Rereading Katherine Kurtz: Camber the Heretic, Chapters 4-5

Welcome to the weekly reread of Camber the Heretic!

Last time, the humans finally began making their move against the Deryni, plotting to control the regency after the ailing king dies. This week Camber gets up close and personal with the human-Deryni conflict. Cinhil makes a momentous and most likely fatal decision. And Rhys shows his ruthless side.

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Series: Rereading Katherine Kurtz

Sci-Fi and Mystery Author Sheri S. Tepper, 1929-2016

Locus Magazine reports the passing of horror, science fiction, and mystery author Sheri S. Tepper. A prolific voice whose works were often known for themes of feminism and ecology, Tepper published dozens of novels, short works, and essays, some of them under pseudonyms. She won the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2015, and many of her novels were shortlisted for various awards, including the Hugo, Tiptree, and Clarke Awards. As a single mother of two during the 1960s, Tepper began by writing poetry and children’s stories before remarrying in the late 60s. She worked at Planned Parenthood for 24 years–eventually as Executive Director at the Rocky Mountain Colorado branch–before leaving to write full-time, later running a guest ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is known for her True Game Series, as well as the Arbai Trilogy, and standalone novels such as Beauty, The Fresco, The Gate to Women’s Country, and Gibbon’s Decline & Fall.

In an interview with Locus Magazine back in September, 1998, Tepper had a few words about the universe and the passage of time that seem truly fitting:

“What do I have to say to the universe? A soul ought to have something to say to the universe if it’s going to be immortal. But the world has something to say to the universe, all of these systems have things to say to the universe, and we’re part of that. You go in the ground, and the grass grows over your bones, and that’s good too! I take a lot more comfort out of that than I would out of some notion of the feathery form rising up, strumming a harp. Harp music can get dreadfully dull!”

Tepper passed away on October 22, 2016. She was 87 years old. Our thoughts are with her family and friends, and everyone who was touched by her work–she will be dearly missed.

Willful Child: Wrath of Betty (Excerpt)

From New York Times bestselling author Steven Erikson comes Willful Child: Wrath of Betty, a new Science Fiction novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous, and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space. These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the…

And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child.

Willful Child: The Wrath of Betty is the sequel to Willful Child–available November 1st from Tor Books.

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Belle Chasse Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Suzanne Johnson’s Belle Chasse, available November 8th from Tor Books!

Suzanne Johnson’s “strong and intriguing” (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series The Sentinels of New Orleans continues with Belle Chasse. With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ—stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders—can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It’s time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 24th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 28th. 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.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapter 21 and Epilogue

Miles arrives at Vorhartung Castle for his trial, and Ivan helpfully reminds him that he has to get out of the lightflyer now that he’s there. This week, he’s fighting for his life, and also auditioning for Barrayar’s next historical vid drama for children. Just like Vorthalia the Bold!

This is the LAST WEEK in the re-read of The Warrior’s Apprentice. Next week, we embark upon The Vor Game, which raises questions about when we get to talk about Jole. As stated, the reread spoiler embargo expires with the next book. I’m not yet certain whether that means “the very second we start reading it” or “when we actually meet Jole.” The final decision is, of course, mine, but I welcome input on this issue should the comments wander in that direction.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

You Mad, Bro? Black Mirror, “Shut Up and Dance”

There’s something to be said for the fact that the most affecting Black Mirror episodes seem to be the ones that force me to turn off the TV after watching. Some, like “Nosedive,” I can breeze through and allow Netflix to usher me to the next installment. But after “Shut Up and Dance,” I had to physically step away from the black mirror of my television set and pace the room; when I sat back down, I had to pull up an episode of Younger as a much-needed palate cleanser, and even then I still felt my skin crawling. Other reviewers have considered “Shut Up and Dance” alongside season 2’s “White Bear” as a sort of double feature; but while they are annoyed to see seemingly the same story play out again, I found these two episodes to be companion pieces rather than copies.

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Wings Gleaming Like Beaten Bronze: Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky Trilogy

Welcome back to the eBook Club! October’s pick is Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts, book 1 in the Eternal Sky epic fantasy trilogy.

“Better a storm crow than a carrion bird.”

This is not a review. The Powers That Be here at have asked me to write about Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy as a whole now that it’s available in its entirety for your reading pleasure. Because I love it, you see. I love it so much, now that it is done, that the small criticisms I may have had for the middle book fade into insignificance: it has the kind of conclusion that raises up everything that has gone before, that adds fresh meanings to previous events in the light of new knowledge, new developments, new triumphs and griefs.

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Revisiting a Horror-Comedy Classic: Gene Wilder’s Haunted Honeymoon

Have you got a favorite movie that was either a total bomb at the box office or no one else seems to have ever seen? I’ve got a few, but given the fact that Halloween is nigh and we recently lost an icon of comedy genius, I’d like to talk briefly about one item high on my list right now: the woefully unsung Haunted Honeymoon, which seldom gets mentioned whenever Gene Wilder himself does. This is my Young Frankenstein, my Willy Wonka. And by that I mean a movie starring Gene Wilder that’s close to my heart. I assume we all have one.

[Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?]

Trying Too Hard: Black Mirror, “Nosedive”

The comparison I keep seeing on social media is that “Nosedive,” the first episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror, resembles the insane dystopia of Community‘s MeowMeowBeenz episode, where the ability to rate each other on a scale of 1 to 5 devolves into a dystopia where the Fours and Fives rule and exile the Ones. The fact that Parks and Recreation creator and star Michael Schur and Rashida Jones co-wrote it (from an outline by Charlie Brooker) strengthens the ties to that American sitcom. But where MeowMeowBeenz satirizes the disaster of “Yelp for people” while skewering The Hunger Games and the entire dystopian genre, “Nosedive” opts for a subtler horror that gets under your skin.

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Westworld Season 1, Episode 4: “Dissonance Theory”

This week on Westworld, several characters are introduced to the mystery of the Maze and fan theories about Arthur, the Man in Black, and Bernard get some excellent fodder. This is the kind of debate I actually enjoy.

How detailed is Ford getting with his new narrative project and how soon will all of the hosts be as keyed in as poor Maeve, who is seriously losing her mind from the trauma?

The only way this show could make my head hurt more was if it had a crossover episode with The Walking Dead.
[The girl with the snake tattoo…]

Why I’m Walking Out On The Walking Dead

That’s it. I’m done. Tap me the hell out. Pack my bags and send me home. The season 7 premiere was an hour of sadism, misery, and over the top violence stitched together by padding and shouting. I don’t care what happens next, where Carol and Morgan are, or even how that damn tiger from the commercials will come into play. I. Don’t. Care. There are better ways to spend Sunday night.

[“I’m gonna kill you.”]

The Emperor’s Soul: Prologue to Day Five

Been meaning to check out this Brandon Sanderson guy? Now’s your chance!

On November 22, Arcanum Unbounded arrives on shelves, collecting short stories from the many worlds of epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. What is a “mistborn”? And why do your friends light up with excitement at the thought of another glimpse into the Stormlight Archive? And…what are these secretive whispers that it’s all connected?

The ARCANUM can tell you. Just open its pages. Every story functions as an introduction to that world, with no need to study up beforehand.

You can begin right now with THE EMPEROR’S SOUL, Brandon Sanderson’s Hugo Award-winning novella. On the world of Sel, Shai is given an impossible task: create—Forge—a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days….

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Looks Like Somebody Let the Dementors Out of Azkaban Again

We’re not sure if we’ve mentioned this, but HALLOWEEN IS THE BEST. And it’s because of stuff like this. Inspired madman Michael Irvine built a Dementor Drone and flew it around his neighborhood, most likely scaring the Patronuses out of everyone who happened to glance up.

This is an excellent use of a drone, Harry Potter fan! We salute you. Go check out more shots of the Dementor, plus some videos of it in terrifying action, over at Nerd Approved!

Doctor Who: The Whoniverse Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of George Mann and Justin Richards’s Doctor Who: The Whoniverse, available October 25th from Harper Design! Each winner will also receive a nifty blue tote—all the better to carry around this timey-wimey tome.

Doctor Who: The Whoniverse is a never-before-seen history of the Human Race—from the formation of the Earth around the Racnoss eggs, and the creation of life by the destruction of the last Jagaroth spaceship, through to the eventual expansion of the sun and end of the world and beyond to the New Earth, and Utopia.

Along the way, the book explores the untold histories of other planets and other lifeforms as they have interacted with humanity. We examine the Daleks and Cybermen, the Time Lords and the Sontarans, the Ice Warriors, Silurians, Weeping Angels, and many, many more. Additionally, we visit Gallifrey and Skaro, Mondas and Telos, Mars and Sontar.

Filled with full-color illustrations, maps, charts, and artifacts throughout, Doctor Who: The Whoniverse is a treasury of accumulated knowledge, scholarly erudition and accumulated folk wisdom from the worlds of Doctor Who.

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 12:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 22nd. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 26th. 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.