Werewolves in Space: Joyce Chng’s Starfang Sequence

The lore of the werewolf inhabits the borders between horror and dark fantasy. The transformation is a work of magic, whether it originates in a Roma curse, an infected bite, a drink of water from a werewolf’s track, a magical plant, the light of the full moon, descent from a line of werewolves, puberty, or any or all of these possibilities. But what about werewolves in the future? Werewolves in space?

Joyce Chng, who also writes as J. Damask, has written of werewolves in contemporary Singapore. They’re normal people with normal lives and normal problems. And they’re hereditary shapeshifters. Their stories settle comfortably into the category of urban fantasy.

Chng has gone on to tell the story of their distant descendants: clans of werewolves populating the stars. It’s honest to goodness space opera, and its protagonist, Francesca Ming Yue, is the heir to a powerful clan of wolf shifters.

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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Rajiin”

“Rajiin”
Written by Paul Brown and Brent V. Friedman and Chris Black
Directed by Mike Vejar
Season 3, Episode 4
Production episode 056
Original air date: October 1, 2003
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. We look in on the Xindi Council. Degra has suffered setbacks in creating his world-destroying weapon, and Dolim wants to revisit the notion of a bio-weapon that will target the human race instead of their homeworld. The others continue their opposition to it (except for the Xindi-Insectoids), but Kiaphet Amman’sor warns that they’ll have to consider it if Degra doesn’t show progress soon.

[“Your door was unlocked.” “That’s not likely.”]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Every Space Story Is a Horror Story

“Science fiction and horror are siblings, twins who have always tried and failed to cut a different figure from one another in the world.” –W. Scott Poole, Dark Carnivals: Modern Horror and the Origins of American Empire

If you find yourself hurtling through the empty void of space, don’t panic. Not because you’re safe—you’re very definitely not safe, actually. Mostly it just won’t help.

Best case scenario, you’re insulated from the void by a foot or two of metal, glass, and finely-tuned life support systems. Maybe you’ll be fine! But all it takes is one loose bolt or a previously undetected software bug, or a crew member who, through negligence or malice or a bad night’s sleep, misses a key warning sign or an important step in the ship’s SOP. God forbid your onboard computer gains sentience and turns off life support in the cryo-chambers.

[Worst case scenario, there’s nothing in between you and the void…]

Five Classic SF Works About Cosmic Warmongering

There cannot be many heads of state who have not looked at maps and wondered if these were the best borders possible. Nations as vast as Canada could always be a bit vaster (here a Detroit, there a Maine). This applies to space empires as well: even a polity that spans a considerable fraction of the galaxy might believe it deserves to be even larger.

Such expansion is often unwelcome and resisted with force by governments and citizens alike. When SF authors write about wars of conquest and the resistance thereunto on galactic scales, the resulting works are generally considered to be part of the space opera genre. If by some odd chance you have not read any such space operas, you might want to sample the following five classics…

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Yes, Women Are Still Writing Space Opera

And they’re good at it.

A few years ago I wrote an article about the invisible women of space opera—and pretty much any other subgenre of science fiction and fantasy. Women have always been there, always writing, always breaking new ground—and yet every year or two, someone will write an article that proclaims, “Women Are Finally Venturing into Men’s Territory!” Lists of 100 Best Books are heavily skewed toward white male writers, all or nearly all from North America.

Almost six years later, I like to think we may be in an up cycle for recognition of women’s work.

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The 25th Anniversary Edition of John Crowley’s Little, Big Was Almost Two Decades in the Making

In 1981, John Crowley’s novel Little, Big was published. The World Fantasy Award-winning novel has, over the last four decades, found incredibly passionate fans. On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, Jonathan Thornton wrote, “It remains the kind of book that quietly changes people’s lives.”

And for almost twenty years, an anniversary edition of this life-changing book has been in the works. It’s quite the saga, and it has a happy ending: books are finally ready to ship. It took years—and the help of Neil Gaiman—to bring this project to light.

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A Nostalgia-Heavy Playlist for the Stressed Out Millennial

In the spring of 2020, I was desperately attempting to stay the pandemic doldrums by binge watching movies from my childhood. It was lockdown and I couldn’t go to work, couldn’t visit family and friends, and only left the house once a week for a hasty, sanitizer-drenched trips to the grocery store. Nostalgia (and steamy romance novels) was pretty much the only thing keeping me functioning. These are not the billion dollar blockbusters or the movies that have become a part of our cultural language, but the forgotten, the deep-cut cult classics, and the weirdly silly.

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All Our Stories Are Connected: Five Modern Fairytale Mash-ups

What could be better than a retelling of your favorite fairy tale? How about a retelling of two of your favorite fairy tales? How about a retelling that incorporates a bunch of your favorite fairy tales?

One of my favorite types of narrative is the mashup, wherein a bunch of existing characters or storylines mingle together, resulting in brand-new flavors, new adventures, and if you’re lucky, fresh nuances to explore.

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Five Stories Featuring Teleportation and Other Timey-Wimey Shortcuts

The gulfs of space are vast, awesome, and highly inconvenient. Crossing them with conventional chemical rockets would take millennia. Indeed, any rocket using even halfway plausible technology seems likely to consume several human lifespans before reaching even the closest stars.

Many authors, not wanting their characters to die of old age getting to Proxima Centauri, have abandoned plausible transport methods for the starkly implausible. Best of all? Techniques that allow travellers to step directly from one world to another without the bother of dealing with the intervening distance. The novels and series below feature five such methods.

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