content by

Theresa DeLucci

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Please Let This Be The Last Witch Hunter

If my local theater is anything to go by, Back to the Future II had a higher per screen box office take this weekend than Vin Diesel’s latest stab at a new fantasy franchise. The Last Witch Hunter reads like a nerd marketing dream: Vin Diesel LARPing with a real flaming sword, Frodo Baggins and Ygritte from Game of Thrones as his sidekicks, Michael Caine as Vin Diesel’s very own Michael Caine, pretty CGI and witches. It’s Halloween. Who doesn’t like a good, creepy witch movie at Halloween? It’s a no-brainer, right?

And that, of course, is the problem with The Last Witch Hunter.

[“Something forgettable this way comes…”]

Six-Guns and Strange Shooters: A Weird West Primer

What is it about the American West that continues to inspire? There’s the romanticized notion of expansion, the simplistic morality of white hats and black hats, of cowboys vs. Indians. And there’s the post-modern Western that does not gloss over the era’s exploitation and violence; all the birth pains of a new nation. Then there is the Weird West, a genre-hopping category that uses a lot of the Western window-dressing—gunslingers, railroads, Pinkertons—and mashes them up with cosmic horror, alternate histories of American icons, and a vast landscape of cruel promise and harsh awe. To celebrate the release of a new batch of novels set in the Weird West world of the RPG Deadlands, beginning with Jonathan Maberry’s Deadlands: Ghostwalkers, it’s time to saddle up for a ride into a booming frontier of creepy thrill.

Not all of it is written, not all of it is American, but it’s all definitely rich in the weird.

[“Zombies, tentacles, gunslingers and an awful lot of Australians…”]

Exploring New Worlds: Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville

Short story collections can be divisive for an author’s fans. For some people, I imagine the feeling is comparable to waiting for your favorite band to put out a new full-length album and instead getting a live EP; the big hits are represented, but you’re missing the depth, the had-to-be-there energy, and the newness to pour over and speculate about.

But most authors aren’t as skilled at writing short stories as they are at writing novels. Three Moments of an Explosion, the latest short story collection from China Miéville showcases not only what is so impressive about Miéville’s talent but what can be so enjoyable about the short form itself.

[Read more]

The Essential Clive Barker

No one gives voice to monsters and misfits quite as well as author Clive Barker. Since his short fiction first bled across the genre landscape thirty years ago, he has become synonymous with a particularly beautiful and horrific brand of dark fantasy. He’s enjoying a bit of a cultural revival this year thanks to the releases of the long-awaited final novel in the Hellraiser universe and the equally anticipated director’s cut edition of his cult film, Nightbreed.

Nightbreed and the novella it was adapted from, Cabal, are so enduring, editors Joe Nassise and Del Howison have just released Midian Unmade, an anthology of short fiction told from the perspective of—and in the empathetic spirit of—Clive Barker’s misunderstood creations. While entertaining on its own merits, as any anthology containing original stories from Seanan McGuire, Nancy Holder and David J. Schow would naturally be, Midian Unmade is best appreciated by Barker fans.

So where can one begin an education in all things Barker? By going back to the beginning, of course.

[“Everybody is a book of blood. Wherever we’re opened, we’re red.”]

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 8 “Hardhome”

After last week’s dramatic meetings and departures (and boobs, always boobs) Game of Thrones brings its all-new plot developments Beyond the Wall, where Jon goes on a diplomatic mission even stupider than Jaime’s in Dorne, but at least contains exciting things like White Walkers and jerky Thenns and my pretend soul mate Dolorous Edd. So I’m not even mad.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[“The White Walking Dead…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 7: “The Gift”

After last week’s traumatic episode, one couldn’t be blamed for no longer wanting to stick with HBO’s Game of Thrones. From U.S. senators to popular feminist geek websites to individual fans of television that doesn’t make you (a) really pissed off and disgusted, or (b) curl into the fetal position while weeping, everyone’s feeling that events in the North are getting more dire than direwolves. Who are actually pretty scarce until the perfect dramatic moment calls for one.

We’re still in the quiet before the storm of swords that is set of rain down upon Winterfell. There’s no solace there, not for us, not for Sansa. But there were two gifts of great importance given that could go a long way towards improving fans’ moods.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[“Egg, I dreamed that I was old…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 6 “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

You know Game of Thrones had a terrible ending when the Mad Men series finale seems uplifting by comparison. Far be it from me to question the wisdom of George R. R. Martin—and I won’t because the books are his story—but I would really love to know why the showrunners changed so much of Martin’s novels in interesting ways only to negate all their work by not changing events enough.

Someone get me a refreshing Coca-Cola to soothe my stomachache.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[Jaime Lannister throws Don Draper out a window in Mad Men finale shocker!]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

The Return of Pinhead: The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker

It’s been a tumultuous twenty years for fans of Clive Barker. Ever since the visionary horror author and acclaimed cult film director teased a new adventure for his most famous character in 1993, devotees of the lead Cenobite Pinhead have been waiting on, well, pins and needles to see if The Scarlet Gospels would ever come to fruition.

Take that, impatient George R. R. Martin fans! It could get worse!

The last two decades have seen Barker tackle dark fantasy novels including Abarat and Coldheart Canyon, launch an action figure line, write comics, direct his third movie, Lord of Illusions, and become a prolific visual artist. He’s also struggled with some very serious health problems, including a near-fatal case of toxic shock syndrome last year.

It goes without saying that expectations for this long-awaited novel are extremely high. Only, I wasn’t one of the people waiting for this novel. Not exactly.

[Read more…]

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 5: “Kill the Boy”

There was a lot of talk of fathers on last night’s Mothers’ Day episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

But first, we must talk about what we lost this hour—two characters who are still alive in the books, neither of which will see any screentime going forward. Season 5 has been a bit slow out of the gate, but here at the halfway mark, things are, like Tyrion Lannister, looking up and becoming very unpredictable.

Which is good or bad depending on how much of a book purist you are.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[“Long sullen silences and an occasional punch in the face. The Mormont way. …”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 3: “The High Sparrow”

This week’s divisive episode departs significantly from the books, meaning readers have a choice to make about Game of Thrones: keep playing or take yourself off the board to wait for more novels.

Personally, I enjoy both incarnations of Martin’s materials and recognize that each medium has its own strengths and weaknesses. Tonight’s big changes from A Dance with Dragons put a significant number of new players together and into harm’s way in the coming weeks, while in another region of the world, we seem to get confirmation that a big character from the fifth novel will not be making an appearance. There are a lot of interesting implications to chew on.

Also in this hour: All hail Queen Margaery. Again. First of Her Name and Ruler of Disgruntled Daughter-in-Laws everywhere.

Spoiler alert: Major episode spoilers for the currently aired season. 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 spoilers for leaked episodes or early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting for next week’s airing or waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

[“The North remembers.”…]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 2 “The House of Black and White”

After last week’s pity party premiere, Game of Thrones is back for a second episode filled with people ready to take some action—especially with the pointy end of a sword.

Now that we’ve watched Arya say something extremely dark and awesome for a young child, Game of Thrones is officially back. And with some welcome surprises.

Spoilers for the episode ahead. Spoilers from George R. R. Martin’s published novels are also discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. Please don’t post open spoilers from any leaked episodes or preview chapters of The Winds of Winter. Tread carefully and play nice.


Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones