A Glittering Caper: The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick

M.A. Carrick is an open pseudonym for writing team Marie Brennan and Alyc Helms. Brennan’s track record needs scant introduction, with twelve books to her name—including, mostly recently, the acclaimed Memoirs of Lady Trent series and its spin-off sequel Turning Darkness into Light. Helms is perhaps less well known, though they have previously published two solo novels, 2015’s The Dragons of Heaven and 2016’s The Conclave of Shadows.

The Mask of Mirrors is the first novel to come jointly from their pens, and it reminds me strikingly of the Astreiant novels of Melissa Scott and the late Lisa A. Barnett’s Astreiant novels, albeit more in worldbuilding and tone than in characters and concerns.

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Six Stories for Fans of Beautiful Australian Gothic

Like most Gothics, the Australian Gothic has acquired its own distinct aesthetic—most frequently, an abject unpleasantness and atmosphere of sand-scoured horror. Personally, I’d like to blame both Evil Angels (aka A Cry in the Night) and Gary Crew’s memorably effective Strange Objects (1990) for many of my own nightmares.

It is also, like most Gothics, tangled up with the genre’s own past, and inextricably knotted into colonial and imperial histories as well as the multitude of other mirrored and recurring histories typical of a Gothic plot. And Australia has a bloody history, with terrible things done and still being done. Yet there are also stories which, without shying away from terrors (although not necessarily innately any better at handling the true history than other varieties of Australian Gothic), manage in a variety of fascinating ways to capture a sense of great (even sublime, often terrifying, never false) beauty.

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Series: Five Books About…

Reading The Wheel of Time: Spying and Secrets of Tel’aran’rhiod in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 16)

This week in Reading the Wheel of Time, we’ll be covering Chapters 24 and 25. Egwene discovers Nynaeve and Elayne’s secret, we learn a little more about how Tel’aran’rhiod works, and find out that Moghedien, unsurprisingly, is as close as we feared.

But first, let’s recap!

[We keep secrets too often, Egwene, but sometimes there is a reason.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Marvel Reportedly Casts Ethan Hawke as Moon Knight’s Main Villain

Marvel has an ambitious slate of projects coming up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Disney+, including a new series about Moon Knight, which will come alongside other heroes like She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and more.

With the roster of projects underway, we’re starting to get word about what to expect from the next batch of shows, including details for Moon Knight.

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Author and Publisher Storm Constantine Has Passed Away

Storm Constantine, author of the Wraeththu Chronciles and a book publisher, has passed away at the age of 64. The news was announced Friday on Constantine’s Facebook page, which noted that the writer died after a long illness.

Constantine (who adopted her pen name as her legal name) was born in 1956 in Stafford, England, and began making up stories before she knew how to write. After art school, and time spent managing bands, she began her writing career with the beloved Wraeththu Chronicles. The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit was published in 1987, followed by The Bewitchments of Love and Hate and The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire. As her website explains, “Although characters in the Wraeththu novels inhabited a fantasy world, they were drawn from real people who were part of the alternative night-club/music scene of the mid-eighties.”

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Classic SF in Which Humans Come From “Beyond the Stars”

Could humanity be a recent visitor to this world? Are our true origins on some distant exoplanet?

NO.

The fossil record documents our purely terrestrial linage going back hundreds of millions of years. Humans are merely a recent flourish on the tetrapod body plan and suggestions to the contrary are manifestly nonsensical.

Still, no author in possession of a cool story idea ever hesitated merely because it constituted an egregious contradiction of firmly established science. Here are five examples of stories in which humans came from somewhere beyond the sky.

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#Selfcare

In a near-future San Francisco where the gig economy has made work more precarious than ever, Edwina is an average twenty-something scrambling to hold down her job with a major skin care brand. Until her awful boss does something you should never do—angers the fae on social media—and the struggles of her job take on an even nastier shade.

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Nicolas Cage Coldly Murders Nightmare Animatronics in the Trailer for Willy’s Wonderland

Before you ask, yes, what we need right now is another Nicolas Cage movie with dubious dialogue and powerful glowering. (No, I didn’t actually watch Jiu Jitsu. Life is short, ok?) Though in Willy’s Wonderland, Cage seems hardly to speak at all. He’s too busy absolutely going to town on a whole lot of creepy animatronic creatures. Is he living the dream of every child ever weirded out by the animatronics in a theme park? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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WandaVision Plays With Reality and Sitcom History in Its Two-Part Premiere

It’s strange to think that this is our first official Marvel Cinematic Universe story in roughly a year. After an empty 2020, Disney+ has arrived to alleviate that lack with their first television offering—WandaVision. And it started us off right, with two episodes to get fans hooked.

Spoilers ahead.

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New Trailer for Apple’s For All Mankind Teases a Coming Nuclear War

Apple is set to release the upcoming sophomore season of For All Mankind—it’s alternate history series where the Soviet Union reached the Moon first, rather than the US—on February 19th, and with just weeks to go, they’ve released a new trailer showing off how things are faring between the two superpowers.

The short answer? Not well.

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