The Opposite of a Skeleton in the Closet: Alyssa Wong’s “What My Mother Left 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 Alyssa Wong’s “What My Mother Left Me,” first published in Ellen Datlow’s 2018 anthology The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea. Spoilers ahead (but well worth reading first if you can get a hold of it).

[“But instead of bearing the fish back into the ocean, the water tugs gently at its body…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Making the Magical Feel Human: Lobizona by Romina Garber

Manuela Azul doesn’t exist. Not on paper at least. She and her mother are undocumented immigrants from Argentina living (more like hiding) in Miami. But while her mother goes to work every day, Manu is trapped in a cramped apartment. She can’t go to school or make friends, not just because she is undocumented but because of her strange, gold and silver star-shaped irises. So she sits at home and dreams of the day when she and her mother can apply for citizenship.

That day never comes. When ICE raids her mother’s work and tosses her into a detention center and Manu’s surrogate grandmother is gravely injured, Manu is desperate. A chance encounter takes her to El Laberinto, a magic school where boys learn how to be lobizones (werewolves) and girls brujas (witches). Manu suspects the answers to all her family secrets can be found at the school, but how much is she willing to risk to find them? Who will she risk? Because now for the first time in her life she has friends who care about her and a crush on a boy who looks at her like he wants to kiss her. But El Laberinto isn’t the haven Manu hopes it is. She was illegal in the human world and, when her magical abilities reveal themselves, she becomes illegal in the magic world as well. Everything is at stake and the choices laid out before Manu will make or break the world.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn

Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn
David R. George III
Publication Date: June 2012
Timeline: August-September 2383, September 2384, following Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night

Progress: Ka-boom. DS9’s fiery explosion at the end of Plagues of Night was no simulation, no scheme-within-a-scheme to deceive the Typhon Pact, no alternate timeline offshoot, no event readily undone by canny temporal agents. It was real, and definitive, and as we soon learn in this story, leads to a death toll of slightly over one thousand beings. (Or, to put modern times in grim perspective, a casualty figure right on par with that reported for the U.S. as a result of COVID-19 for the single day of August 1st, 2020). Fortunately, Captain Ro and company had time to evacuate about eighty-four percent of the station’s population—significantly, ninety percent of its civilians—before the collapse. Parts of the wreckage, including a number of jettisoned and floating bulkheads, were sealed off by force fields before the explosion, further saving lives. Aboard one such fragment are Kira and Kasidy, who are ejected by the blast into the wormhole, and eventually rescued inside the wormhole by the Enterprise.

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The Umbrella Academy Is a Show About Growing Beyond Familial Abuse

If someone asked you what The Umbrella Academy was about, chances are you would use the word “family” somewhere in your description. It’s possible that you might even use the term “found family”—after all, Reginald Hargreeves’ wards were raised together, but those kindred bonds didn’t really coalesce until the end of the show’s first season. The point is, for all possible interpretations and wherever the show ends up taking its viewers, The Umbrella Academy is a show about the Hargreeves kids learning how to be family to one another.

It’s also a show about familial abuse.

[Spoilers up through the entire second season of The Umbrella Academy.]

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The Word for World Is Forest: Ecology, Colonialism, and the Protest Movement

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 novella The Word for World Is Forest, first published in Harlan Ellison, ed., Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). My edition is from Tor (2010) and this installment of the reread covers the entire novel(la).

The period between 1968 and 1974 were magnificently productive for Le Guin, yielding the novels and stories that solidified her reputation in the SFF world and which have inspired writers, critics, and scholars alike for the past half-century. Between her most famous novels, she dropped the literary firebomb of a novella, The Word for World Is Forest. Originally tucked away in Again, Dangerous Visions (1972), the second volume of Harlan Ellison’s story collections that helped shape the American New Wave, the novella was recognized with a Hugo for Best Novella, nominated for the Locus and Nebula in the same category, and upon publication in a solo volume in 1976 was a finalist for the National Book Award.

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Series: The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread

The Huntington Announces Octavia E. Butler Fellowship

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens—home to Octavia E. Butler’s literary archive—has announced a fellowship named after the late science fiction giant, Locus reports. Open to scholars working with the author’s “ideas and issues” from “a variety of disciplinary perspectives,” the fellowship will award $50,000 to the winning fellow for a residency of nine to twelve months.

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Living Water, Resurrection, and Aslan’s Golden Back: Biblical Allusions in The Silver Chair

People come to Narnia from many different places. Some find the religious metaphors overwhelming, others don’t notice them at all. Some people love them because of the spiritual underpinnings. When we started this series, one thing I wanted to do was make the many allusions to Christian theology a little clearer for those who don’t come from a Christian background. In this article we’re going to look specifically at the moments when Jesus, uh, I mean Aslan, shows up in The Silver Chair.

There are a lot, and I mean a lot of Biblical allusions in this book. When Aslan walks in, Lewis piles them on top of each other until you could feel like you’re reading Bible fanfiction. This is no particular surprise, as Lewis loves to cobble together his mythology from a variety of places, and in Silver Chair we have references to Plato, Dante, Arthurian legends, Shakespeare (Rilian looks “a little bit like Hamlet”), and I’m guessing a whole lot more that I didn’t catch.

[It all starts when Eustace and Jill do a little magic spell…]

Series: The Great C.S. Lewis Reread

Five SFF Stories Involving Secretly Supernatural Beings

Neighbours! Fine people, right up to the moment when they are overcome by xenophobia and assemble in a large mob (shouty), all too well supplied with torches (lit) and implements (agricultural). Of course, not all people are prone to hateful prejudice and fear against outsiders. Some might go the other way, lavishing unwanted adoration and attention on unusual people. It’s awkward either way, which is reason enough for some folks to carefully conceal their true nature.  Such as these five…

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