best of both, bringing Stephen King’s epic dark fantasy novel series to the broadest possible audience. But lots is lost in translation, and neither fans nor newbies to the material will find much to make them happy.

Theresa DeLucci has only read the first two novels and Pritpaul Bains has read them all—so how differently did they both hate this movie?

Spoiler warning: several major plot elements of King’s earlier Dark Tower books are discussed in passing, but nothing major from the final books.

[There are other movies than these, pilgrim…]

Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 3: “The Queen’s Justice”

Well, that wasn’t a Meet-Cute for the ages. But I’d expect no less from Game of Thrones. The greetings in Dragonstone sure as hell went a lot better than the goodbyes in King’s Landing. There were other greetings and goodbyes, too. Mostly the nice kind. Mostly.

This is what happens when fleets sail faster than dragons. It all feels better if you just abandon entirely any sense of travel time and just accept that there is only one timeline that matters: the one that sets everyone on their endgame plays.

And right now? Everything’s coming up Cersei.

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.

[“Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things, Redux…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 2: “Stormborn”

So, taking the Iron Throne isn’t going to be as easy as striding into King’s Landing and demanding it, now is it?

This week saw some hard lessons for the ladies of Game of Thrones, just when it seemed they were going to be on top. (Exempt from this turnabout: Missandei.) Littlefinger’s gonna leer, Spider’s gonna keep swimming, and Theon’s gonna… Reek.

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.

[“You are a dragon. Be a dragon…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

5 Horror Reads to Keep the Sunshine Away

Summer. Pfft. So overrated.

Some people look at the ocean and see a wonderland of surfing and swimming. But I know better. There, there be man-eating sharks and terrible Eldritch horrors waiting to loom up from a darkened trench. Too much sunshine causes skin cancer and sand gets into the most annoying places.

Keep your shiny, happy beach reads. I’ll be sitting safely in the shade of a tree, keeping myself cool with the riches of the season: an abundance of new horror and Weird titles by genre vets and exciting new voices.

[Read more]

Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 1: “Dragonstone”

So, was it worth the wait?

HBO’s Game of Thrones returned for its seventh—and, in proper epic fantasy terminology, its penultimate—season where it left off, i.e. with lots of fans saying “OH MY GOD FINALLY!!!!” After the rare cold open, Game of Thrones‘ first volley was more of a quiet breath to recollect and reflect after the explosive episode that preceded it. Over a year ago.

But the episode’s last few moments proved that silence has its own power, as careful machinations led to a moment fans of the TV show and the books alike have been waiting years to see come home to roost. To roost and to wage war.

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.

[“The North Remembers. For real this time…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Welcome Back to the Black Lodge: Twin Peaks: The Return

Um. So… that all happened.

Where to begin unpacking the long-awaited (almost 27 years!) return of one of television’s biggest shows? There were ominous trees, corpses, familiar faces, mentions of pie, chevron floors, white horses, blonde chanteuses, and a lot of head-scratching. And screaming.

Twin Peaks has certainly returned. Was it worth the hype?

[“Is it future or is it past?…”]

Isn’t He Too Dreamy? An Ode to Twin Peaks’ Dale Cooper

Before Rust Cohle chain-smoked his way through True Detective, before Will Graham rescued his first stray on Hannibal, and before Fox Mulder made us all believe, there was one sleuth whose preternatural ability to solve a murder tinged with otherwordly implications captivated audiences around the world.

FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper was the investigator tasked with solving one of television’s most notorious crimes: the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer on Twin Peaks. Portrayed by a dashing young Kyle MacLachlan, who was by 1990 a David Lynch regular, having starred in the director’s Dune box office disaster and the proto-Twin Peaks noir hit Blue Velvet, Cooper was the perfect detective of his time.

Will the upcoming return to Twin Peaks give us a Cooper fit for our current darkest timeline? Well, that’s not Dale Cooper at all. But is it the Dale Cooper we deserve in 2017? A face of law enforcement we can no longer trust? A white knight who has been corrupted? A seeker of truth subsumed by a monstrous lie? I hate to feel so cynically, but absent any inkling of Twin Peaks‘ upcoming story, all I can do is examine Agent Cooper’s FBI dossier and speculate over a mug of coffee black as midnight on a moonless night.

[“I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”]

Alien 3: A Haunting Failure

You don’t hate Alien 3 as much as you think you do.

A terrible sequel, the third installment of the ’Alien’ saga created by Ridley Scott isn’t actually a terrible movie on its own. In fact, if you haven’t seen director David Fincher’s 2003 “Assembly Cut” for the DVD/Blu-Ray box set, you haven’t even really seen Alien 3. It’s a dark and nihilistic arthouse SF film with a complex, challenging female lead. No wonder it flopped as a summer blockbuster in 1992.

[Read more]

It’s the End of The World As We Know It: Why You Should Be Watching HBO’s The Leftovers

The Leftovers has returned for its third and final season, and it’s some of the best television that you’re not watching.

Like The Wire and Deadwood before it, audiences weren’t quite willing to give this drama a chance, but I’m sure grateful that HBO did. But maybe The Leftovers will grow into its deserved audience when all is said and done, too. Because this final season? It’s a heart-rending, hilarious, fast-paced, mysterious, and gorgeous victory lap. I’ve seen seven of the last eight hours and I’m hoping the apocalypse won’t really come before I get to see the series finale.

The Leftovers is so good, I’m not even mad at Damon Lindelof over Lost anymore.

[“If we can’t have a sense of humor about you being the Messiah, we’re going to have a problem….”]

David Hartwell’s Last Gift to Me: Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun

I am no Severian.

Unlike the protagonist of Gene Wolfe’s seminal Book of the New Sun series, I’m not cursed with a perfect memory. But there are some moments that are too special to lose. Among those, for me, is the story of how I acquired a very special copy of The Shadow of the Torturer.

It was during the mass autographing session at the 2015 World Fantasy Con. Gene Wolfe was a guest of honor and I had stupidly forgotten my yellowed paperback of the Shadow & Claw omnibus at home. I was further distraught to learn that the dealer’s room was closed, so I couldn’t even buy another copy. I was somewhere between panic and heartbreak because Gene Wolfe just doesn’t come to conventions very often anymore and who knows if I’d ever meet him again.

[“This is the line of division…”]

Game of Thrones Live is Epic Theater for Epic TV

The hiatus is long and full of boredom as we wait for the seventh season of Game of Thrones.

Luckily, HBO, Live Nation, and Team Benioff & Weiss have given fans what is possibly the most creative, elaborate “Previously on” montage ever to help us make it to summer. With their support, show composer Ramin Djawadi has launched a 24-city North American tour featuring music from Thrones presented live with all the bells and whistles (and wildfire) a die-hard fan could want.

I was fortunate enough to attend New York City’s concert and see, for my first time ever, an arena show that really felt worthy of such a large space.

[Are you not entertained?]

Darkly Dreaming: 5 Essential Reads from Caitlín R. Kiernan

With Caitlín R. Kiernan’s new novella, Agents of Dreamland, available February 28, it seems like the perfect time to look back on the long career of one of dark fantasy’s most acclaimed authors.

To date myself and the author, Kiernan’s distinctive, razor-sharp prose has been thrilling me since about 1995, when I would obsessively refresh the GeoCities site she shared with fellow horror “Furies” Poppy Z. Brite and Christa Faust. I bought her first chapbook, Candles for Elizabeth, in my local Hot Topic. It’s probably the only thing from a ’90s-era Hot Topic that doesn’t embarrass me now.

Born in Dublin, Kiernan spent most of her childhood in Alabama before authoring ten novels, numerous graphic novels, and over two hundred short stories, flash pieces, and novellas. Her work combines a heavy dose of Southern gothic tradition with Lovecraftian otherworldliness and an appreciation for the scientific and the erotic in equal measure.

These five choices were very difficult to narrow down—particularly when there are so many short story collections to choose from—and are presented in order by publication date.

[Trilobites, imps, and monster-slayers…]

Westworld Season 1, Episode 10: “The Bicameral Mind”

I’m tempted to just post a picture of Bender and “KILL ALL HUMANS” here.

But in the spirit of good discussion, I say “KILL ALL HUMANS” because they are all terrible. Except for Felix, who is, ironically enough, a terrible human, but when that’s said by an android, it’s the highest of compliments.

Exit music and major spoilers for an entertaining first season.

[“The maze isn’t meant for you…”]