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:, 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! 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.”]

Midnight in Karachi Episode 53: Thomas Olde Heuvelt

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.

Hugo award winning writer Thomas Olde Heuvelt joins the podcast today to talk about the familiarity in horror, witches, adjusting translations into his own voice, and his novel HEX. The English language debut HEX is available from Tor Books—read an excerpt here on!

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Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Engaging in the Democratic Process with Infomocracy

Infomocracy is based in the late 21st century, in a future when democracy has evolved into micro-democracy and governments compete for dominance across tens of thousands of tiny jurisdictions in a global election. Any centenal of one hundred thousand citizens can vote for any government it wants, and governments knit their scattered constituents together with virtual technology and common laws.

It’s an alluring idea. Each community can pick the government it wants. No need for pitched battles between groups with completely different interests in countries that span time zones, climates, and vastly different histories. It’s a vision of customized democracy that aims to increase voter engagement and information that tries to reduce the problem of oppression by majority, if not completely remove it.

[Infomocracy is set in the future, but the problems its characters struggle with are challenges that we face today.]

Scenes We Wish Made It Into HBO’s Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones may only be made up of 70ish hours when all’s said and done, but those hours are full of surprises, tense moments, and a ton of awesome that the show writers worked hard to translate, conceive, and birth into a shadowy dominance of Sunday night television. So it may be hard to imagine the hundreds of hours that never made it to the small screen. Unless you also read the books.

This week, while the show begins to chart unknown waters, Fire and Lunch is looking back, as we choose our favorite book scenes that we wish had made it onto the show—some small moments, witty lines, and characterizations we miss. These are just a few of the scenes we wish we could see with our eyes, but we’ll just have to settle for our imaginations/greensight. Let us know your own picks in the comments.

Beware book spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire!

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Harry Potter and the Magic of Interior Design

Some people say they want to live inside their favorite books, but Meredith McCardle, author of the Annum Guard series, took this more seriously than most people. Using a borrowed projector, she hand painted the first page of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone onto her wall, with results so lovely, even Petunia Dursley would have to approve. You can see the entire painting process over at Buzzfeed!