Writing Horses: Why Bother to Get It Right?

Long years of living on the internet can make a body wise, but it can also make them weary and just a little bit cynical. Inevitably when certain topics come up, certain responses are as predictable as a stallion when the mares are in heat.

(What? You thought stallions were unpredictable? They aren’t, at all. What they are is reactive, and when mares come into the mix, they control those reactions with great and often wicked finesse.)

So last time I aired a peeve about language and metaphor, and as surely as a mare’s lifted tail sends her studlyboi into a fit of dancing and prancing, amid the lively and fruitful discussions, someone had to do it. They had to say it. The thing. The one someone always says.

When writing about anything, let alone horses, why bother to get it right?

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“Oh, Relax It’s Only Magic”: The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Sideways Pike is the reigning queen of loners and losers at West High. When the trio of Mean Girls at the top of the social food chain pay her forty bucks to do some magic at their pre-Halloween party, she accepts because why not, right? What else is she gonna do? And hey, easy money. The spell blooms brighter than Sideways expects and wrenches out of her control. Hours later she comes to and sees the metaphorical scar her magic left behind. So do the trio. Instead of being freaked out and casting her aside, Daisy, Yates, and Jing take her in.

The “unholy trinity” turned quartet explore the world of magic with the ferocity of a sugar-addled child on Halloween night. A whole new world exists just below the surface of the known one, a world of powerful covens and sinister devils. But just like in the real world, the magic world is infested with arrogant men who have corrupted magic into a tool of the patriarchy. Sideways, Daisy, Yates, and Jing wind up in the crosshairs of a family of witchfinders who delight in stripping the marginalized of what little power they accumulate. Now united under the coven name The Scapegracers, the girls will face down the witchfinders using the only weapon they have: themselves.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Scorpion” (Part 1)

“Scorpion” (Part 1)
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by David Livingston
Season 3, Episode 26
Production episode 168
Original air date: May 21, 1997
Stardate: 50984.3

Captain’s log. We open with two Borg Cubes. They’re doing their usual shtick about how resistance is futile and you’ll be assimilated, and all that jazz that we’ve been hearing since “The Best of Both Worlds,” but the recitation is cut off mid-word by a blast that annihilates both cubes.

[The weak will perish!]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Once a Bookseller, Always a Bookseller

My first job out of university was in a bookshop. Dalton’s Bookshop in Canberra, the federal capital of Australia, which is in some ways a kind of mini-me of Washington, D.C. crossed with an Australian country town. Dalton’s was the biggest and best bookshop in the city, a family-owned business that was spread over two floors of a large building in the city centre. A spiral staircase joined the two floors and we liked to slide down the banister and jump off the end to land in front of a customer and ask, “Can I help you?”

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The Croods 2: A New Age Trailer Ventures to a Vast and Vibrant World

A family of cavepeople as colorful as the Croods deserve a setting that compliments their big and bright personalities. Fortunately, the new trailer for the upcoming sequel promises to open up their world with a  host of new creatures, locations and dangers. But they won’t be the only humans fighting to stay alive in a prehistoric world in The Croods 2: A New Age.

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“Take Risks, Follow Your Heart, and Move Forward”: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

It befell in the days of Bree Matthews that there was a racist system in need of a royal ass-kicking. A few months ago, Bree’s mother died in a tragic car accident that threw Bree’s entire life off kilter. In a last ditch effort to escape her grief, Bree enrolls in an early college program for high school students at UNC Chapel Hill. Attending with her is her best friend Alice. A chance encounter at an unauthorized off-campus party reveals to Bree a world she never knew existed, one humming with magic. When she discovers a potential connection between her mother’s death and the magical teens battling demons in the woods, she decides to infiltrate the group and expose the truth.

Nick, the son of one of the most powerful men in the Order of the Round Table and the boy destined to become a king, is drawn to Bree…and she to him. Their connection is instant and intense. Standing in her way is Selwyn, a living weapon who will do anything and everything to protect his prince, and the misogynoir of the grand old party of wealthy white people who dominate the Order. But there are bigger threats to Bree than casual racism and ignorant remarks. The more she learns about magic—the Bloodcraft of the Order and the Rootcraft of her mother’s people—the more she picks at the threads forming a massive and ancient conspiracy.

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Five Books Where Assuming Aliens Are Just Like You Might Get You Killed

In my mid-twenties, I visited Ostia Antica, a massive archaeological site just outside of Rome. As different as the Romans were from the culture and the world I grew up in, the city itself felt remarkably familiar: a cemetery, a main street, a theater. Just around the corner from the churches and temples was a little sports bar with mosaics of favorite wrestlers on the floor. You can just imagine a rowdy crowd leaving weekend worship and heading to the local bar for wings and a cold one (or, in the Roman case, lamb with garum and an amphora of wine). It was a reminder that, as humans, more ties us together than keeps us apart.

[But what if Ostia had been an alien city?]

Series: Five Books About…

What Makes a Monster: Lovecraft Country, “Meet Me in Daegu”

I went into “Meet Me in Daegu” with a high level of suspicion. The last time Lovecraft Country devoted time to people who weren’t Black or white Americans, it didn’t go well. I knew Ji-ah’s storyline was coming and I’ve been lowkey dreading it ever since the anti-Indigenous and transphobic debacle with Yahima. Episode 6 was better than I expected, although there were still some issues…

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