What It Means to Win a Hugo as a Blind Person

There is an archetype of The Reader.

The vision of The Reader in childhood is of someone who cannot pull their nose out of a book. They stay up late, hiding underneath the covers after bedtime with a flashlight, reading late into the darkest nights.

The Reader, based on that image, is sighted. Capable of reading a book with a flashlight, able to sustain long reading sessions like that.

So when I became the first blind person to win a Hugo Award, it defied the image of The Reader. Of the Writer. Of the devout Teller and Consumer of Stories.

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A Hook Into an Eye: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Almost 35 years after Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was published and nominated for a slew of awards including the Booker Prize and the Arthur C Clarke award (which it won in 1987), its follow up novel The Testaments has made it to the Booker shortlist even before its actual release day. Heavily anticipated, heavily embargoed, even more heavily promoted, The Testaments takes us back to Gilead not to tell us what has happened to just Offred, but to Gilead itself.

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An Introduction to the Worlds of The Witcher

A warrior roaming the lands has gained notoriety among the commonfolk. Word of his deeds has spread far, and his approach strikes fear at the heart of the most formidable opponent. Known as the “Butcher of Blaviken” or the “White Wolf,” Geralt of Rivia’s reputation as a killer of men and monsters has earned him appreciation and disdain in equal measure. Better known by his famed moniker The Witcher, Geralt goes where no man dares. He answers bounties and notices posted by the citizens of the continent, calls for aid in ridding their towns of haunting menaces or in breaking curses that trouble the innocent: blood for coin. And in his mastery of the sword— rumours telling of a steel blade for men, a silver blade for non-humans—he is almost unrivaled.

Geralt hails from Kaer Morhen, a once-formidable fortress that in ages past served as a witchers’ settlement. It was a place where, in Geralt’s words, “the likes of me was produced.” Many young witchers used to train rigorously there…but by his own admission, it is not a thing that’s done anymore. In The Last Wish, Geralt and Queen Calanthe talk at length about the process and the possibility of her grandchild becoming a witcher. In Blood of Elves, however, it is revealed that a renegade wizard created the mutagenic elixirs used in the witchers’ rituals which were perfected over time, yet none of the witchers know how to use them. Because of this, few now go through the many challenges, including the Trial of the Grasses and Trials of the Herbs—alchemical processes that would mutate the student (assuming they survive the incredibly painful ordeal) into a witcher. In the past, those that were fortunate to survive the process went through irreversible transformations. Geralt’s own identity changed from that of a human boy to a dispassionate, ruthless warrior with heightened reflexes and an instinct to kill and savage. And yet, despite all of this, there is another, gentler side to the Witcher, one which would refrain from striking down non-humans deemed innocent and peaceful. To those that know him, those that call him friend, he is also champion of the downtrodden, some of whom see him as their defender.

Read on to discover where to start with The Witcher, and the basics you’ll need to know in the lead-up to the new, highly anticipated Netflix television series.

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Five Forgotten Swordsmen and Swordswomen of Fantasy

Howard: I suppose the first thing we should do is lay the groundwork. This is about FORGOTTEN fantasy swords, people—that doesn’t necessarily mean so obscure that no one’s ever heard of them, and it also doesn’t mean every sword-wielding character ever created. I’m thinking we should focus on neglected characters that ought to get discussed, celebrated, or read more often. Especially read more.

Todd: S’right.

Howard: I also think we ought to avoid characters who aren’t forgotten. Conan, say.

Todd: Dammit, there’s too many rules already. Let’s just get started.

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A Demon App Predicts Your Death in Countdown Trailer

The concept of knowing when or how you might die is an interesting one that people have grappled with for centuries, an existential what-would-you-do thought puzzle of sorts. Most people assume they have years to live. But what if you were to die tomorrow? Wouldn’t you try to cheat death? It’s what made the Final Destination movies so compelling, and that concept has been updated with STX Entertainment’s new movie, Countdown.

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Clifford D. Simak’s Way Station Is Heading to Netflix

Matt Reeves’ studio 6th & Idaho has acquired the rights to adapt Clifford D. Simak’s Hugo-winning novel Way Station as a film for Netflix, according to Deadline.

Reeves is best known for directing Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and is set to direct the next Batman film. His studio has a first-look film deal with Netflix, which is also working on an adaptation of George Orwell’s film Animal Farm, to be directed by Andy Serkis. There’s no indication as to when the adaptation of Way Station will hit Netflix—if it makes its way through the development pipeline—or who will direct it.

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Highlights from Alix E. Harrow’s r/Fantasy AMA

Alix E. Harrow, debut author of Ten Thousand Doors of January, recently hosted an AMA on Twitter. Harrow, a former history adjunct professor and part-time librarian, recently won a Hugo for her short story, “A Witch’s Guide to Escape,” and is a finalist for the Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. Many of Harrow’s AMA answers cover publishing, advice, inspiration, and her preferred fictional worlds and characters.

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“I have a parasite” — Venom

The two Marc Webb-directed Amazing Spider-Man movies—particularly the second one—did a lot of work to set up a “Spider-Man Cinematic Universe.” Sony went ahead and green-lit a bunch of spinoff movie projects featuring Spider-characters The Sinister Six, Black Cat, Morbius the Living Vampire, Silver Sable, and Venom.

The whole concept was sent into a tizzy when (a) Amazing Spider-Man 2 did poorly at the box office and critically as well and (b) Spider-Man got absorbed into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But we got a Venom movie in 2018 anyhow.

[“Have you been meditating like I showed you?” “No, I have not. And it does not work.” “It doesn’t work because you don’t give it a chance.” “No, it doesn’t work because I bought a DVD off your cousin and it was in Mandarin.”]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Explore Carnival Row With This Official RPG While You Wait For Season 2

Amazon’s Carnival Row has garnered some mixed reviews since it premiered last mont, but we really enjoyed it — a thoughtful Victorian drama that examines themes of racial inequality and colonialism. Prior to its debut, Amazon announced that it had renewed the series for a second season, meaning that those who enjoyed the first eight episodes will have something to look forward to.

But it’ll be a while before that next season begins streaming. Fortunately, those who enjoyed the show will be able to keep returning: Nerdist partnered with Amazon, Legendary Television and Monte Cook Games to produce an official RPG rulebook that uses the Cypher RPG System, which you can download for free.

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