Fiction Affliction: August Releases in Urban Fantasy

After six slow months and the proclamation of its impending death, urban fantasy fights back in August with forty-one new releases, including new series or series additions from, among others, Faith Hunter, Christina Henry, Lilith Saintcrow, M.L. Brennan, Ilona Andrews, Chloe Neill, Benedict Jacka, Elliott James, Seanan McGuire, Tom Doyle, Kelley Armstrong, Cathy Clamp, Simon R. Green, and J.C. Nelson. And with book No. 14, Kitty Saves the World, Carrie Vaughn says goodbye to the Kitty Norville series.

[Read about this month’s releases!]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 29 and 30

The Harry Potter Reread is going to have a slumber party, and you’re all invited! But only once we figure out how to download people into internet-space. So it’s gonna be a while.

This week we’re going to see off the Weasley twins and have a good time after a Quidditch game (for the first time in the long time). It’s chapters 29 and 30 of The Order of the Phoenix—Career Advice and Grawp.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

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Series: The Harry Potter Reread

The Young Future King: T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone

Like his fellow author Rudyard Kipling (coming up shortly in this reread), T.H. White was born of two worlds: Great Britain and India. White’s early home life was miserable—his father was an alcoholic reportedly prone to violence, and his parents divorced when he was a child. White was sent back to live with grandparents in England, losing his early home. As an adult, he never married or formed any lasting relationships, except with Brownie, an Irish setter. By his own admission, the dog was his family; he was devastated when she died. Some critics have speculated that he might have been gay, and had difficulty accepting that identity, but the evidence for this is ambiguous.

In any case, until the dog, like many lonely, miserable children, he ended up finding his solace in books. Among these: Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, which White used first as a subject for his university thesis, and later as a subject for a series of novellas finally collected in The Once and Future King, by far his most popular work. It can be read as an epic, or as an individual work: in this post I’m going to focus on the first novella: The Sword in the Stone.

[King Arthur as a boy and as an explorer of twentieth century political systems.]

Voice and Ecstatic Moments in Jandy Nelsen’s I’ll Give You The Sun

What makes a book memorable? If you ask ten people, you may get ten different answers. Personally, I don’t really fall in love with places or descriptions. I didn’t even fall in love with plots. I fall in love with characters—with their insights and angst, their unique way of seeing the world, all of the elements that make up a character’s Voice. When I’m enamored with characters’ Voices, I’ll follow them blindly wherever they go.

For me, no book captures Voice better than Jandy Nelsen’s I’ll Give You The Sun. This contemporary young adult novel is the story of artist twins (a brother, Noah and a sister, Jude) whose relationship degrades right around the time they lose their mother in a tragic accident. The story is told in alternating points of view, and through their individual accounts of events, we begin to put together the pieces of how their relationship unraveled. In the hands of any other writer, this story might have been mundane. The plot itself is not particularly unique, and at times, the novel was a little predictable.

[But what Nelsen does with Voice blows my mind.]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Go Go PokeRangers!

So long as the Internet exists, there will be headscratching crossover cosplay, like these amazing PokeRangers who must have entertained everyone they came across at Otakon. Click through for a bevy of amusing photos, from them goofing around to even posing for a fake movie poster. (Interesting how Magikarp is the clear leader, even over Mega Charizard X.) Forget the Power Rangers reboot, this is the movie that children of the ’90s demand.

Afternoon Roundup brings you #NewHarryPotterBooks, the most epic entry in summer TV programming, and Disney princes you may not want to be part of your world!

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A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Part 31

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 31 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 52 (“Daenerys”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[“Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.”]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 48

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on! Last week, Shallan pored over maps and practiced her Lightweaving on the way to meet with her dazzling betrothed. This week, we jump back in time to see the effects of her Middlefest interventions… and the lack thereof.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here. Click on through to join the discussion.

[“I’ve found a way to control myself. I just have to let the anger out. I can’t blame myself for that anger. Others create it when they disobey me.”]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on

Midnight in Karachi Episode 23: Rebecca Levene

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

This week’s guest on the podcast is Rebecca Levene, writer of Smiler’s Fair and The Hunter’s Kind. Here, she talks about worldbuilding without cultural appropriation, Once Upon a Time and working on the Zombies Run! app.

[Listen to Midnight in Karachi]

Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Ranking the Corpse Art of Hannibal!

From the depths of my mourning for Hannibal’s cancellation, I wanted to think about the good times, and focus on some of the show’s best corpse sculpture.

See that picture up there where Will Graham is happily fixing a boat motor, surrounded by his loving puppies? That is the last happy picture you will see in this post. This post is literally made of (fictional) dead people. So proceed with caution. Also, there will be spoilers for the ENTIRE SERIES.

[So, so many dead people.]

Ungodly Sweepstakes!

We have five galleys of Kendare Blake’s thrilling conclusion of the Goddess War series, Ungodly, coming out September 22nd. We are thrilled for the final book of this trilogy and we want to give it to you!

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.

So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

Check for the rules below!

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Announcing the Winners of the First Annual Dinosaur Awards! is proud to announce the winners of the first annual Dinosaur Awards! The proud tradition of the Dinosaur Awards began in 2015 when local malcontent Chris Lough mispronounced the title of Victor Milán’s The Dinosaur Lords. The awards were presented on whatever day this article goes up, during a short, respectful ceremony up in the production office.

Congratulations to the winners and nominees! You’ve all been dead for millions of years.

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Finally Stained Glass Artistry Reaches its Full Potential!

Who rule the stained glass equivalent of BarterTown? Why, Master Glasster of course! Nerd Approved shared this gorgeous R2-D2/Tiffany glass mashup, which is available in Master Glasster’s Etsy shop, along with a beautiful glass TARDIS, and art inspired by Avatar and Pokemon.

Morning Roundup brings you the future of viewing pleasure, an awesome British rock/Pluto connection, and Neil Gaiman’s time-tested cure for writer’s block!

[Plus, a brief history of Tilda Swinton]

Even Eviller: The Good, the Bad and the Smug by Tom Holt

Evil just isn’t what it was.

Used to be, you could slaughter a dwarf and gnaw his gnarly bones all the way home without attracting any undesirable attention. Now? Not so much. It’s a new world, you know? And it might just be that the new world needs a new breed of evil.

In The Good, the Bad and the Smug, Tom Holt—aka K. J. Parker—proposes exactly that as the premise of a satirical and sublimely self-aware fairytale that brings together the wit and the wickedness of the author’s alter ego with the whimsy and the nefarious wordplay which have made the YouSpace series such a sweet treat so far.

[Readers, meet Mordak: King of the Goblins]

Who’s There? Max Gladstone Reads Hamlet in Bryant Park!

If you’re wondering who would brave the midday heat in New York City to discuss revenge dramas on a Tuesday, the answer is Max Gladstone, author of Last First Snow! (We have to say, any kind of snow seems appealing right now.) He teamed up with the Bryant Park BookClub and Oxford University Press to lead a discussion on Shakespeare’s famous text at the Reading Room, an open air library in Midtown Manhattan.

Check below the cut for Gladstone’s thoughts on Hamlet, the reluctant avenger!

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Series: Shakespeare on

6 Crazy SF Books Featuring Dinos that are Somehow NOT Jurassic Park

If you’re like me, the best way to get ready for Jurassic World is not to binge-watching Parks and Recreation while wearing a Velociraptor mask, but instead to do some reading—while wearing a Velociraptor mask. But what are you going to do when you’ve finished re-reading Michael Crichton’s science-heavy page-turners Jurassic Park and The Lost World? Luckily there are still plenty of insane science fiction books with dinos running through them for you to devour and then blabber about about endlessly.

[Here are a few.]

Five Books About Awful, Awful People

A likeable, relatable protagonist. It’s what every writer is taught that all books, comics, movies, and TV shows must have. But if Breaking Bad and the Hannibal Lecter novels by Thomas Harris have shown us anything, it’s that we don’t have to admire or even like awful characters to want to spend time with them.

[Five novels with fascinatingly awful protagonists]

Series: Five Books About…

Everything in the Marvel Universe Really is Connected!

Forget multiple universes and Battleworld—what really unites all the members of the Marvel Universe are the fictional businesses that make up their lives, superpowered and not. Empire Flippers (via The A.V. Club) has created this impressive infographic mapping every tech company, restaurant, and newspaper across the United States that has played a role in Marvel Comics. (Does that mean no Avengers shawarma place?) Start planning your road trips accordingly…

Afternoon Roundup brings you a partnership between Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking for our own good, how time travel (sort of) led to Rogue One, and an exhaustive list of every time Lois Lane has discovered Clark Kent’s identity!

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Reading Melanie Rawn: Stronghold, Chapters 11-15

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday read of Stronghold! I yield to public pleading and bite off smaller bits here and henceforth—five chapters at a time. It’s easier on me, too, so we’re on the same page there.

So here we are in the middle of the book, and the middle of the war. The invasion continues, ditto the evacuations—and the good guys fight back.

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Series: Rereading Melanie Rawn