A Russian émigré poet living in Paris is visited by a mysterious bear with an agenda…
Twelve Books About Mermaids, Sirens, and Sea Gods
The sea is wild and untamed, and she gives life to numerous beings who live in her embrace and occasionally step out of it. These creatures are sometimes sweet, like Disney’s Ariel, but more often than not, they’re terrifying, unfathomable entities with societies and cultures that are very different from our own. However, they can be identical to us in other ways as they navigate love, betrayal, grief, belonging, and trauma.
From mermaids and sirens to sea gods, demi-gods, and monsters of the deep, dive in below (get it?) and check out my picks for the 12 best books about fascinating sea creatures.
Terry Pratchett Book Club: Night Watch, Part IV
Someone get this man an egg with toast cut into soldiers. And one for his newborn son.
Series: Terry Pratchett Book Club
An Even More Menacing Future Approaches in The Witcher’s Third Season
“Everything that’s happening,” says Yenefer (Anya Chalotra), “it’s all connected. And she’s at the center of it.”
The “she” in question is Princess Ciri (Freya Allen), whose super-special powers mean everyone wants to get their hands on her. A lot happened in the second season of The Witcher, and this trailer—packed with slow-motion magic and portentous dialogue—definitely suggests the show’s third season isn’t slowing down at all.
More Powers, More Problems: The Logistical Challenges of Superheroes
Decades of playing tabletop superhero role-playing games has often drawn my attention to certain mundane challenges faced by the superheroes and supervillains. In fiction, the spotlight can be kept focused on that which furthers the plot. In a roleplaying game, one has to at least consider how one might handle certain issues, should the GM decide to call attention to them.
A Marvel-setting-specific issue has to do with social prejudice as applied to the diversely empowered. Specifically, there are many different reasons someone might possess superpowers. One group in particular, the mutants, are often subject to vicious bigotry. There does not appear to be a well-defined tell to distinguish superpowered mutant from superpowered non-mutant. Nevertheless, Marvel characters, super and otherwise, appear to be able to make the distinction easily, with few mistakes.
What the heck is going on here? Do all Marvel humans have an innate mutant-detecting ability?
Want To See the First Five Minutes of Marvel’s Secret Invasion? Here’s the Super-Secret Way To Do So
The next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Secret Invasion, is set to premiere on Disney+ in two weeks. The limited series is centered on Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who realizes the shapeshifting Skrulls are waging a clandestine attack against Earth. The trailer paints the show as a thriller-esque endeavor, and—thanks to something cooked up by Marvel Studios’ marketing team—we now can watch the first five minutes of the series if we do some sleuthing of our own.
All the New Horror and Genre-Bending Books Arriving in June!
Head below for the full list of horror and genre-bending titles heading your way in June!
The Venture Bros. Finally Return in Trailer for Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart
Break out your speed suits—The Ventures Bros. is back, baby! The animated show was sadly canceled in 2020 after seven seasons, reneging on the announcement that an eighth and final season was in the works. The end of the show made Season Seven’s final words—“The Venture Bros. will return”—seem like a cruel mockery. That mockery has transformed into joy, however, with the news that The Venture Bros. will, in fact, be coming back in a feature-length project. That feature is called The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart, and it’s set to come out this July. To celebrate the announcement of the release date, Adult Swim put out a trailer for our enjoyment.
Read an Excerpt From Cassandra in Reverse
If you had the power to change the past… where would you start?
We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from Cassandra in Reverse, a unique, neurodiverse take on time travel by Holly Smale—available now from MIRA Books.
The Boogeyman Provides Genuine Horror, But Doesn’t Fully Embrace Its Darkness
The Boogeyman isn’t the most successful Stephen King adaptation out there, but it’s creepy, well-acted, and fun in a sick kind of way. It has one of the most disturbing openings I’ve seen, which I’ll get into below the cut. The film was initially going to go straight to Hulu, but test audiences responded so well (and apparently, Stephen King himself responded so well) that the producers pushed for a theatrical release.
I think this was good call, as the atmosphere and sound design worked really really well in the theater, especially with a few groups of teens shrieking and giggling enthusiastically as the horror unfolded. Nothing makes a horror movie sing like an audience that’s willing to commit.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: May 2023
May was a month when I was at home, with lots of pain and not doing much except reading a lot of the time. Fortunately there were lots of good books waiting to be read, so this was one of those months when I read a whole bunch of books, 35 in all, which is a lot even for me. Some of them I have lots to say about, so this post may be a little long.
Growing Up With Alice’s Wonderland and Sarah’s Labyrinth
Between the bullying I faced at school and a slew of family problems at home, my teenaged self found an escape in portal fantasies. At 16, I was shy, precocious, and full of fear—I’d never had a boyfriend, but I was deeply disturbed by the male attention I received on the early social media sites. Stories of girls disappearing down rabbit holes or being whisked into a fantastical underworld—populated by strange creatures and even stranger men—toppling law and order, and then triumphantly returning to real life, became favorite templates onto which I could project my fantasies and trauma.
Do You Ever Stop and Think About Paragraphs?
The first sentence of Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial is more than 200 words long. Two hundred and seventeen, if my hasty count is correct. I’ve had writing assignments meant to cover entire movies or concerts that were shorter than that. And there is more to that single paragraph—in the edition translated by Ursula K. Le Guin—before the writer moves on to the next thought, the next indent.
I think about this paragraph, with its one epic sentence, a lot. And I’ve been thinking about it more since an online event a few months ago during which the interviewer asked Kelly Link if there were any questions she wished people would ask her. Link said, after thinking for a moment, that she would like to talk about paragraphs. That she had questions about paragraphs.
And all of a sudden, so did I.
Emma Stone Charts Her Course to Freedom in the Trailer for Poor Things
Anyone who has seen a Yorgos Lanthimos movie knows that the trailers are not going to tell you everything—or much of anything, necessarily. On the surface, Poor Things is the story of a woman Frankensteined into life, who seems to enjoy living and wishes to make the most of it.
There is almost definitely more to it.
5 Vibrantly Queer Thai TV Shows
Welcome back for the second installment of Queering SFF’s Big Gay Pride Month Recommendation List(s), for getting our vibes right via arts and entertainment. Last week I gathered four weird and sexy books for summer reading, and this week we’re talking television—specifically, because it’s been giving me life over the last eighteen months, the vibrant LGBTQ+ media scene coming out of Thailand.
If you’re newly dipping your toes into transnational queer media, consider this a starter package. Whatever flavor you’re searching for—whether campy, horny, serious, compassionate, and/or funny as hell—there’s something ready to satisfy. While there may be a learning curve with story structure, genre tropes, or language… isn’t that part of the fun? To fondly borrow the words of Parasite director Bong Joon-ho, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
Watching these series, then getting familiar with their actors and directors, has revitalized my own belief in and excitement about queer visual media. As I said after watching Kinnporsche: La Forte, “Wait, holy shit, we’re allowed to just do that?”
Series: Queering SFF
Tor Books Announces an English Translation of Sung-il Kim’s Blood of the Old Kings
Tor Books has acquired the World English rights for Sung-il Kim’s fantasy trilogy, beginning with Blood of the Old Kings, from the Greenbook Literary Agency. Blood of the Old Kings will be translated by Anton Hur and published in Fall 2024.