Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for September and October 2022

Alternate timelines, alien civilizations, hallucinatory realities, and histories of the future. Those are among the things you’ll find in the books featured in this guide to some notable speculative fiction released (or reissued) by indie presses in September and October. Stylistically, tonally, and thematically, these cover a lot of ground—and you might well find your next favorite read here.

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Hugh Jackman Isn’t Quite Done Playing Wolverine, Will Return in Deadpool 3

Never say never. Sure, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine died in Logan, which came out in 2017. But that movie was set in 2029, which is years from now! A fact Ryan Reynolds and the Deadpool team may be taking advantage of: Yesterday, Reynolds took to social media to share his feelings on the next Deadpool film. And to let us all know that Jackman will be in it.

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A Conspiracy Still Masked: Delving Deep Into The Rings of Power Episodes 4–5

These last two episodes of The Rings of Power sure did some things, didn’t they? Have they changed my overall opinion of the show? Only a little, because I’m still compartmentalizing this thing. Have episodes 4 and 5 made my trust in the showrunners waver somewhat? Yes. Do I retain hope that the show will “survive” this recent stumble, and go on to still be excellent overall? Yes, I’ve still got some hope. But it’s Amdir hope, not Estel hope. I’ll explain.

So here follows another opinion-riddled discussion of the last two episodes, filled to the brim with spoilers.

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Restless Yuletide Spirits: M. Rickert’s Lucky Girl

Growing up, my family never told ghost stories around Christmas. We did, however, have a couple of Krampus-themed ornaments on the tree—one with a chain, one with a large bundle of sticks—courtesy of my father’s Austrian cousin. (Who was also my cousin, albeit of my dad’s generation.) I don’t want to say that I was into Krampus before Krampus was cool, but—I regret to say that that statement is also not untrue.

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George Takei and Amber Midthunder Are Among the Latest Additions to the Cast of Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender

Netflix’s live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender has been in production since last November—but new cast members are still being announced. And the latest round is delightful on multiple fronts. One, the legendary George Takei, Prey star Amber Midthunder, Community‘s Danny Pudi, and Teen Wolf‘s Arden Cho are among the new additions. And two? Well, they couldn’t possibly leave out the cabbage merchant!

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Torn Between Two Lovers: The Black Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

The science fiction world was robbed of a major talent when early star Stanley G. Weinbaum died from cancer at the age of only 33. His stories had taken the magazines by storm, and writers like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke were quick to sing his praises. One of his rare longer works, The Black Flame, did not appear until after his death, and even then, in a significantly revised form. It was not until 1995 that a copy of the original manuscript was located, allowing Tachyon Books to put it out in the form intended by the author.

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Five SFF Works About the Aftermath of an Apocalypse

Being an inveterate optimist, I have a natural tendency to look on the bright side of even the biggest disasters and feel compelled to inspire similar hope and optimism in the world (or at least, the Twitterverse). We all know that everyone loves an optimist, but for some reason, not everyone seems to find my point of view convincing. Take, for example, a recent discussion of possible outcomes of the various crises currently facing the human species in which I made the following points about our ability to endure…

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Reading The Wheel of Time: The Biggest Battle Yet in Robert Jordan’s Lord of Chaos (Part 32)

I can’t believe we’ve actually made it to the end of Lord of Chaos! I must say, after getting through these last two chapters, I feel like I’m almost as tired as Rand and Perrin and the rest of them. Figuratively speaking, anyway. Onward to the recap!

[They will pay, Lews Therin growled. I am the Lord of the Morning.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Return to the Realms of Mkalis in Second Spear by Kerstin Hall

In Kerstin Hall’s debut, The Border Keeper, we met Eris (the border keeper in question), and a man named Vasethe who needed her help crossing the border she kept. Which border is that, you ask? Why, the ways into Mkalis, the 999 realms of the afterlife—a multiverse replete with gods, demons, monsters, magic. Each realm is ruled by larger than life figures of myth, all involved in a delicate balance, lest the entirety of Mkalis fall in on itself.

Hall’s second installment in the realms of Mkalis focuses on a handful of new characters, but this is a sequel, not a standalone. Tyn, a soul who in death has found herself the Second Spear to a demon ruler, questions who she used to be in life, and what she must do now to save her ruler and realm.

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A Sanrio Series About a Lazy Egg Is Eggzactly What the World Needs This Fall

Of all the trailers and teasers and first looks and date announcements Netflix put forth at Tudum, its awkwardly named fan event, this is the one I did not know I needed. A animated and live-action show about a lethargic Sanrio character that looks like a raw egg? Why?

The answer is right here. Gudetama: An Eggcellent Adventure has a precision-calibrated tone that lands somewhere between painfully cute and distressingly existential. Will Gudetama get anything done before going bad or being eaten?!??!

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Cursed Castles and Daddy Issues: Keeping Up with the Targaryen Timeline in House of the Dragon Ep. 6

The sixth episode of House of the Dragon is being referred to as a “second pilot” by showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal, set after a ten-year time jump, with two lead actors recast as older versions of the characters they play, and a bevy of young royal offspring exacerbating tensions. There’s a spiraling sense of doom as old feuds ossify into deadly factions and King Viserys (Paddy Considine) seems ever more blind to the disaster awaiting his house and the realm, refusing to recognize the dangers even as he steers directly into the storm. (Some spoilers for Game of Thrones and the novels below, for anyone who might be avoiding those.)

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