Will the Watership Down Remake Be as Traumatizing as the Original?

On the one hand, maybe not, since members of the generation who had nightmares about bloody rabbit-on-rabbit slaughter thanks to the 1978 adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel will know what to expect. On the other hand, the BBC/Netflix collaboration will be animated in CG, which may make for some uncomfortable uncanny valley viewing. At least John Boyega and James McAvoy will be there to help make this remake (hopefully) a little less disturbing!

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Bloodrush: Baroque Murders and a Complicated Conversation about Race

You’ve survived another week! Have a Freaky Friday and relax knowing that whatever book I’m talking about was probably published a couple of decades ago and can’t hurt you anymore.

Hugh Zachary has referred to himself as “the most published, underpaid, and unknown writer in the U.S.” He’s written 50 books under the names Zach Hughes, Peter Kanto, and Pablo Zane, ranging from science fiction and horror to romance and The Beachcomber’s Handbook of Seafood Cookery. And in 1981 he wrote Bloodrush, which is one of those books that’s ostensibly a procedural mystery but that’s dripping with so much blood and gore and weirdness that it crosses the line into straight-up horror. It’s a cheap novel, printed on cheap paper, with a cover that looks like it’s been assigned by random lottery. I mean, what animal is that with its bright red fangs? A weasel? A lion? A badger? Whatever it is, I guarantee that it doesn’t appear in this book.

What does appear in this book is a lot of blunt, racially-charged language, because this book is about black people. And black supremacy. And black people going crazy because of racism. And killer cults of black nationalists. And it’s papered in wall-to-wall use of the n-word. And it’s written by a white guy. So here’s my question: is Bloodrush totally racist?

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Roll All the Critical Hits with this 120-Sided Die!

Over one hundred and fifty years ago, a French-Belgian mathematician named Eugène Catalan worked out the design for the disdyakis triacontahedron – a 120-sided die. Theoretically it was the most mathematically fair die that could exist. Now, we are pleased to report that we live in a world in which the disdyakis triacontahedron can thunder across gaming boards, thrilling all who watch with its many sides. The New Yorker profiled the creators of the D120, Robert Fathauer, Henry Segerman, and Robert Bosch, and you can read more about them, and check out the die in action, below!

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5 Reasons to Watch Penny Dreadful

Showtime’s Brit-horror series Penny Dreadful returns on May 1st to the joy of faithful viewers not-nearly-everywhere. For such a smart and well-acted show, the horror soap opera featuring fictional heavy-hitters Victor Frankenstein, his monster, Dorian Gray, and the Wolfman doesn’t get quite the expected amount of buzz it deserves. It probably doesn’t help that the show airs the same night as HBO’s powerhouse Game of Thrones. Watch Thrones live if you hate getting spoiled on Twitter, but save some room on your DVR for a show that’s bloodier, spookier, and steeped in much more literal—and literary—sexual politics.

Here’s a taste of what you’re missing. (With a few unavoidable spoilers ahead.)

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TV Rights to The Wheel of Time Optioned by New Studio, With Jordan Estate’s Approval

Harriet McDougal, wife of the late Robert Jordan, dropped some exciting news late Thursday: the TV rights to Jordan’s Wheel of Time fantasy epic have been acquired by a major studio.

In the wake of the success of Game of Thrones, and considering the staggering amount of fantasy and sci-fi book properties that have been optioned for TV and film, the absence of The Wheel of Time has been eyebrow-raising. (Or in the parlance of the series itself, perhaps the better term is “sniff producing”?) Fans of the series were given a glimpse into the legal tangle preventing WOT’s emergence onto the small screen on February 9, 2015, when a sudden pilot episode dubbed “Winter Dragon” aired in the early A.M. hours on the FXX Network. McDougal released a statement clarifying that the pilot was made without her knowledge, prompting Red Eagle Entertainment, the production company behind the pilot, to issue a lawsuit. (Which they later withdrew.) A more detailed account of the behind-the-scenes machinations can be found at io9, but regardless of the details, overall it seemed as if fans would have to wait a very long time to see Jordan’s work on screen in a large-scale production.

Now, the wait is seemingly over.

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The Harry Potter Reread: The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 29 and 30

The Harry Potter Reread wishes that all work areas were equipped with blankets and sofas and things. The Harry Potter Reread would like to do all of its work from a pillow fort blanket hut.

This week we’re going to hug Neville and break into school. It’s chapters 29 and 30 of The Deathly Hallows—The Lost Diadem and The Sacking of Severus Snape.

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

Is This Our First Look at a New Cinematic Team of X-Men?

io9, Comic Book Resources, and other online nerd news sources are picking up on a new image from X-Men: Apocalypse that was recently posted to Reddit Comic Books. The image appears to show a new team of X-Men emerging from the chaos of the forthcoming movie, a team that looks more like their comic book counterparts than ever before.

This is potentially spoilery, so if you want to check out the line-up, take a peek below the cut.

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Potent, Flexible Language: The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria

The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria comes out of nowhere, blindsides you with its witty play on language, and steers you into a realm of delightful science fiction which blurs present and future with fingers steady on the pulse of modern culture as it is now. Carlos Hernandez, in this one collection, has managed to convince me he belongs in my heart as a favorite. He has shown me how to boldly contort structure in short fiction without taking any hostages and in the instances he succeeds, the payoff is significant and rewarding, leaving the reader a beast contented after a feast.

Hernandez performs the ultimate vanishing act with his endings, which force you to reexamine both the story you just read and your own expectations, but what really stands out is his writing: a potent, flexible force, which can easily strike an emotional chord, as we read in “Homeostasis”—

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Dungeons and Dragons was “a Revolution” for Junot Diaz

It’s baffling to us now, but in the early 1980s many adult minds genuinely considered Dungeons and Dragons to be “satanic”. The game, with its dice and little figurines and complex rules (so basically Monopoly with critters?) was seen as an introduction to demonology, and was blamed for teen suicides and murders.

The New York Times recently took a look at this moment of panic, and confirmed that the only real result of a childhood spent playing D&D was: a life spent in creative industries. Authors Junot Diaz and Cory Doctorow talked to the paper about how Dungeons & Dragons set the course of their lives.

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When Your Dream Project Is A Financial Failure: Disney’s Treasure Planet

Let’s skip back a moment, to 1985:

Writer/directors Ron Clements and John Musker: Pirates! In! Space!

Chairman of Walt Disney Pictures Jeffrey Katzenberg: No.

Ron Clements and John Musker: But! Pirates! In! Space!

Jeffrey Katzenberg: What about this “Great Mouse” thing you’ve been talking about? That sounded cute. And topical!

Or, to another moment, in 1987:

Ron Clements and John Musker: Pirates! In! Space!

Jeffrey Katzenberg: Or mermaids! In water!

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The Tale of Shikanoko Sweepstakes!

The first book of Lian Hearn’s Tale of Shikanoko, Emperor of the Eight Islands, is out this week from Farrar, Straus & Giroux—and we want to send you a copy of it and an advance copy of book two, Autumn Princess, Dragon Child, which comes out June 7th!

In the opening pages of the action-packed Book One of Lian Hearn’s epic Tale of Shikanoko series–all of which will be published in 2016–a future lord is dispossessed of his birthright by a scheming uncle, a mountain sorcerer imbues a mask with the spirit of a great stag for a lost young man, a stubborn father forces his son to give up his wife to his older brother, and a powerful priest meddles in the succession to the Lotus Throne, the child who is the rightful heir to the emperor barely escaping the capital in the arms of his sister. And that is just the beginning.

As destiny weaves its rich tapestry, a compelling drama plays out against a background of wild forests, elegant castles, hidden temples, and savage battlefields. This is the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn’s imagination, where animal spirits clash with warriors and children navigate a landscape as serene as it is deadly.

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 April 28th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 2nd. 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.

Paolo Bacigalupi Uses Fiction and Law to Debate Whether Robots Are Capable of Murder

It sounds like a joke: An SFF/speculative fiction author and a robotics law expert come together to talk about a killer sex robot. But it’s actually part of Future Tense, a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University to explore how emerging technologies are changing our lives. While past Future Tense installments have included screenings of The Terminator with robotic experts and panels on genetic engineering or nuclear energy and environmentalism, this week takes a different approach: The Water Knife author Paolo Bacigalupi has written “Mika Model,” a short story about a sex robot who murders her owner (or does she?); and Ryan Calo, a law professor with a specialization in robotics, has penned a response.

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The Thrill of Mountain Climbing, or, Why Am I Doing This Again?

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!

I write scary books, so I like my scares and frights. But sometimes, I have to admit, I overdo it a little. If you ever read a scary book or watched a horror movie and you’re so tangled up in it that it grabs you by the throat, you probably recognize the moment when you’re like, Why am I doing this again? What was I actually thinking?

Imagine you’re in Switzerland. You’re me, so you’ve just climbed this incredibly spectacular-looking peak called Zinalrothorn, which towers like a ruined castle thousands and thousands of feet over its surrounding glaciers. This is one of those that has no easy way down. The escape route is the knife-edged north ridge, a harrowingly steep descent over cruxes called the Sphinx, the Razor and Le Bourrique. These names send chills down your spine.

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Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 78

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Shallan and Navani began their scholarly collaboration, while Kaladin began to take small steps back toward Honor. This week, Shallan gives Dalinar some truth and some defiance, and Parshendi are encountered.

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!

[“Humans can see the world as it is not. It is why your lies can be so strong. You are able to not admit that they are lies.”]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com