content by

Theresa DeLucci

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

The City Dreams: The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

China Miéville has been incredibly productive this past year.

His latest short novel, The Last Days of New Paris, is his third new release since August 2015’s fat story collection Three Moments of an Explosion and January’s mysterious sorta-Bas-Lag novella, This Census-Taker. (This in addition to his work with Salvage magazine and a children’s picture book forthcoming in the fall.) Of the three, The Last Days of New Paris is likely the most approachable and the easiest to follow along with, which is a bit rich as the action centers around Surrealist art coming to life and overtaking Nazi-occupied Paris in WWII.

And if that summary gets your interest, then so, too, will The Last Days of New Paris. Alternate history via Miéville’s exemplary imagination creates an ideal forum to consider fascism and art, or fascism versus art, as the case may be. A look back at this moment of never-was time feels particularly timely now.

[Read more, look more, art more…]

Bright Days, Dark Fiction: 5 Horror Reads for Summer

Is this summer too hot for you? Have you grown weary of sunshine and the monotony of green leaves and whatever ubiquitous pop song that is that’s drifting from the open windows of passing cars? Do you resent the fact that the term “beach reads” means books that are frivolous, light, and somehow more fun than quality novels about werewolves, societal collapse, and suicide?

Here is a collection of five books perfect for the kind of person who enjoys being chilled, who’s counting down the days until Halloween. But don’t worry, none are too gloomy. Why, some even have sun-baked California hills and sweeping desert vistas as a backdrop for sexy scorpion-women and homicidal cult leaders.

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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.

[Read more]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

It’s in the Details: Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock

Summer is officially here but if you’re heading out to your local state park for some hiking, camping, or (if you’re a high schooler) some late-night ragers without adult supervision, Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock will make you think twice.

Late one August night, 13-year-old Tommy Sanderson inexplicably leaves his two best friends behind and runs into the woods of Borderland State Park in Massachusetts. The story opens with every parent’s very worst nightmare: an unexpected late-night phone call telling you your child is missing. Tommy’s mother, Elizabeth, has a bad news phone call before—nine years prior, when her ex-husband (and Tommy’s father) died in a car crash. Instantly she—and readers—are placed in a state of heightened tension that rarely lets up. Like a meteor’s crash, Tommy’s disappearance slams into Elizabeth and Tommy’s kid sister Kate and the impact radiates through his circle of friends, his small community, and the world beyond through social media and cable news.

But what really happened to Tommy on that night is more unsettling than anyone can imagine.

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Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 8 “No One”

This season, man. It’s enjoyable enough, and yet… not much is really blowing me away. Except for the Hound. He’s still cool. He’s like the Jeff Lebowski of Westeros, only instead of White Russians, he unwinds with some murder. Don’t piss on his rug and don’t kill his septon. The Hound abides, okay?

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, Dondarrion…]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

5 Essential William Gibson Reads

It’d be a criminal oversight not to feature William Gibson during’s Cyberpunk Week. More than thirty years have passed since Neuromancer and Burning Chrome were published and while some may debate who actually invented the term cyberspace, it’s without doubt that Gibson is the author who popularized it. In the time since the American-Canadian author debuted, our concept of the internet has changed from a flashy representational grid of glowing lights and towering monoliths of code into something so commonplace, even your grandparents have a Twitter account. You can purchase a drone at your local Walmart. So what does William Gibson observe now?

“The future is here,” he has said, several times. “It’s just not very evenly distributed.”

Gibson’s work is best appreciated in chronological order, to see those publication dates and gain a better understanding of the frame in which the stories were written. Technology outpaced speculative fiction in ways even the genre’s best minds couldn’t foresee and our visions of the future—and the people living in them—changed, too.

[Console cowboys and coolhunters…]

Series: Cyberpunk Week on

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 7: “The Broken Man”

That was likely the funniest episode of Game of Thrones in recent memory and it still ended with a massacre.

But, seriously, I chuckled quite a lot in this rather slight almost-hour, especially for an episode without the usual wit masters, Tyrion, Varys, and Littlefinger. The latter’s machinations were still a presence, though. Did Sansa send him a raven asking for his army? Did Littlefinger really wedge a splinter between Sansa and her half-brother Jon Snow?

Perhaps. But all I can do is cheer because Ian McShane was a guest star. LET ME HAVE THIS.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[“Hound’s gonna hound…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 6: “Blood of My Blood”

Seeing last week’s ending again in the “Previously on…” bit made me upset all over again.

Tonight’s episode proper kept it in the family. Some take this more literally than others. (Looking at you, Jaime and Cersei.) But elsewhere in King’s Landing, family members reunited, were torn apart, fought to stay together, and were also unspeakably horrible to one another.

But no one died! This was good for everyone—except for Arya, of course.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[Read more]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Tender Prey: Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Werewolves have a publicity problem; while their place in the pantheon of folklore monsters is just as ancient as vampires, lycanthropes don’t have the same sex appeal as their blood-sucking brethren. Werewolves aren’t fops surrounded by crumbling castles or exclusive nightclubs, werewolves don’t seduce high school girls, don’t fret over their souls, and don’t demure when it comes to taking a meal.

Stephen Graham Jones’ latest novel, Mongrels, makes a meal fit for any werewolf: meaty, surprisingly sweet of heart, and immensely satisfying.

[“A good wolf isn’t always a good man. Remember that.”]

Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 2 “Home”

So that happened.

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.

[The Krakens are released! (Again.)]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

5 Reasons to Watch Penny Dreadful

Showtime’s Brit-horror series Penny Dreadful returns on May 1st to the joy of faithful viewers not-nearly-everywhere. For such a smart and well-acted show, the horror soap opera featuring fictional heavy-hitters Victor Frankenstein, his monster, Dorian Gray, and the Wolfman doesn’t get quite the expected amount of buzz it deserves. It probably doesn’t help that the show airs the same night as HBO’s powerhouse Game of Thrones. Watch Thrones live if you hate getting spoiled on Twitter, but save some room on your DVR for a show that’s bloodier, spookier, and steeped in much more literal—and literary—sexual politics.

Here’s a taste of what you’re missing. (With a few unavoidable spoilers ahead.)

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