Crafting a Shardblade for Brandon Sanderson

During Brandon Sanderson’s book tour for Words of Radiance, super-fan Val Alston traveled from Mexico to attend a signing event at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona in order to meet the author and present him with this amazing homemade Shardblade!

We reached out to Val to get the full scoop on the design and creation of the Shardblade, and he was nice enough to share his story. Check out Val’s process below, including some in-progress photos!

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Deadhouse Landing

Returning readers to the turbulent early history of what would become the Malazan Empire, Deadhouse Landing is the second chapter in Ian C. Esslemont’s thrilling new epic fantasy sequence—available November 14th from Tor Books.

After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To do so they join forces with a small band of Napans who have fled a civil war on their own home island. The plan, however, soon goes awry as Kellanved develops a strange and dangerous fascination for a mysterious ancient structure found on the island.

Dancer faces a hard choice: should he give up on his partnership? Especially when the fellow’s obsession with shadows and ancient artefacts brings the both of them alarmingly close to death and destruction. After all, who in his right mind would actually wish to enter the Deadhouse?

[Read an Excerpt]

The Best and Worst of the ’90s Teen Horror Movie Craze

Hot take: Final Destination is a better film than just about any 21st century horror movie to date. Argue all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that late-1990s and early-2000s era horror movies are awesome. I’ll take Disturbing Behavior over The Human Centipede any day.

The late-1990s and early-2000s were a transitional period in horror movies and for a brief, shining moment, B-horror movies reigned. During this period the villain shifts from a deranged outsider (the height of popularity in the 1970s and 1980s) to one of the cast on the poster secretly hellbent on revenge. Even thrillers got in on the action, with Dead Man’s Curve, Gossip, and The Skulls. Then as J-horror influenced ghost stories rose in popularity and with torture porn on the horizon, the teen slasher fell by the wayside. The post-9/11 horror movie world wasn’t interested in watching a bunch of pretty people get picked off by dorks leaving disgruntled valentines. There was a last gasp in the mid-aughts as studios re-upped their obsession with 3D and blended gore gimmicks with teen slashers, but they never reached the same level of popularity.

[Come take a walk down memory lane…]

Chronicling Japanese Folklore: The Ghosts and Monsters of Shigeru Mizuki

Have you ever been walking along and felt the creepy, unsettling feeling that something was watching you? You may have met Betobeto-san, an invisible yōkai, or folklore creature, who follows along behind people on paths and roads, especially at night. To get rid of the creepy feeling, simply step aside and say, “Betobeto-san, please, go on ahead,” and he will politely go on his way.

What we know of Betobeto-san and hundreds of other fantastic creatures of Japan’s folklore tradition, we know largely thanks to the anthropological efforts of historian, biographer and folklorist, Shigeru Mizuki, one of the pillars of Japan’s post-WWII manga boom. A magnificent storyteller, Mizuki recorded, for the first time, hundreds of tales of ghosts and demons from Japan’s endangered rural folklore tradition, and with them one very special tale: his own experience of growing up in Japan in the 1920s through 1940s, when parades of water sprites and sparkling fox spirits gave way to parades of tanks and warships.

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Exclusive Fan Art from the New Collector’s Edition of V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic

Welcome to an inside look at the collector’s edition of V. E. Schwab’s runaway success, A Darker Shade of Magic—the first book in the bestselling Shades of Magic series.

While brainstorming ideas about what to feature in the A Darker Shade of Magic Collector’s Edition, we thought about all those readers, dreaming of this world, and these characters, and how they made it their own, too. We kept coming back to one desire: shining a light on the readers who have loved the series as much as we have, and who have passed the magic along as the books grew.

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Family Trauma and Slow Healing: The Girl Without Hands

Since it’s October, the month of Hallowe’en, frights, ghouls and horror, I thought it might be fitting to take a look at one of the most horrific of fairy tales, “Girl Without Hands,” which features such fun stuff as dismemberment, the Devil, betrayal, legal separations, and mutilated deer. No pumpkins, admittedly—at least in the best known versions—but even a fairy tale drenched in horror can’t have everything.

I mention the pumpkins not just because of Hallowe’en, but also because “Girl Without Hands” is often associated with “Donkey Skin,” a tale written by Charles Perrault (and others), which in turn is often connected to Cinderella and her pumpkins, yet another tale written by Charles Perrault (and others), which in turn is often connected back to “Girl Without Hands,” thanks to the supernatural assistance found in both. But while some versions of Cinderella, particularly the one told by the ever cheerfully gory Giambattista Basile and the one recorded by the Grimm brothers in Household Tales (1812) have a bit of gore, none quite come close to the gore and brutality of “Girl Without Hands.”

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The City of Brass

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing—are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive.

But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. For Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.

The City of Brass, the debut novel from S. A. Chakraborty, is available November 14th from Harper Voyager. Read an excerpt below, and continue with a free download of chapters 1-3 here.

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“Bonjour, Je Veux Mon Livre”: Hocus Pocus

Happy pre-Halloween, Tor.com! In celebration of the encroaching Pumpkin Spice Day, please accept this humble offering of one of the Butler Sisters’ all-time favorite holiday movies: 1993’s Hocus Pocus! Whoo!

Previous entries can be found here. Please note that as with all films covered on the Nostalgia Rewatch, this post will be rife with spoilers for the film.

And now, the post!

[It’s the chocolate covered finger of a man named Clark!]

Series: Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia

Edgedancer Reread: Chapters 15 and 16

Well, hello there, Edgedancers! It’s time for another run at the reread, so we can polish it off before Oathbringer destroys all other books.

Things are getting heady up in here, what with internet Indicium info searches, crazy assassins, flying minions, and friendly swords. But no pancakes this week. Also, no Lyn, because she is up to her eyeballs in sewing up gorgeous costumery for an Event this weekend. We’ll miss her, but we’ll soldier on anyway.

[“Will you fight them, little Radiant?”]

Series: Edgedancer Reread

Star Trek, Harry Mudd, and the Power of Personal Narrative

Harry Mudd is one of Trek’s most infamous villains. And I say villain because, while he may be amusing in the extreme, he is a truly odious person. His two appearances appearances on Star Trek: The Original Series (and a third on the animated series) prove him to be a narcissist of the highest order, who cares only for his personal survival and comfort. He is liar, a coward, and a rampant misogynist. And in his premiere appearance on Star Trek: Discovery, he does nothing to dispel any reservations one might have about his character—but he does tell a very interesting story to Captain Lorca….

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Netflix Reveals New The Punisher Trailer and Premiere Date

“You have nothing but a war inside you.” The latest trailer for Marvel and Netflix’s The Punisher is full of people saying gems like this to Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), including “Now the only person you’re punishing is yourself.” It may also be the final trailer, as Netflix has finally announced when the series will premiere—in just under a month from now.

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The Unappreciated Genius of John Carpenter

John Carpenter is one of the greatest American filmmakers. Ever. Period. The end.

There—I’ll just come out swinging. See, I toyed with several different ways of saying what I mean to say. Initially, I started this piece by talking about the names commonly associated with American filmmaking auteurs: Scorsese, Kubrick, and Paul Thomas Anderson to name a few. The point I was trying to make was how, when the idea of great American filmmakers is discussed, John Carpenter is generally left out of the conversation—and it’s a total injustice.

So, let’s take a spin down retrospective lane and look at the movies that make Carpenter one of the greats. Because I’ll tell you what: From 1976 until 1986, Carpenter crafted a streak of films that are arguably as good as any other ten-year period from even the most celebrated and acclaimed directors.

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Pastoral Apocalypse: Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow

When the 1956 Hugo nominees were rediscovered, I realised I’d never read Leigh Brackett’s The Long Tomorrow. I’d read other Brackett and not been very impressed, and never picked this one up. But since it was a Hugo nominee, and since I trust the Hugo nominators to pick the best five books of the year, most of the time, and since it was the first fiction nominee by a woman, and easily and inexpensively available as an e-book, I grabbed it. And as soon as I started reading, it grabbed me. It’s great. I read it in one sitting this afternoon. I couldn’t put it down and it has given me plenty to think about. For a fifty-two-year-old book, what more can you ask? I still think the voters were right to give the award to Double Star, but I might have voted this ahead of The End of Eternity.

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“Ringwraith” Remains Best Halloween Costume

As we hurtle toward Halloween, or, as we like to call it, THE GREATEST DAY OF THE YEAR, we were reminded of what may be the greatest Halloween costume in recent memory. All you need is a Nazgûl outfit, a black horse, and an ability to ask after the whereabout of “Baggins” and the “Shire” in a creepy voice. The original costume was created by thespooklock (who has since deleted their Tumblr presence) and as you can see, it’s terrifying. Especially when viewed through that fabulous German Expressionist angle.

Click through for more Nazgûlery!

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