Magical World Building: Cazadora by Romina Garber

For her whole life, Manu has lived as an undocumented person, first as an Argentinian immigrant in Miami and now as the “illegal” child of a human and a Septimus (a magical person). Her werewolf father wants to protect her from his people just as her human mother wants to protect Manu from hers. After the events of the first book, Manu goes on the lam with her Septimus friends, Tiago, a lobizón (a male werewolf) and Manu’s crush, Cata and Saysa, brujas (female witches) who are also secret girlfriends. They race to keep ahead of the Cazadores (basically, a cross between the cops and ICE, but with magic) who want to kill Manu for violating the laws of their portal world of Kerana.

Along the way, the teens meet non-compliant Septimus living on the fringe or hiding in plain sight who all have their own reasons for wanting to break down the walls of their oppressive society. But do they want to dismantle the system or simply reform it? The former would allow Manu to live freely and openly, while the latter would consign her to second class citizenship, with no rights and no say in her life. How much are her friends and new allies willing to risk for Manu? For the betterment of their people? All Manu wants is to finally have a home where she can be herself without fear. In Cazadora, that may be a dream beyond her grasp.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Workforce, Part I”

“Workforce” (Part 1)
Written by Kenneth Biller & Bryan Fuller
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 7, Episode 16
Production episode 262
Original air date: February 21, 2001
Stardate: 54584.3

Captain’s log. We open on Quarra in a large industrial complex, where we see Janeway reporting for her first day at a new job, monitoring the primary reactor coils. She was also late, as she boarded the wrong transport. Her new supervisor is understanding—it’s easy for newcomers to get lost—and sets her up at her work station.

[This isn’t right! We don’t belong here!]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

When a Bus Fight Is More Than a Bus Fight: Shang-Chi’s Cinematic Roots

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for borrowing a dash of flavor from other films or genres. Captain America: Winter Soldier draws some of its feel from the paranoid political thrillers of the 1970s. The MCU Spider-Man movies take some cues from the teen comedies of John Hughes. The Ant-Mans (Ant-Men?) pilfer from various capers. Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 is a Shane Black movie. They aren’t exact copies, but the influences are there if you look for them.

It’s unavoidable that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would emulate the forms of martial arts cinema, and more overtly than the spiritual kung-fu movie Doctor Strange. What I found interesting was the mix of martial arts subgenres at play. There’s Jackie Chan-inflected Hong Kong action, nods to period kung-fu movies of the 70s and 80s, wuxia romance, and blockbuster fantasy that wouldn’t be out of place in Tsui Hark’s filmography.

At times, Shang-Chi feels likes a history of movie watching for Asian-American kids of a certain age.

[Major Shang-Chi spoilers below]

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In Finch, Tom Hanks Is Gonna Save His Dog No Matter What

Good morning, dystopian wasteland! What a way to start the week: with Tom Hanks and a cute dog traversing a destroyed world full of dust tornados and burning heat. Sounds fun, right? Finch, from Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik, seems precisely engineered to manipulate the feelings of dog lovers. You can threaten Tom Hanks with global disaster all you like, but leave the puppers out of it.

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Y: The Last Man Makes New Allies and Enemies in “Karen and Benji”

So this was the first episode of Y: The Last Man where I immediately wanted to click to the next screener the moment it was over! This bodes well for future episodes, in that the series seems to be hitting a good pace now that the main characters are making moves—even if those moves are recklessly exposing oneself at a market and joining up with a man-hating cult! As evidenced by the title, some people are hiding their true selves in “Karen and Benji,” but that will only make it worse when the truth comes out.

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Announcing the 2021 Ignyte Awards Winners!

Last year, FIYAH magazine created FIYAHCON, a widely acclaimed virtual convention centering and celebrating BIPOC in speculative fiction. Along with FIYAHCON, organizers created the Ignyte Awards, which “seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre.”

The winners of the 2021 Ignyte Awards were announced this past weekend at FIYAHCON—read on to see who won!

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5 Books Featuring Fantasy Clergy

In my previous novels Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens, I shied away from addressing religion in the worldbuilding. I felt that if I did choose to explore faith in a fantasy setting, I would prefer to do so thoughtfully, as a centerpiece of the world—and in a way that allowed me to work the setting’s magic system into the religious hierarchy. I finally had the chance to do this with Vespertine, a book I like to pitch (thankfully not to my publisher’s total horror) as “medieval Venom starring a nun and a ghost.”

Vespertine is about a young woman training to be a nun who awakens an ancient undead spirit bound to a saint’s relic, and wields its staggering destructive power to battle the Dead. Here are five of my favorite books featuring fantasy clergy that inspired me while writing it, their premises combining religion, magic, and death.

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Series: Five Books About…

Announcing Africa Risen, a New Anthology of African and Diasporic Speculative Fiction

Tordotcom Publishing is thrilled to announce that Emily Goldman has acquired World English rights to Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction, a new anthology of African and Diasporic speculative fiction edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (whose novella “Ife-Iyoku, The Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” recently won the 2020 Otherwise Award), and Zelda Knight. The collection will be available in hardcover and ebook in Fall 2022.

This anthology is the direct descendant of Sheree Renée Thomas’s groundbreaking Dark Matter anthology series celebrating a hundred years of Black speculative fiction in the African Diaspora. Containing thirty-two original stories of fantasy, science fiction, and horror by African authors and authors of African descent living in the Diaspora who are among some of the genre’s most exciting voices, Africa Risen is a celebration of African storytelling and speculative literature, a tradition both ancient and new.

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17 Iconic Fashion Moments in SFF History

Do you think they have a MET Gala in Middle-earth? If they don’t, they should. As a fantasy writer, I believe no fantasy world is fully realized without fashion. Fashion, though often considered to be nothing more than frivolity, is as integral to a world’s rendering as its resources, its struggles, its power structures, and its art. In fact, fashion is the instrument by which all of these are often expressed. It can be frivolity, yes, but often it’s everything else as well.

This is why I’ve compiled my list of the seventeen most iconic fashion moments across science fiction and fantasy. Let’s get into it, shall we?

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What Makes a Monster? The Complexities of No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Cadwell Turnbull’s second novel No Gods, No Monsters is absolutely worth your time. If you’re at all a fan of science fiction and fantasy, if you’re at all interested in deep characterization and interiority playing out against the fantastical, if you’re into the interplay of how genre can operate in conversation with the real world, if any of that is your bread and butter, then you’re good; you can stop reading this review and go pick up the book. You’re welcome. If you’re still here, let’s do this thing.

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5 SF Stories in Which Kindness Prevails

There are many people in the world who seem to agree that the correct reaction to impediments, setbacks, and personal affronts is a firm, unambiguous response. After all, how are people to understand that “its” and “it’s” are two different words if their homeworld is not immediately reduced to a lifeless cinder? But there are enough of us who prefer kinder, gentler responses that we form an audience for writers who give us protagonists who are kind… and still manage to prosper. Could the power of niceness possibly prevail in the real world? Perhaps not, but niceness makes for comforting reading.

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Time Travel Makes Everything Worse in the Teaser for Needle in a Timestack

Has the combination of time-travel and romance ever made things easier? It doesn’t seem like that’ll be the case in Needle in a Timestack, writer-director John Ridley’s adaptation of Robert Silverberg’s 1983 short story. Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr. star as Janine and Nick, a happy couple whose marriage is threatened by Orlando Bloom, who—well, it’s complicated.

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Watch the First Trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley

Guillermo del Toro’s films are always worth watching: the acclaimed director is renowned for his intricate and beautiful worlds, and while he’s probably best known for his genre stories like Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth, and The Shape of Water, his next film looks as though it’s going to take place in a slightly more realistic world.

That doesn’t mean that the world through his eyes is any less beautiful. Fox Searchlight has just released a first teaser for del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, and it looks like it’ll be a tense, creepy ride.

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