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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Gardens at the End of the World: John Langan’s “The Shallows”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at John Langan’s “The Shallows,” first published in 2010 in Cthulhu’s Reign. Spoilers ahead.

[“The vast rectangle that occupied the space where his neighbor’s green-sided house had stood…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Tor Mini Books Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

Tor Books has just released a handful of small-format paper-over-board hardcovers selected from their distant and recent backlist, plus a new-to-book-form story collection by Charlie Jane Anders and the first standalone edition of Brandon Sanderson’s Edgedancer—and we want to send you a set of all six books!

Before the success of her debut SF-and-fantasy novel All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders was a rising star in SF and fantasy short fiction. Six Months, Three Days, Five Others collects—for the first time in print—six of her quirky, wry, engaging best.

This miniature hardcover of the Orson Scott Card classic and worldwide bestselling novel Ender’s Game makes an excellent gift for anyone’s science fiction library.

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan has captivated millions of readers around the globe with its scope, originality, and compelling characters. From the Two Rivers is a special edition that contains Part 1 of The Eye of the World.

There is a secret history of the world—a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, a special gift edition of Edgedancer, a short novel of the Stormlight Archive (previously published in Arcanum Unbounded).

Perfect for an entry-level sci-fi reader and the ideal addition to a veteran fan’s collection, John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War takes audiences on a heart-stopping adventure into the far corners of the universe.

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 October 18th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 22nd. 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.

Barbary Station

Adda and Iridian are newly minted engineers, but aren’t able to find any work in a solar system ruined by economic collapse after an interplanetary war. Desperate for employment, they hijack a colony ship and plan to join a famed pirate crew living in luxury at Barbary Station, an abandoned shipbreaking station in deep space.

But when they arrive there, nothing is as expected. The pirates aren’t living in luxury—they’re hiding in a makeshift base welded onto the station’s exterior hull. The artificial intelligence controlling the station’s security system has gone mad, trying to kill all station residents and shooting down any ship that attempts to leave—so there’s no way out.

Adda and Iridian have one chance to earn a place on the pirate crew: destroy the artificial intelligence. The last engineer who went up against the AI met an untimely end, and the pirates are taking bets on how the newcomers will die. But Adda and Iridian plan to beat the odds. There’s a glorious future in piracy… if only they can survive long enough.

Barbary Station, the debut novel from R.E. Stearns, is available October 31st from Saga Press.

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Come Listen To Infomocracy‘s Musical Genre of The Future, Gronkytonk!

What does the term “gronkytonk” make you think of? Perhaps rowdy country western music, say, the Blues Brothers trying their best to fit in at Bob’s Country Bunker? You’re only slightly off—gronkytonk is the preferred music in Malka Older’s Infomocracy, and while Older was inspired by a video of Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski expressing himself through the medium of dance during a Superbowl Parade, a group of musicians has now taken the phrase and run with it, creating a dazzling musical genre of the future, today!

[Click through for fantastic songs!]

The Great Stephen King Reread Final Analysis

A lot of people make a lot of assumptions about Stephen King: he writes about writers too much; he sets all his stories in Maine; he writes horror. Now I’m giving you the tools you need to argue with anyone about any of these propositions. I read every single book published by Stephen King under his own name, so I leave out three of the Bachman books, books that are collaborations (no Talisman, no Sleeping Beauties, no Black House, no Gwendy’s Button Box), and I leave out the Dark Tower books (all eight of them). Also, I didn’t read Eyes of the Dragon because I forgot. So that means I didn’t read sixteen of his books.

Nevertheless, all told, I read 38 novels, 15 novellas, 111 short stories, and 5 poems by Stephen King. And here’s how they break down by the numbers.

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Series: The Great Stephen King Reread