An Ecstasy of Arrows: Craig Laurance Gidney’s “Sea, Swallow Me”

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.

This week, we’re reading Craig Laurance Gidney’s “Sea, Swallow Me,” first published in Ashé Journal in 2006; you can find it more easily in Gidney’s Sea, Swallow Me collection. Spoilers ahead—but we encourage you to go read it first.

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Series: The Lovecraft Reread

The Adventure Zone: Petals to the Metal Races Into the Plot

It’s the most wonderful time of year—which is to say The Adventure Zone graphic novel release season! Clint (Merle), Justin (Taako), Travis (Magnus), and Griffin (God, DM, take your pick) McElroy are back this July with the Petals to the Metal arc, accompanied as always by the incomparable Carey Pietsch. Just like the preceding arcs, volume 3 of TAZ bundles silliness, action, and good old-fashioned RPG mechanics into one stunningly colorful package. As fans of the original podcast know, however, Petals is also the story’s first real hint of what’s to come for our intrepid heroes. Try as they might to maintain a veneer of all-goofs-all-the-time, Tres Horny Boys are on their way into a plot that’s not only epic, but also secretly poignant and life-affirming.

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S.A. Chakraborty Tells Us the Best Writing Advice She Ever Got in Reddit AMA

S.A. Chakraborty is the Locus Award, World Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Award, Crawford Award, and Astounding Award-nominated author of The Daevabad Trilogy, which she describes as “an epic fantasy inspired by the folklore and history of the medieval Islamic world that I dreamed up while working in a medical office and finished ten years later during a pandemic.” Beginning with The City of Brass and followed by The Kingdom of Copper, the trilogy is now complete with The Empire of Gold, released in June.

For her next project, the writer is taking on a historical fantasy trilogy about an adventure heist that’s “a bit like Pirates of the Caribbean meets Ocean’s 11, set in the 13th century Indian Ocean,” featuring “ex-Crusaders and pirate mothers.” (More details here.) A week after her AMA with r/Books (which we highly recommend for those interested in craft), Chakraborty dropped by r/Fantasy for another AMA, where she talked about post-trilogy-completing feelings, writing advice, historical medical procedures, a mythological tree that bears human fruit (!), a very cocky medieval guide to con artistry, parents (ranked), love, stealing a horse on the high seas, and much, much more. Here are the (spoiler-free) highlights!

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A Brief History of Mexican Horror Comic Books

When people ask me if I like comic books I always have a split-second reaction. The answer is no. But it’s a nuanced no. I don’t like superhero comic books, but I grew up reading plenty of other stuff.

While in the United States “comic book” can be read as a synonym for “superhero,” such a correlation has not traditionally existed in Mexico. Mexican artists during their Golden Age were more interested in other kinds of content. This doesn’t mean there weren’t any superheroes—Fantomas, El Santo and Kalimán come to mind—but you were more likely to find other sorts of local comic books. And when people thought comic books, they probably thought historietas, monitos, una de vaqueros, all of which conjure something very far from Superman, Batman or the X-Men.

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First Trailer for Jamie Foxx’s Project Power is Pure Superpowered Pharmaceutical Mayhem

Swallow a pill, and get superpowers for five minutes. That’s the promise of a new drug that’s flooding the streets of New Orleans in the upcoming film Project Power, which stars Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Dominique Fishback.

The result? Pure superpowered pharmaceutical mayhem as people begin discovering the various abilities that the pills impart.

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The Lathe of Heaven: Le Guin’s Trippy Local SF Novel About Reality

A biweekly series, The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread explores anew the transformative writing, exciting worlds, and radical stories that changed countless lives. This week we’ll be covering The Lathe of Heaven, first published serially in two parts by Amazing Science Fiction in March and May 1971. My edition is from Gollancz, SF Masterworks no. 44 (2001) and this installment of the reread covers the entire novel.

I haven’t slept well the past year. I dream too much. I dream, I wake, I half-sleep, the cat wakes me, I dream, I sleep, my daughter wakes me, I half-sleep, I dream, and all of a sudden it’s time for work again. They aren’t nightmares—or at least not always, and when they are, they’re quite mundane: being forced to fist fight a friend or suddenly existing in a world without my partner. That sort of thing. Mostly they’re the kind of dreams that are so closely textured to reality that it sometimes takes hours for me to realize a “memory” was in fact a dream-memory. Thank the Nine I’m not George Orr, protagonist and reality-altering dreamer of Le Guin’s fifth novel, The Lathe of Heaven.

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Series: The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread

Explore the Maps of Ryan Van Loan’s The Sin in the Steel!

Science fiction and fantasy and maps go together like peanut butter and jelly (or peanut butter and bananas which I much prefer). I fell in love with maps in science fiction and fantasy books from page one and while I can’t remember which was my first, it was probably through C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia or Brian Jacques’ Martin the Warrior? I know maps aren’t for everyone, while for others too much is never enough—but I’ve always enjoyed opening a book to the maps page, seeing this new, foreign (to me) world that I was about to explore and then, later, going back and seeing where our intrepid cast had gone.

[As a writer, maps perform another function…]

Brandon Sanderson’s Next Stormlight Archive Novella Is Called Dawnshard

Brandon Sanderson’s upcoming Stormlight Archive novella will be titled Dawnshard! Dragonsteel Entertainment art director Isaac Stewart made the announcement in an update to the author’s (extremely well-funded) Kickstarter campaign for a 10th anniversary leatherbound edition of The Way of Kings, revealing a tentative cover design by himself and Ben McSweeney.

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Everything’s Fine

Eric’s day is off to a rough start: his regional managers are in town, he’s running late to work, the moon seems to be falling apart, and he just can’t seem to get his tie right. At least he has his priorities straight: it’s the little things that matter. The world may be plunging into chaos, the neighborhood children might be mutating into abominations, but that doesn’t mean he can let his standards slip. If he and his co-workers can survive their nightmare walk to the office, then Eric has a plan for success…

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Sleeps With Monsters: Revisiting Comforting Favourites

This year is being A Lot, isn’t it? I’m not sure how to handle it.

One of the ways I’m trying to, though, is by revisiting some books that are… I won’t call them “old” favourites, because very few of them are more than ten years old. Past favourites, perhaps. It’s interesting to see which hold up after some time and reflection, and which still mean just as much to me, albeit in different ways—and where my feelings have changed. Over the next couple of columns, I mean to share some of those visits.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Lunar Self-Sabotage: The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series launched with a single novelette (“The Lady Astronaut of Mars“), and the eponymous Lady Astronaut Elma York has in turn inspired other women to go to space in this punch-card-punk alternate history.

While The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky both traced Elma’s paths from Earth to the Moon and then to Mars, Kowal has expanded the scope of her series by focusing on a new “astronette” for the third installment: ambitious, brilliant senator’s wife and WASP pilot Nicole Wargin, whose adventure on the lunar colony in The Relentless Moon runs parallel to the events of The Fated Sky. In doing so, Kowal reminds readers that humanity has a long way to go to settle the Moon, and that no two Lady Astronauts are alike.

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