Rereading Kage Baker’s Company Series: In the Garden of Iden, Chapters 19-21

Welcome to this week’s installment of the Kage Baker Company series reread! In today’s post, we’ll cover chapters 19-21 of In the Garden of Iden.

Before we get started, the usual warning: this reread contains spoilers for the entire series, so be careful unless you don’t mind finding out plot elements and major revelations from later books. Gentle reader, thou hast been warned. The reread’s introduction (including the reading order we’ll be following) can be found here, and the index of all previous posts here.

And with that, we’re off!

[Arrows you may dodge and fever you may antibody for, but mortal grief is a misfortune you cannot escape.]

Series: Rereading Kage Baker

Dory Searches for Her Home in the Latest Finding Dory Trailer

Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory looks to be that rare sequel that builds on all the great stuff from the first film: Instead of Nemo being separated from his dad, Dory gets scooped up and dumped into the Marine Life Institute (a.k.a. a fish hospital); there’s a whole new cast of undersea creatures to help her in her journey; plenty of whale-speak; the fearsome angler fish of the original gets replaced by a scary squid… there’s even an update to the “MINE MINE MINE MINE” seagulls with two bleating sea lions.

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Black Holes and 4-D Wars: The Doctor Who Stories of Alan Moore

Doctor Who has a fine comic tradition, one stretching right back to the First Doctor’s debut in the pages of TV Comic in November 1964. Sixteen years later, the first bona fide professional work of writer Alan Moore—who would go on to become one of the most important and iconic comic creators of the modern era—appeared in the pages of the new Doctor Who Weekly magazine.

Moore wrote just five back-up strips for Doctor Who Weekly between June 1980 and October 1981—a grand total of just 28 pages, each (save four) rendered in beautiful monochrome by David Lloyd. Lloyd would later collaborate with Moore on what can be argued as the latter’s first truly great work, V for Vendetta, which first appeared in the pages of the weekly anthology, Warrior, in March 1982.

Although Moore never worked on Doctor Who Weekly’s primary comic strip, his work in the back-up pages represents some of the best of that Golden Age of British comics, a period of around a decade that began with the publication of the short-lived Action in the mid 1970s, and was followed by many others, including Starlord, Tornado, and of course, the legendary SF anthology, 2000AD. While Alan Moore is well known for his contributions to 2000AD, his work on Doctor Who Weekly, while largely overlooked, provides a fascinating look at his early development as a writer.

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Announcing John Scalzi’s Next Book: The Collapsing Empire

Tor Books is very happy to reveal The Collapsing Empire, author John Scalzi’s next book, a space opera coming to bookshelves in 2017 and available for pre-order now.

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, other stars.

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Those Who Watch

We’re pleased to present Ruthanna Emrys’ short story “Those Who Watch” from The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu, an outstanding anthology of original stories inspired by H. P. Lovecraft from authors who do not merely imitate, but reimagine, re-energize, and renew his concepts in ways relevant to today’s readers. From the depths of R’lyeh to the heights of the Mountains of Madness, some of today’s best weird fiction writers—both established award-winning authors and exciting new voices—offer fresh new fiction that explores our modern fears and nightmares.

Edited by Paula Guran, The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu collects tales of cosmic horror that traverse terrain created by Lovecraft and create new eldritch geographies to explore—available now from Running Press!

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What if Elsa was a Jedi and Met Toothless?

Perhaps you believed that yesterday’s Force Awakens/Frozen crossover was the most adorable thing you’d ever seen? Well, we see that and raise it: here is a small human, in Elsa/Rey mashup cosplay, gleefully brandishing an icy lightsaber, while riding Toothless!

Take that, internet! And by all means click through for more amazing shots of the small human as she battles her way across Wizard World Comic Con in Des Moines.

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Can Fear the Walking Dead Be Saved?

It’s time we as an audience admit that Fear The Walking Dead is not good television. The show is 42 minutes of a wasted premise, unfulfilled potential, and idiotic decisions. It is all of The Walking Dead’s worst attributes magnified. All my worries about the long-term quality of Preacher stems from how quickly TWD capsized, how long it took to finally right that ship, how much of a struggle it’s been to keep it afloat, and how eager AMC was to repeat the same mistakes with the spinoff. Yes, the second season is stronger than the first, but that was an awfully low bar to hurdle. And I’m not the only one to notice the quality issues. The show is practically hemorrhaging viewers. Now, 4.8 million sets of eyeballs is still a great number for AMC (though it pales next to The Walking Dead’s 14.2 mil), but that’s also a loss of nearly half its viewership since the season 2 premiere.

With last night’s midseason finale, we’re at a good point to stop and survey. It’s easy enough to note where FTWD has gone horribly awry, but I’d rather look at how it can improve. The show doesn’t suck (although much of the fun has been sucked out of it for me at this point) but it has a long way to go before it comes anywhere close to being Must See TV.

[“These people are not our friends. Get it through your heads.”]

Dancer’s Lament: Chapter 3

At the heart of Quon Tali lies the powerful city-state of Li Heng, which has for centuries enjoyed relative stability under the guidance of the powerful sorceress known as the Protectress. She is not someone likely to tolerate the arrival of two particular young men into her domain: one determined to prove he is the most skilled assassin of his age, the other his quarry—a Dal Hon mage who is proving annoyingly difficult to kill. The sorceress and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions, so how could two such troublemakers upset her iron-fisted rule?

And now, under a new and ambitious king, the forces of Itko Kan are marching on Li Heng from the south. His own assassins, the Nightblades, have been sent ahead into the city, and rumors abound that he has inhuman, nightmarish forces at his command. So as shadows and mistrust swirl, and monstrous beasts that people say appear from nowhere run rampage through Li Heng’s streets, it seems chaos is come—but in chaos, as a certain young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity…

Ian C. Esslemont’s all-new prequel trilogy takes readers deeper into the politics and intrigue of the Malazan Empire from its very beginnings. Dancer’s Lament, the first book in the series, is available May 31st from Tor Books. Read chapter three below, or head back to the beginning with chapter one.

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To Write Your Own Deliverance: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

When Imogen was a little girl, she told her sister Marin fairy tales. Once upon a time, she’d tell her, there was a way out—a way out of their house, out of their lives, and out of the oppressive clutches of their abusive mother—on the backs of fairies. As an adult, of course, Imogen knows that half her way out had been in the telling of the tales; and so she continues to tell them, as a writer still grappling with the terrors of her childhood. Reunited with her sister at an exclusive artists’ retreat, though, Imogen is forced to confront her past head-on. Fairy tales may be the solution yet again, but this time, it’s not Imogen alone that will shape the story, and her happy ending may be just out of grasp.

Kat Howard’s debut novel, Roses and Rot is as dark and engrossing as its title suggests, a contemporary fairy tale for artists, survivors, and anyone that has ever sought escape in a story. At Melete, mysterious and prestigious artists’ retreat, Imogen and Marin face a challenge that is familiar to many of us: creating a work of art that will prove to them that their struggles have been worth it. Despite the breathless beauty and small comforts at every corner of the sprawling, idyllic campus, Imogen struggles to live up to the expectations of Melete, feeling as though she’s watched at every moment by judging eyes. It is, as I said, a familiar scenario for the creative audience: imposter syndrome, fear, and pride war in Imogen and her cohort. The friendships they create, though, and the rekindled bond between Imogen and Marin, carry them through. Until, of course, they’re set against one another.

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How Long Can You Survive on Each Planet?

This sounds like the greatest reality show of all time! Unfortunately, “How Long Can You Survive on Each Planet” is actually a helpful reminder, via Neil deGrasse Tyson, that there’s no place like Earth. (Or at least if there is, we haven’t discovered it yet.)  Thrill as the astrophysicist explains just how quickly you’d die on each non-Earth planet in our solar system! Become slightly nervous as he keeps using the word vaporize!

[Vaporize!]

Rereading Katherine Kurtz: High Deryni, Chapters 25-27

Welcome to the final weekly reread of High Deryni!

Last time, Arilan dismantled all of Wencit’s clever scheming, and a jinxed Derry opened the Transfer Portal, allowing shadowy kidnappers to nab poor Brendan. This week, the book, and the trilogy, come to a close. A magical battle begins and a wicked plot unravels, with a fair few twists along the way.

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Series: Rereading Katherine Kurtz

Pride’s Spell Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Pride’s Spell, the third installment in Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour series, available June 21st from Tor.com Publishing!

The team at Sin du Jour—New York’s exclusive caterers-to-the-damned—find themselves up against their toughest challenge, yet when they’re lured out west to prepare a feast in the most forbidding place in America: Hollywood, where false gods rule supreme.

Meanwhile, back at home, Ritter is attacked at home by the strangest hit-squad the world has ever seen, and the team must pull out all the stops if they’re to prevent themselves from being offered up as the main course in a feast they normally provide

Starring: The Prince of Lies, Lena Tarr, Darren Vargas. With Byron Luck. Introducing: the Easter Bunny.

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 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on May 23rd. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 27th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Where Science Fiction Meets Punk Rock

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

“Boot Stamping on a Human Face Forever.” To many people, no doubt, those seven words would most instantly relate to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. But not to me: to me, they’re the title of the penultimate track of Bad Religion’s 2004 album The Empire Strikes First. Bad Religion, for those of you not in the know, are an LA-based punk band who’ve been going since 1980, i.e. for two more years than I’ve been alive (also: yes, I will persist in using plural pronouns for groups of people unified under a single name. I’m British; it’s what we do).

Let’s rewind. It’s 1995 and I’m on the 10th Ipswich Scouts summer camp, sheltering from the sun and (less effectively) from wasps in a tent pitched on Skreen’s Park in the Essex countryside. The air is hot and thick, and smells of warm canvas mixed with the faint, plasticky scent of the waterproof groundsheet. Jamie Dreher has a battery-powered stereo and two cassettes: Smash by The Offspring and Bleach by Nirvana. He gets to The Offspring’s “Self Esteem” and suddenly something in my head clicks. Up until now the bits and pieces of pop music I’ve heard has seemed vacuous and pointless. But “Self Esteem” isn’t pop. I can hear the lyrics, and the lyrics tell a story, and it’s a story that makes sense. It’s nothing I have personal experience of, because the song’s about lacking the guts to walk away from a girl who treats you awfully, and as a socially-awkward, spotty 13-year-old I don’t really have much clue about that (and that wouldn’t change for quite a while). But it is, at least theoretically, a song that has a point.

[Also, distorted guitars are cool.]

The Geek Feminist Revolution: Where Have All the Women Gone?

The Geek Feminist Revolution is a collection of essays by double Hugo Award-winning essayist and fantasy novelist Kameron Hurley—available May 31st from Tor Books!

Unapologetically outspoken, Hurley has contributed essays to The Atlantic, Locus, Tor.com, and others on the rise of women in genre, her passion for SF/F, and the diversification of publishing. The book collects dozens of Hurley’s essays on feminism, geek culture, and her experiences and insights as a genre writer, including “We Have Always Fought,” which won the 2013 Hugo for Best Related Work. The Geek Feminist Revolution will also feature several entirely new essays written specifically for this volume—including “Where Have All the Women Gone?” presented below.

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