The year is 1915, and a young man hired to shout the words on title cards for silent films experiences the magic of movies. This spurs him to edit some of the worst dialog, leading him in a weird direction that utterly changes his life.
My post on Saddles 101 gave rise to a whole sequence of reader questions. I love reader questions. Here I’m going to answer one particular set, which is best summed up in Troyce’s comment:
An interesting addendum to this essay would be one about the style of riding and how the rider sits.
As I noted in my post, a saddle is a structure designed to serve as an interface between the rider’s seat and legs and the horse’s back. It can be as basic as a piece of leather or other flexible, breathable material (fabric, synthetic) shaped to the horse, with some form of attachment that holds it in place—again, most basically, a strap around the horse’s barrel. There may be additional straps to stabilize it fore (a breast collar) and/or aft (a crupper). (And maybe a second girth or cinch in a Western saddle.)
But here we’re talking about how the structure of the saddle determines where and how the rider sits on the horse’s back. Some of that is style, i.e. form, and some is function. The definition of what “looks good on a horse” has a lot to do with style, but it’s also related to the optimal way to stay on board when the horse does whatever the style of riding is about.
Pity Robin Blythe, one of two protagonists in Freya Marske’s debut fantasy novel A Marvellous Light. Not only is he stuck with a new job he doesn’t want; not only does said job land him squarely in the teeth of the Edwardian bureaucracy; but his very first day at work features the unsettling revelation—delivered by the colorless and bookish Edwin Courcey, liaison to the Magical Assembly—that magic is real, followed by a spot of abduction in the London streets. Robin’s assailants want him to find a contract hidden from them by Robin’s missing (let’s be real, dead) predecessor, and they place a curse on him to motivate him to find the contract and bring it to them.
Prime Video’s adaptation of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series has some definite changes from its source material. One thing that showrunner Rafe Judkins made sure was in the show, however, was the four-minute “Weep for Manetheren” scene in episode two, where Mat (Barney Harris) starts a singalong about Manetheren, and Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) tells the young folks from Two Rivers the story of how the ancient city stood up to Trollocs many years ago.
Who will claim the Starless Crown?
An alliance embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the secrets of the distant past and save their world in a captivating new series from author James Rollins. We’re thrilled to share excerpts all this month from The Starless Crown—publishing January 4, 2022 with Tor Books. Read on below, or head back to the beginning.
Head below for the full list of fantasy titles heading your way in December!
We’ve arrived in an unlikely place and the universe is still breaking. It’s time to learn about Division.
Not a single episode of Around the World in 80 Days, an eight-episode adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel, has aired yet, but it’s already been renewed for a second season. The series, which stars David Tennant as Phileas Fogg, took a seven-month break from filming last year due to the pandemic, but is finally coming to screens in January (on BBC One in the UK and Masterpiece PBS in the US).
But the producers also have a second Verne adaptation on their hands. Slim Film + Television and Federation Entertainment announced they’re also teaming up for Journey to the Centre of the Earth, with Around the World writer Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) as showrunner.
And, of course, there’s a third Verne incoming from a different corner: Disney+’s Nautilus, starring Shazad Latif as a Captain Nemo with a frustratingly changed backstory.
“Strange New World”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga and Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Directed by David Livingston
Season 1, Episode 4
Production episode 004
Original air date: October 10, 2001
Captain’s star log. Crewmen Cutler and Novakovich are eating in the mess hall, the former reading an exobiology text and eating plomeek soup, the latter teasing her about her choice in food. They and everyone else in the mess hall are surprised to see the ship going into orbit around an Earth-like planet, which is a surprise to everyone.
Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch
Every Sanderson fan has an origin story—we’re like superheroes in that way. Some of us come to Sanderson via brute force, recommendations from friends wearing us down until we accept our fate. Others enjoy a more roundabout path, stumbling into the Cosmere by complete accident. No matter the method, Sanderson’s work often finds its way to fantasy-obsessed readers, catapulting the books to a spot on our favorite shelves. And everyone’s experience differs, thanks to the author’s frankly impressive portfolio.
I took the roundabout way. After buying my wife the first Mistborn trilogy as a gift, I ended up reading them first (don’t worry, I got her many other presents that I didn’t commandeer for myself). Enamored, I began devouring Brandon Sanderson’s work, making 2021 the year of the Sanderlanche. To date, I’ve logged Mistborn era one, Mistborn era two (The Wax and Wayne Cycle), The Way of Kings, Elantris, and (as of this writing) about 10% of Warbreaker.
While skimming the news, I saw a tweet about the popularity of MILFs. I didn’t have time to read the article itself but the headline didn’t surprise me. After all, MilSF—military science fiction—is very popular within science fiction, while fantasy generally outsells SF, so it stood to reason that military fantasy books—thus, MILFs (no need to google it!)—would be popular as well.
In fact, the problem wasn’t coming up with five fantasies about war. The problem was narrowing my list down to just five.
Madeleine L’Engle was my first sci-fi. Maybe also my first fantasy. I read her before Lewis, Tolkien, Adams, Bradbury. I was 11 when I read A Wrinkle in Time, and I quickly burned through all the rest of her YA, and I even dug into her contemplative journals a bit later, as I began to study religion more seriously in my late teens.
My favorite was A Swiftly Tilting Planet (I’m embarrassed to tell you how often I’ve mumbled St. Patrick’s Breastplate into whichever adult beverage I’m using as cheap anesthetic to keep the wolves from the door over this past year) but I read all of her books in pieces, creating a patchwork quilt of memories. I loved the opening of this one, a particular death scene in that one, an oblique sexual encounter in another. Bright red curtains with geometrical patterns, The Star-Watching Rock, hot Nephilim with purple hair—the usual stuff. But as I looked back over L’Engle’s oeuvre and I was struck, more than anything, by the sheer weirdness of her work.
Who doesn’t love a good myth? Retellings of ancient legends are wonderful ways to bring stories with long histories to new audiences or eras. Authors can reinterpret classic tropes or familiar heroes, bringing different aspects of their personalities to vivid, sparkling life. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the most exciting myth retellings that will be hitting shelves soon, as well as some recent favorites.
We’ve only seen women channel so far in The Wheel of Time. But oh, my friends, that is about to change.
(These reviews might contain some minor spoilers for the Wheel of Time book series. Please note that the comment section may also contain spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book series.)
Stubby and the Tor.com staff are taking a break for the holiday weekend, but we’ll be back and beaming more content your way on Monday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Star Trek has, historically, been really really terrible with consequences.
On the original series, Kirk was present for the deaths of several important people to him: his best friend, his brother and sister-in-law, and two of the great loves of his life, one of whom was pregnant with his child. Yet he was never seen to feel any trauma beyond the episodes where those things happened.
And it wasn’t much better in the first wave of spinoffs. But if the trend toward serialization has given us nothing else, it’s given us TV writers who are willing to examine long-term consequences.