Five Books That Feature Lost, Missing, and Forgotten Gods

I’m a sucker for stories in which gods are real and meddle in the lives of humans, for better or worse. (I was beside myself in the latest Megan Whalen Turner book, The Return of the Thief, when a lightning bolt answered Eugenides’ wrath and smote a certain enemy in his campaign tent.) Thinking about gods, and casting my eyes about me for books I’ve recently loved, it struck me that a good number of them involved lost, missing, and forgotten gods, and I seized on this theme because it’s also a vague but major hint about my own secret book that I’ve been writing for the past two years! All of these are recent favorites, and most happen to be pretty new, or else newly available in the US and UK.

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Series: Five Books About…

Our Favorite SFF Spins on Jack the Ripper

People love an unsolved mystery—especially one far enough in the past as to allow wild speculation. Has there been a case that’s invited more outlandish theories than Jack the Ripper’s? The combination of grotesque details, gaslit setting, creaky conspiracy theories, and the eerie suddenness of the murders onset and ending have all lead to hundreds of retellings. Some of the most interesting have been stories that careened straight into the uncanny, giving us Jacks who can travel through time, haunt bridges, and possess wax figures.

Perhaps the writers of the tales below couldn’t bring themselves to believe that such a monstrous man was entirely human? Whatever the root of the fascination, we’ve stalked the Ripper straight out of the alleys of Whitechapel and into these eight SFF tales.

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Zombies Are Smarter and Faster in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead Trailer

You want a zombie heist movie? You get a zombie heist movie. The full trailer for Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead leans hard on all the tropes you could want or expect: one last heist, a mysterious person who brings the opportunity, the forming of the all-important team… and the unexpected obstacle. Which is, of course, zombies. A lot of ’em. But they’re smarter and they’re faster and they’re organized? That isn’t good.

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The Dazzling Queer Delight of Charlie Jane Anders’ Victories Greater Than Death

For everyone who is or was a queer kid dreaming of a destiny in the stars, a place more welcoming and wondrous than here—this book is for you. 

In award-winning SFF writer Charlie Jane Anders’ YA debut, Tina Mains has always been destined for Victories Greater Than Death. Though she’s spent her seventeen years living like a fairly average white girl earthling, she’s actually a secret clone of the late Captain Argentian, a celebrated alien hero. She’s been living in wait for the sparkling beacon in her chest to call upon her to join the Royal Fleet and save the worlds. 

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A Brief Guide to the Extraordinary Fiction of Vonda N. McIntyre

“Vonda McIntyre writes science fiction.” So sings the author’s pithy bio at the magazine Strange Horizons. Yet the contributions of the science fiction and fantasy icon and founder of Clarion West throughout her career speak volumes, and encompass so much more than you might realize.

It was two years ago this month that reported on McIntyre’s passing. To mark the recent anniversary, I’ve put together a helpful guide to McIntyre’s life and work—and of course, how and where to read and enjoy her remarkable fiction.

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Joe Cornish’s Next Project Is Adapting Mark Millar’s Starlight

It’s been ten years since the US release of Joe Cornish’s virtually perfect film Attack the Block. In the past decade, the writer-director has only made one other movie, the sweet but slight The Kid Who Would Be King. Now, his next film is announced, and it feels a little out of left field: Deadline reports that Cornish is writing and directing the long-expected adaptation of Mark Millar and Goran Parlov’s comic Starlight.

Starlight is, in its creator’s words, Flash Gordon meets The Dark Knight. It tells the story of Duke McQueen, who saved the universe decades ago. Ever since, he’s lived a normal life on Earth, where no one believes his tales of space glory. But now someone out there needs his help again.

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Tolkien’s Orcs: The Din-horde of Morgoth

In this scattershot series, we’ll be delving “too greedily and too deep,” prying gems out of the glorious rough that is the extended legendarium of Tolkien’s world. This includes drawing on The Lord of the Rings itself, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, and the History of Middle-earth (or HoMe) books.

Previously, on Tolkien’s Orcs…

I concluded in part 1, which covered the monstrous hoi polloi of Middle-earth as presented in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings, that Orcs are driven to mayhem—and frankly, the will to do anything substantive—by the power of Sauron. Which is to say, when there’s no Dark Lord in the neighborhood to give them some moxie, they become idle (relatively speaking) and their numbers stay down. But what about before all that? What happened before Sauron even became the head honcho of evil?

In this installment, I’m going to look at the role of Orcs in The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, which are like the uber-prequel and the deleted scenes (respectively) to Tolkien’s more famous works. But to fans of the legendarium on the whole, they are also essential reading.

[‘Rouse the Orcs and I leave you.’]

Arranged Marriage Meets Queer Fantasy Romance: Announcing A Strange and Stubborn Endurance

Tor Books is thrilled to announce the acquisition of World English rights for A Strange and Stubborn Endurance and an additional novel from Hugo Award-winning blogger and author Foz Meadows by Executive Editor Claire Eddy from Hannah Bowman at Liza Dawson Associates.

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is a male/male epic fantasy romance about Velasin, a closeted young nobleman preparing for a political arranged marriage to a foreign noblewoman—but when his sexuality is revealed under unpleasant circumstances, it’s proposed that he marry her brother instead. With no idea of what to expect from life in a culture famously more permissive than his own, Velasin’s troubles only increase when his arrival sparks an onset of violent political intrigue. Working together with his new husband, Velasin must try to figure out who’s behind the attacks—and maybe build a real relationship in the process.

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A Live-Action Gundam Film Is Coming to Netflix From the Director of Kong: Skull Island

For decades, Mobile Suit Gundam defined the mecha subgenre, and has been the subject of thousands of hours of anime television and film. But there’s never been a live-action version.

Until now. Netflix has announced that it’ll bring the first live-action, feature film adaptation of the franchise to its platform, and that it’s tapped Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts to helm the project.

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A Dim and Diminished Reflection: Andre Norton’s Merlin’s Mirror

Andre Norton was a master of the adventure plot, and she loved to mash up genres—science fantasy was one of her favorite things, as the Witch World cycle demonstrates. Every so often however, she either did not connect with her material, or the book she wanted to write simply did not fit into her wheelhouse. Merlin’s Mirror is one of these rather rare misfires.

The idea is not terrible. It’s the Witch World concept: a vanishing Old Race of impossible antiquity, an alien world of war and superstition, ongoing attempts to bring peace and higher civilization to the reluctant natives. The Arthurian canon is, in a lot of ways, about this. Adding basically Forerunners to the mix, and applying Clarke’s Third Law to the technology, could work.

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