Steeped in Myth: Bone Swans by C. S. E. Cooney

Bone Swans by C. S. E. Cooney is the most recent publication from Mythic Delirium Books—run by Mike and Anita Allen, of the similarly named Mythic Delirium magazine—and joins a small slate of other works under their purview, such as the well-received Clockwork Phoenix anthologies. This original collection contains five stories, one of which is published here for the first time (“The Bone Swans of Amandale,” from which the book takes its title). Plus, it has an introduction by none other than Gene Wolfe.

Though in the past I’d say I’ve been most familiar with Cooney’s poetry, we also published a story of hers at Strange Horizons while I was editor that I (obviously) quite liked. So, I was pleased to see a collection of other pieces—none of which I’d had the chance to read before, which is actually fairly rare for me when picking up a single-author short story volume. It’s also interesting to see a book of mostly longer stories; as I said, there are only five here to fill the whole thing, two of which were initially published at Giganotosaurus and one as a chapbook.

[A review.]

Sanctum Sanctorum: Under Ground by S. L. Grey

In this day and age, grave danger is everywhere. Quite aside from the exponential toll of terrorism, there’s environmental catastrophe to consider, and so many potential vectors of deadly infection that just counting them could kill you—never mind the nukes pointed at every major population centre on the planet.

That the world will end—and sooner rather than later, some say—is as good as a given. Something’s got to give, and when it does, you and your loved ones will want somewhere safe to stay. Somewhere completely sealed against sickness; somewhere with such state-of-the-art security that not even a mouse could get into your house; somewhere so darned deep underground that surviving the bombs that are sure to start dropping is guaranteed to be a breeze.

[The Sanctum is that somewhere.]


Ash, it’s been far too long. Starz has released the first image from Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Bruce Campbell is still a stock boy, 20-odd years on, and looks appropriately bloody. We’ve never been happier to see a chainsaw in our lives.

Afternoon Roundup brings you the first round of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child theories, a discouraging timeline for more diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the best case of mistaken slash fanfic.

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Terminator: Genisys Changes History Yet Doesn’t Add Much New to the Franchise

Terminator: Genisys might as well be called Terminator: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey. Partly because of the brief-but-important presence of Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith, but mostly because the franchise is rebooting itself with the ol’ “let’s create an alternate timeline” gambit. I’m a sucker for time travel stories that draw on and then recreate the past, so the premise seems interesting enough: In 2029, at the height of the War Against the Machines, John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his loyal lieutenant Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to save his scared little mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from the scary Terminators. Except that when buck-naked Kyle shows up in the past, badass Sarah and an older Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger, embracing his age) already know about the machines and pick Kyle up on their way to stop Judgment Day.

Some spoilers for Terminator: Genisys.

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Rereading Melanie Rawn: Sunrunner’s Fire, Chapters 29 and 30

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Sunrunner’s Fire! The trilogy comes to an end at last, and we get a strong and indeed devastating lead-in to the next trilogy.

Chapter 29—Rivenrock Canyon: 35 Spring

So This Happens: Pol reacts to Ruval’s monster, and notices Ruval’s surprise when a gust of Air redirects the poisonous goo. Someone else is in the mix. Pol deduces that it’s Mireva, and she’s free. Some of the slime strikes his face. He scrapes it off, with a pause to remember how honorable he is: he can’t just throw his knife at Ruval. It’s against the rules.

[This train of thought goes on for a bit.]

Series: Rereading Melanie Rawn

The Wheel of Time Companion: “Serafelle Tanisloe”

The story of The Wheel of Time spans fifteen books, but the fantasy world which that story resides within is more complex and detailed than even those books could relate. Readers will be privy to those details on November 3, when the The Wheel of Time Companion encyclopedia arrives in stores, but you can get a sneak peek now.

Today we’re revealing the entry for Aes Sedai Serafelle Tanisloe. Although the character played only a bit part in The Great Hunt, Serafelle nonetheless had a backstory informing her actions; one that didn’t make it into the books. Serafelle’s entry also provides a way for readers to test the power chart recently revealed in the “Strength in the One Power” entry!

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The Edge of Dawn Sweepstakes!

What do you do when the Earth is under assault from monstrous, otherworldly creatures and you’re the only person capable of destroying them? That’s the question that Richard Oort is trying to answer along with the help of his unlikely new friend, a nine-year-old Navajo girl named Mosi. Melinda Snodgrass’s The Edge of Dawn takes Richard and Mosi all the way from the American southwest to a secret society in Turkey as they try to find a way to save their world. We’ve got ten galley copies that we’re excited to share with you before the novel’s August 4th release from Tor Books!

Check for the rules below!

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Shadows of Self: Chapter Two

With The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America. The trilogy’s heroes are now figures of myth and legend, even objects of religious veneration. They are succeeded by wonderful new characters, chief among them Waxillium Ladrian, known as Wax, hereditary Lord of House Ladrian but also, until recently, a lawman in the ungoverned frontier region known as the Roughs. There he worked with his eccentric but effective buddy, Wayne. They are “twinborn,” meaning they are able to use both Allomantic and Feruchemical magic.

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts. This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self is available October 6th in the US from Tor Books, and October 9th in the UK from Gollancz. Read chapter two below, or head back to the beginning with our excerpt of the prologue!

[Chapter Two]

We’re Not Sure We Want to Be Part of Her World…

Buzzfeed poses a fascinating question: we know Ariel grew up in the temperate Atlantic climate of Atlantica, but what if she had grown up in a more extreme aquatic kingdom? Taking into account that merpeople are probably fictional, we can still apply basic principles of biology to them, so aquatic evolutionary expert Joseph Shaw was able to make some great educated guesses about Coral Reef Ariel, Arctic Ariel, and (our personal favorite) Deep Sea Ariel. As Monique Steele‘s imagining shows us, she’s probably “grown long appendages to provide an enhanced sense of touch” in the utter absence of light, and she possibly developed bioluminescence “to attract potential mates or lure unsuspecting meals!” We got the spirit. You got to hear it. Under the sea.

Morning Roundup brings you a fascinating new lens to use when watching Back to the Future, looks back at 15 years of important television, and discovers the greatest Jurassic Park sequel yet!

[Plus, Cage of Thrones.]

Sunset Song: The Hunter’s Kind by Rebecca Levene

Between City of Stairs, The Goblin Emperor, Words of Radiance, the latest Daniel Abraham, and the debut of Brian Staveley, 2014 saw the release of a feast of remarkable fantasies—and whilst I find that playing favourites is a fool’s game usually, last year, there was one I loved above all others. The only complaint I found myself able to make about Smiler’s Fair was that there wasn’t more of it, but with second volume of The Hollow Gods upon us, there is now—and how!

At the heart of Rebecca Levene’s first fantasy was the titular travelling carnival: a cultural crossroads whose various visitors were invited, for a price, to indulge in their unsightly vices. There, they gambled and they drank; there, they fought and they fucked. For centuries, Smiler’s Fair was a welcome outlet for wicked impulses, as well as those desires disdained by the lords of the Lands of the Sun and Moon, in a place apart from the populace.

That was before it burned; before it was ravaged by a magical fire that left thousands dead and many more homeless. But it’s “best not to cry about what’s past. It’s only what’s coming that matters.” And what’s that, you ask?

[In a word: war.]

The Annihilation Score

Dominique O’Brien—her friends call her Mo—lives a curious double life with her husband, Bob Howard. To the average civilian, they’re boring middle-aged civil servants. But within the labyrinthian secret circles of Her Majesty’s government, they’re operatives working for the nation’s occult security service known as the Laundry, charged with defending Britain against dark supernatural forces threatening humanity.

Mo’s latest assignment is assisting the police in containing an unusual outbreak: ordinary citizens suddenly imbued with extraordinary abilities of the super-powered kind. Unfortunately these people prefer playing super-pranks instead of super-heroics. The Mayor of London being levitated by a dumpy man in Trafalgar Square would normally be a source of shared amusement for Mo and Bob, but they’re currently separated because something’s come between them—something evil.

An antique violin, an Erich Zann original, made of human white bone, was designed to produce music capable of slaughtering demons. Mo is the custodian of this unholy instrument. It invades her dreams and yearns for the blood of her colleagues—and her husband. And despite Mo’s proficiency as a world class violinist, it cannot be controlled…

From Hugo Award-winning author Charles Stross comes The Annihilation Score, the next case in The Laundry Files—available July 7th from Penguin Books.

[Read an excerpt]

Meet the Rogues Gallery Inside Your Head

Dan Hipp has done it again! We already loved how Inside Out personified our emotions, but there’s also something really fun about seeing familiar characters inserted into those roles. Here—that is, inside Batman’s tortured mind—you have Harley Quinn as Joy (because of course), Scarecrow as Fear, Poison Ivy as Disgust, Two-Face as Anger, and Mr. Freeze as Sadness. We would watch this rogues gallery sift through Bruce Wayne’s memories for ages.

Afternoon Roundup helps you take the most advantage of Leap Second 2015, tries not to cry hearing Adam Nimoy talk about For the Love of Spock, and then loses it over the most heartbreaking sentences in fantasy.

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The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 6

Hey! The Wheel of Time Reread Redux is walking here, we’re walking here! Today’s Redux post will cover Chapter 8 of The Great Hunt, originally reread in this post.

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 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!

[“Good morning. I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, but I’m afraid my walk has become rather sillier recently, and so it takes me rather longer to get to work.”]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

Squamous Parenthood: “The Curse of Yig”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at “The Curse of Yig,” a collaboration between Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop written in 1928, and first published in the November 1929 issue of Weird Tales. You can read it here.

Spoilers ahead!

[“The crude rafters shook with the frenzy of their simultaneous shriek.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

You Had Me at “Gladiatorial Princesses”

I meant this post to have more than a single book in it. But it’s been a busy week, I’m behindhand in everything, and Rhonda Mason’s The Empress Game is a perfect example of an incredibly flawed book that nonetheless provides (or provides me, at least) a surprisingly satisfying reading experience.

I banged on a bit, last column, about being annoyed by the science fiction of nostalgia on display in Jane Lindskold’s Artemis Invaded and Margaret Fortune’s Nova. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa: it turns out I’m not actually opposed to science fiction that harks back to the futures of yesteryear if it does other things that make me happy. Because Rhonda Mason’s science fiction debut—first in a projected trilogy—is unashamedly old-fashioned pulp space opera.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

The Dragonlance Reread: Dragons of Autumn Twilight Part 2, Chapters 3 and 4

Welcome back to the Dragonlance Reread! This week we continue along our journey, hoping desperately for more dragons, maybe even an actual lance, but perhaps settling for an eventful escape from cages.

As always, we’re going to keep the reread post spoiler-free, but the comments are open to any and all discussion, so proceed with caution!

[Here we are, on the road again.]

Series: Dragonlance Reread

The End of All Things Sweepstakes!

The four serial ebook installments of John Scalzi’s The End of All Things are available now, and you can check out excerpts and reviews for each installment here. We also have a chance for you to get your hands on the print edition of The End of All Things before it arrives from Tor Books on August 11th!

Humans expanded into space…only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement…for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.

Now the Colonial Union is living on borrowed time—a couple of decades at most, before the ranks of the Colonial Defense Forces are depleted and the struggling human colonies are vulnerable to the alien species who have been waiting for the first sign of weakness, to drive humanity to ruin. And there’s another problem: A group, lurking in the darkness of space, playing human and alien against each other—and against their own kind—for their own unknown reasons.

In this collapsing universe, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the Colonial Union diplomats he works with race against the clock to discover who is behind attacks on the Union and on alien races, to seek peace with a suspicious, angry Earth, and keep humanity’s union intact…or else risk oblivion, and extinction-and the end of all things.

Check for the rules below!

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