Don’t Touch That Dial: Fall 2016 TV — The DC Television Universe

And we’re back with the second edition of the Fall 2016 “Don’t Touch That Dial.” In this very special episode we’re looking at DC on TV, specifically Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl. None of these series are new this fall, but all have had major overhauls since their first season, so let’s see what’s working, what’s not, and where we go from here.

Mild spoilers for previous seasons.

[Read more]

This Costume of John Carpenter’s The Thing is Exactly What it Appears to Be!

We here at do everything we can to promote the idea that October Is The Greatest Month. With that in mind, we’re pleased to share this amazing rendition of John Carpenter’s The Thing. Of course, now Earth will be overrun by terrible shape-shifting aliens, and we’ll never be able to trust anyone again, but it’s a small price to pay for such a stellar costume.

[via Dread Central!]

Imaginative Anthropology: In Celebration of Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was raised by an anthropologist and a writer. Not just any anthropologist: her father Alfred L. Kroeber, was the first person to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology in the United States, and after graduating from Columbia University he founded the first anthropology program at Berkeley.

This was where Le Guin grew up, in a redwood house near the school, and spending summers in Napa Valley. The descriptions of it sound idyllic, actually like something out of one of Madeleine L’Engle’s novels. She sent her first story to Astounding Science Fiction when she was 11, but was unfortunately rejected. During World War II her three brothers were away in the military, and she spent the summers of her teen years sharing the house with her parents.

[Read More]

Series: On This Day

Finally a Handy Chart of the “Big 5” Book Publishers and Their Imprints

Trade book publishing is dominated by the “Big 5”: five book publishing companies that own or partner with over 100 different publishers and imprints, and who are responsible for the lion’s share of books that you see on shelves. As such, it can get confusing as to which imprint (like Tor Teen) is owned by which publisher (Tor/Forge Books) is owned by which “Big 5” company (Macmillan).

Designer and author Ali Almossawi recently collected this information into an easy online info chart, allowing curious folks to quickly identify imprints and publishers owned by the same “Big 5” company. This is publicly available information, but it can be difficult to track down in some cases. Almossawi’s chart greatly simplifies that information.

It should be noted that not all publishers are included in the chart, just the ones that are considered the five most prominent. (Harry Potter publisher Scholastic Books, for example, is not included.) So the chart should not be considered a complete representation of the book publishing industry. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely handy collection.

An Expensive Adventure: Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Disney executives could not help but notice a few things during the 1990s. One: even accounting for inflation, science fiction films continued to do very well at the box office, if not quite grossing the same amounts as the original Star Wars trilogy. And two, many of the fans who flocked to Disney animated films, theme parks and the newly opened Disney Cruise Line were teenagers. Why not, executives asked, try an animated science fiction or adventure film aimed at teenagers? It would be a bit of a risk—the company’s previous PG animated film, The Black Cauldron, had been a complete flop. But they could bring in directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale, whose Beauty and the Beast had been a spectacular success, and who had also added more mature elements to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was worth a try.

In theory.

[A film unsafe for linguists to watch]

Tie-In Fiction, and Stepping Outside of Tribal Nerdery

Sometimes I wonder what color my vomit will be when someone tries to hold up Revenge of the Nerds as an important cultural piece of pop culture history.

That might sound crude, of course, but in my defense I didn’t specify what would cause the bodily ejection. I’ve just been at New York Comic Con, see, where I’ve been alternately drinking heavily and meandering through a crowd where we are all breathing heavily on each other and generally absorbed in the miasma of color and sound that is our beautiful pop culture landscape.

And it’s kind of hard to imagine going back to an era where nerds were persecuted.

[Read more]

Fall 2016 Anime Preview: That Ice Skating Show

It’s that time again—new anime is here along with the fall leaves, and it is our duty, as usual, to divide the 2D wheat from the chaff. Fall is traditionally a strong season for anime, and though this one is a bit lacking, there are still a few new shows worth checking out. Joining a roster of strong sequels—Haikyu!! is back, along with Kyoto Animation’s Sound! Euphonium, the second part of Bungo Stray Dogs and Iron-Blooded Orphans, and the fifth season of Natsume Yuujinchou (hallelujah)—are a smattering of interesting offerings. Fans of madcap comedies might check out ClassicaLoid, a show about classical composers making magical gyoza, and shoujo and BL fans can unite this season over unlikely romcom Kiss Him Not Me. If you’re in the UK, count yourself lucky because The Great Passage, a literary drama about publishing a dictionary, is apparently available only in your region.

And if you just want the best of the season’s new anime without all the funny business, keep reading—I’ve picked three promising shows that you can start watching right this minute. Here’s a little hint: axel, lutz, loop.

[Read more]

Revealing the Table of Contents for The Djinn Falls in Love

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends. Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn.

Editors Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin have teamed up for The Djinn Falls in Love, and Other Stories, bringing together over 20 new and classic tales of Djinn from amazing authors from all around the world. The anthology publishes in March 2017 with Solaris, and we’re excited to share the full table of contents—including works from K.J. Parker, Nnedi Okorafor, and Neil Gaiman—below!

[Read more]

The Medieval Origins of Halloween

We’ve been knee-deep in pumpkin spice for weeks, now, which means (1) Starbucks may be part of a secret cabal intent on world domination through tasty means, and (2) Halloween is nigh. We all know what Halloween is these days—costumes and candy, pumpkins and fright nights—but that doesn’t mean the holiday makes sense. Sure, it’s fun to play dress-up and eat buckets of candy, but how did such a strange tradition start? Why do we do it on the same day every year? In short, where did this whole Halloween thing come from?

Well, like most awesome things (the medievalist said with all the bias), it begins in the Middle Ages.

[How? Let’s start with the word and see…]

Series: Medieval Matters

The Sequel to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is Coming to Radio!

Radio 4 is producing “How the Marquis Got his Coat Back”, the follow-up to Gaiman’s 1996 novel/BBC series Neverwhere. The novella was originally published in George R.R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, and features the fantastic Marquis de Carabas’ attempts to retrieve his beloved coat, amongst other adventures. The cast of this new radio drama is The most interesting thing here is that the casts from both the ‘90s BBC television series and the 2012 radio production will combine to form a giant mega cast! The Marquis will once again be played by Paterson Joseph, while Richard Mayhew and Old Bailey will be played by two veterans of the radio production, James McAvoy and Bernard Crimmins.

And as if all that isn’t enough, Neil Gaiman is also making an appearance! He’ll play The Boatman, who ferries The Marquis across Mortlake, the River of the Dead.

McAvoy enthused about his return to London Below, saying, “It’s just a privilege professionally… it’s just fun to go back into that world where so much is unknown and anything is possible.”

And Neil Gaiman is excited to revisit the character, saying, “The Marquis is probably the most fun character I’ve ever written. He is always unpredictable, he is conniving, he is unreliable. He is… especially in Neverwhere, we see him from the outside. So I thought, it would be fun to see him from the inside. It would be fun to watch what happens when we’re actually following the Marquis on a usual day! I mean, a usual day for him seems to involve the threat of him losing his life, several old enmities coming back, brainwashing and some unwanted family relationships. Plus, having to wear a poncho.”

You can head over to Radio Times for a special “first listen” preview of the drama and to read more about the production. “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back” will be on Radio 4 on 4 November, and available at BBC iPlayer thereafter.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Mark Cotta Vaz and Nick Nunziata’s Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, available now from Harper Design!

Released in 2006, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth was hailed as a dark, thrilling masterpiece and announced the filmmaker as a major creative force, garnering him a loyal fan base attracted to his technical skill and wild imagination.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this acclaimed fantasy, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth provides the definitive account of the film’s creation. Written in close collaboration with the director, this volume covers everything from del Toro’s initial musings, through to the film’s haunting creature designs, the hugely challenging shoot, and the overwhelming critical and fan reaction upon the its release.

Including exquisite concept art and rare unit photography from the set, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth gives readers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at how this modern classic was crafted for the screen. The book also draws on interviews with every key player in the film’s creation, including stars Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdu, and Doug Jones; producers Alfonso Cuarón and Bertha Navarro; and director of photography Guillermo Navarro, to present the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at this unforgettable cinematic classic.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 20th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 24th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Warbreaker Reread: Chapter 1

Welcome back to the Warbreaker reread! Last week, we met a grumpy old man with a bizarrely cheerful sword. This week, we meet the Idrian royal family, and are introduced to the political tensions which will drive much of the plot.

This reread will contain spoilers for all of Warbreaker and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. This is particularly likely to include Words of Radiance, due to certain crossover characters. The index for this reread can be found here.

Click on through to join the discussion!

[Lord God of Colors]

Series: Warbreaker Reread

Gandalf Brings Street Magic to Middle-earth!

What if Gandalf, rather than being a serious wizard on a mission, decided to have a little fun with his magical talents? In College Humor’s Gandalf: Street Magic, we see a much more David Blaine-esque Gandalf, merrily blowing minds with sleight of hand…and leading to the occasional orc murder. But be warned: this magic show has a twist ending, and it’s also most likely NSFW, unless you work in a place that features lots of wizard nudity.

[In which case, congratulations on having such a rad job!]