Fear Factor: Equine Edition

Quite often when I talk about my life with horses, listeners will say, “I love horses, but I’m (a little)(a lot) afraid of them.” As often as not they add, “They’re so big!”

Horses are big. Even a small Mini weighs as much as a largeish adult human. A full-sized horse weighs in, on the average, at half a ton, and the big Drafts will double that and more.

It’s not just the avoirdupois. It’s the size of the animal even when it stands on all fours.

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Paul Cornell’s Witches of Lychford Series Sweepstakes!

Paul Cornell’s The Lights Go Out in Lychford continues the award-nominated Witches of Lychford series, described by Seanan McGuire as “Beautifully written, perfectly cruel and ultimately kind.” – and we want to send you the entire series!

 

The borders of Lychford are crumbling. Other realities threaten to seep into the otherwise quiet village, and the resident wise woman is struggling to remain wise. The local magic shop owner and the local priest are having troubles of their own.

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5 Books About War and Military Culture

Before I joined the military, I’d read dozens of books in all genres that involved all kinds of armies and military forces. It was only after I saw the real thing from the inside that I started to notice the variety of ways authors approach the military in fiction. Authenticity doesn’t impress me; there are plenty of writers who’ve served, or at least done their research. War is a complex subject, and I’m interested in books that have something to say about the real-life issues confronting people in uniform, or broader commentary on the nature of war.

These aren’t necessarily the most high-profile military science fiction and fantasy books, but they all gave me some kind of insight at different points in my life.

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Doctor Sleep Bypasses Typical Horror Tropes to Ask if Recovery Is Possible

I am of two minds.

On the one hand, this may be the best possible sequel to The Shining. Mike Flanagan has managed to synthesize the most iconic parts of Stanley Kubrick’s film, with the deep love that Stephen King had for his characters—the love that was so strong he had to catch up with Danny Torrance nearly forty years later in a 2013 sequel. Flanagan wrangles Doctor Sleep’s original characters and puts them in conversation with Kubrick’s visuals and the sense of haunted despair that make The Shining such an unsettling watch.

But on the other hand, this is a fundamentally different film than the Shining. It does some things with tone and intention that undercut Kubrick’s vision. And despite the ghosts and mystical trappings, Doctor Sleep is not a horror movie.

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Of Cruel Princes and Wicked Kings: Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air Series

The third and final book in Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series, The Queen of Nothing, is due to land on bookstore shelves later this month—and we’ve all been waiting patiently (or not so patiently!) to read the conclusion to Jude and Cardan’s saga of power, desire, and manipulation. But since it’s been some time since the publications of the last two books, The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, a little refresher course on the happenings therein seems appropriate to both whet our palates and bring us up to speed again.

After all, Black has a real hand at staging conflict over multiple arenas: personal and political, familial and state, across both the realms of human and faerie. Plus, there’s all the history of lovers and liars, death and desire, children and their parents: who’s on who’s side, and why, and for how long are all complicated questions that keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

[Class is in session, let’s review.]

The Girl Gets the Girl: Happily Ever Afters in Merry Shannon’s Sword of the Guardian

Humans can’t help but look for patterns in the chaos of our lives. We create and share stories for many reasons, but primarily to make sense of it all. We shape our stories with structure and pattern in mind and those stories, in turn, shape us. We set our lives to the beats of stories, even plan our futures based on them. A good story can help us make a decision, give us expectations, even hope.

A bad story can hurt us.

The stories I grew up on had a clear progression: the main character starts out weak, young, and naïve. They are challenged. They fail. They try again. They fail. They try again. They triumph over evil.

And the boy gets the girl.

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5 Stories Where Nature Does Its Best to Kill You

The world, we’re always told, will last longer than we will ever do. Once the last human takes their final breath, Earth will still continue to flourish for millennia more, until the sun dies out millions of years from now. While life is fleeting, existence can take eons.

But sometimes nature isn’t willing to wait that long. Sometimes nature looks at us as how we sometimes act: as parasites that drain resources and contribute nothing back to the world, compromising its ability to endure longer. While real-life nature doesn’t possess the actual sentience to try and wipe us from the planet, it can still feel that way sometimes. But that’s what fiction is for. There’s a lot of books that posit the what-ifs of a nature that is actively trying to kill us, and these are five of my favorites.

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Series: Five Books About…

Watchmen Delves Into Angela’s Past with Dark Hints of Her Future

Once again Watchmen gives us a compelling hour of television! This week’s episode, “If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own,” introduces us to the mysterious Lady Trieu, and gives us a bit more backstory on Angela Abar.

While I will say that I’m getting slightly annoyed with the show dropping clues and hints and then cutting out before they actually answer any of the questions they’re raising, I do think they’re building to something. And even if the pay off isn’t perfect, the acting is so incredible, and watching these characters bounce off each other each week is simply a delight.

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A Modern Fairy Tale: Nina Allan’s The Dollmaker

If pressed, I’m sure that Nina Allan would say that her new novel, The Dollmaker, takes place in the here and now. I don’t know that I would believe her. The book’s world looks like ours, complete with smartphones and Google Earth, but it’s a planet where trips are still planned by surveyor’s maps, where hotels are selected according to a printed almanac’s recommendations, and where long-distance relationships are conducted by page upon page of handwritten letters. Fairy tales are a motif. “What,” Allan asks her readers, “if a long, long time ago were today?”

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

A century after climate change and natural disasters flooded the earth, a sixteen-year-old British Muslim girl is about to have her world shattered. Leyla McQueen’s father has been languishing in prison ever since the government accused him of causing “seasickness,” a depression-like illness that usually ends in the suffering taking their life. All Leyla wants is his freedom, but her numerous inquiries to the police have been rebuffed. In a last ditch effort, she signs up to race her submersible in the London Marathon. Winners can ask for any boon from the Prime Minister, and they are always granted. So when she wins, Leyla is devastated to have her request for her father’s return denied at the behest of the sinister Captain Sebastian.

Soon, Leyla is forced to flee London. The Blackwatch, the government’s unstoppable security force, is after her. Her only companion is Ari, an inscrutable boy with a fierce streak sent by Leyla’s grandfather to protect her on her journey. The two teens clash as their needs and interests conflict, but the more she learns about him the less stable her reality becomes. When the truth becomes a lie, secrets can launch a revolution. Will Leyla lead the charge or be crushed by her enemies before the fighting even begins?

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A Lovecraft Cinematic Universe? SpecreVision Wants to Launch a Trilogy of H.P. Lovecraft Films

Earlier this week, SpectreVision released a first look at its upcoming H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Color out of Space. Speaking with ComingSoon, founders Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah revealed that they want to continue to adapt Lovecraft’s works, and are planning to “build out a Lovecraft universe.”

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Highlights from Maggie Stiefvater’s r/Fantasy AMA

Maggie Stiefvater is an “artist, musician, and car-lover,” as well as the best-selling and award-winning author of The Raven Cycle, The Shiver Trilogy, and many other books. Tuesday was the release day of Call Down the Hawk, the first volume in her new Raven Cycle spin-off series, The Dreamer Trilogy, and she dropped by r/Fantasy for a celebratory AMA.

The author had plenty of writing advice to share, books to recommend, and Raven Cycle lore to reveal. From what’s going on with that Raven Cycle TV show to what kind of BMW Ronan drives, here are the highlights!

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You Will Believe a Hello Kitty! Pez Dispenser Can Fly — Ant-Man & The Wasp

With Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 and Ant-Man in 2015, Kevin Feige had proven that he could give pretty much any Marvel character(s) a movie and they’d thrive. Despite being about a character who has at best been at the mid-range of Marvel’s heroes, Ant-Man was a huge hit, just like all the other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, and a sequel was pretty much inevitable, especially since that 2015 movie ended with Hope van Dyne being given the Wasp costume she should’ve gotten at the beginning of the film…

[Who are you and how do you know so much about car wash protocol?]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

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