From the author of The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and the forthcoming Death’s End comes a story about unborn memories.
Welcome back to the Kage Baker Company Series reread! In today’s installment, we’ll cover “chapters” 4 through 7, so from the end of what we covered in last week’s post up to the end of the San Pedro trip, ending on “I’d have wrung the bird’s neck after the first hour.” (Pages 54 to 97 in my Avon Eos edition.)
As always, you can find all previous posts in the reread on our index page. Also, beware spoilers: this reread will discuss plot details up to and including the very end of the series, so be careful if you haven’t read all the books yet.
And with that, we’re off! For your rereading enjoyment, today’s suggested soundtrack is Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo, briefly mentioned in chapter 4 of this novel.
Series: Rereading Kage Baker
“Wink of an Eye”
Written by Lee Cronin and Arthur Heinemann
Directed by Jud Taylor
Season 3, Episode 13
Production episode 60043-68
Original air date: November 29, 1968
Captain’s log. The Enterprise responds to a distress call on Scalos. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and two security guards beam down to the location from which Uhura is receiving the distress call. But while the locations match, Kirk sees nobody at the beam-down site, and Uhura still only sees the Scalosians in the broadcast of the distress call. McCoy isn’t picking up any animal life at all, though Kirk hears what sounds like an insect buzzing.
There is an abundance of art and literature and architecture, and some of the latter was obviously occupied recently, though other parts were abandoned.
Suddenly, Compton, one of the security guards, disappears, right after he took a sip from a fountain.
It’s a Ray Bradbury birthday surprise! Yesterday, on what would have been the Fahrenheit 451 author’s 95th birthday, Boing Boing stumbled across a treasure trove in the form of all 65 episodes of 1980s/90s TV series The Ray Bradbury Theater. Like The Twilight Zone, this dark science fiction anthology series put dozens of Bradbury’s clever stories on the small screen—all inspired, he said in the adorable intro for each episode, by an object in his study: “I never know where the next one will take me. And the trip? Exactly one-half exhilaration, exactly-one half terror.”
Although it was a small novel, both in size and in scope, Spellwright made a sizeable splash in the speculative fiction scene when it was released six years or so ago. First-time author Blake Charlton brought his own experiences as “a proud dyslexic” to bear brilliantly by exploring the place of a young man who misspells everything in a world in which magic is literally written.
Spellbound was bigger than Spellwright in the same several senses. It expanded the overarching narrative from the magical academy where Nicodemus Weal came of age and learned of something called the Disjunction to take in a distant city and a second central character. Again like the author, a medical school student by day and a writer by night at the time, Francesca DeVega was a physician poised to use her powers to heal the needy, but when she too became aware of the coming catastrophe, she had to put her pursuits on the back-burner to help Nico defeat the demons—demons that meant to destroy the lifeblood of the living: language.
But the demons were not defeated by our heroes… only delayed. And now, in Spellbreaker—not the longest volume of Charlton’s inventive trilogy but unequivocally the most ambitious—the Disjunction is at last at hand.
Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all.
Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.
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Merlin’s pants, it’s The Wheel of Time Reread Redux!
All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com.)
The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!
All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.
And now, the post!
Series: The Wheel of Time Reread
Today, for your amusement, a magic trick: I will take fireworks and turn them into candies, thus proving that the times I nerd-sniped myself while researching and lost days following random trails through oddball books was actual research, thank you very much, and not procrastination. (Also I did get three different books out of this insanity. Obligatory mention: one of them, The Left-Handed Fate, comes out this August. Now, back to the magic.)
So: Fireworks into candies. Here we go.
I began to study fireworks for my second book, The Broken Lands, looking explicitly for links between it and alchemy. Those links weren’t hard to find—I was studying Chinese alchemy, the history of modern fireworks leads directly to China, and the timelines of these two types of chemical praxis overlap by at least a hundred and fifty years, so it isn’t shocking that there would be some overlap between formularies and techniques. The connections continue in the west: fireworks came into their own in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, a time when practical chemistry had deep ties to alchemy. Pyrotechnicians often used the language of alchemy and spoke of their work and the effects they created animistically, in terms of life and generation and essence; ambitious artificers forced fire to interact with other elements in their displays.
Well are you, chum? Honestly, I didn’t think I was, but Amazon’s new reboot of The Tick won me over by the end of the pilot. When I saw the images of Peter Serafinowicz in the suit I was apprehensive. I loved the original live-action version of The Tick, because in addition to Patrick Warburton being seemingly cosmically ordained to play the role, David Burke (Arthur), Nestor Carbonell (Batmanuel), and Liz Vassey (Captain Liberty) were also perfect, and director Barry Sonnenfeld managed to create fully-realized world around the characters. It was distinct from the comic and cartoon, but just as funny. But that first shot of Serafinowicz? The suit looked weird. It looked like a suit. I had visions of uncanny valleys dancing in my head.
I’m happy to say that, at least in the opening episode, The Tick makes the suit work. And it makes everything about the show work by embracing and then oh-so-gently mocking the current gritty superhero landscape.
Flowchart designer and Stephen King fan Gillian James of Tessiegirl Design has created the ultimate Stephen King Universe Flowchart! She first fell in love with Mr. King’s words in 5th grade, when a classmate brought her mother’s copy of Carrie to school. The kids all took turns reading aloud, and naturally, when James’ mom absolutely forbade her to keep reading it, she devoured the rest! Now she’s expressing her love of the man’s work through an intricate, possibly-migraine-inducing chart. It maps connections between King’s two favorite towns, Derry and Castle Rock, and even tracks books where the towns are only referenced. After some feedback from other King fans, James threaded All World of The Dark Tower series into the chart as well. The resulting work provides what I assume is a nigh-perfect map of Stephen King’s teeming brain.
Click through to explore the full, embiggenable image, but keep in mind that much like King’s oeuvre, this sucker is huge.
In everything we do, every decision we make and every action we undertake, our identities define us… yet we never really know who we are. We know who we were—we tell ourselves we do, to be sure—but like all memories, these recollections lose their sharpness with time, and, invariably, some of their truth, too. And while we think we know who we will be, these are projections at best; messy guesses subject to sudden and surprising changes in circumstance.
Take Luke Arnold, the central perspective of The Kind Folk by Ramsey Campbell. He thought he was the only son of Maurice and Freda Arnold, but as a DNA test taken on television demonstrates, he’s not; the hospital must have given the couple he calls mum and dad the wrong baby. “He still has all his memories; nothing has changed them or what he is, let alone the people who are still his parents in surely every way that counts.” Nevertheless, this sensational revelation alters Luke’s perception of his past, and that, in turn, has huge ramifications on his future.
Who, then, is the man caught in the middle?
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.
Welcome to the weekly reread of Saint Camber! Last time, Camber devised a plan to fake his own death—in the guise of Cullen, he bluffs his way through an important conversation with Cinhil, and gets the singular experience of witnessing his own extended funeral.
This week Camber and his family get together to work a powerful spell, Cinhil is a persistent and dangerous nuisance, and a myth is about to be born…
Series: Rereading Katherine Kurtz
Truthwitch author Susan Dennard is one of many authors donating her time to Reddit’s r/fantasy for The Pixel Project, a virtual nonprofit devoted to raising awareness as well as funds and volunteer power to end violence against women. Dennard’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread is the first of a two-part involvement with The Pixel Project; she’ll join almost a dozen other authors—including Max Gladstone and V.E. Schwab—in the Read for Pixels campaign in September. During a live Google Hangout, authors will read from their books and discuss why they support ending violence against women, their own writing, and women in pop culture; there will also be a live moderated Q&A session.
Speaking of Q&As, Dennard’s Reddit AMA was much like her last visit to r/fantasy: a mix of writing advice, Robin Hobb fangirling, some insights into Truthwitch and its forthcoming sequel Windwitch, and plenty of geeking out over video games—this time it’s Dragon Age: Inquisition instead of Fallout. Read on for the highlights!