Daemon Voices Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Philip Pullman’s Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling, available September 18th from Knopf!

From the internationally best-selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, a spellbinding journey into the secrets of his art—the narratives that have shaped his vision, his experience of writing, and the keys to mastering the art of storytelling.

One of the most highly acclaimed authors of our time now gives us a book that charts the history of his own enchantment with story—from his own books to those of Blake, Milton, Dickens, and the Brothers Grimm, among others—and delves into the role of story in education, religion, and science. At once personal and wide-ranging, Daemon Voices is both a revelation of the writing mind and the methods of a great contemporary master, and a fascinating exploration of storytelling itself.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on September 17th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on September 21st. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Diplomatic Immunity, Chapters 17 – Epilogue

In chapter 17 of Diplomatic Immunity, Miles is confined to the Idris’s infirmary, strapped down (seizure precautions!) and transported in the general direction of Cetagandan space.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Miles this week—as is my habit, now, two-and-a-half years in to this reread, but more than usual because Miles is on his honeymoon, and I’m working on planning my twentieth anniversary. If there is anything worse than a life in ruins with vomiting, it is surely a life finally gotten into perfect working order but with a high probability of imminent death and/or the termination of all sexual contact due to Weaponized Cetagandan Death Plague. I have twenty years of what Miles is could so easily miss: Eating cheese, folding laundry, and making bad jokes about the domestic architecture of New England. I’ve been very fortunate on the Weaponized Cetagandan Death Plague front.

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Blowing Up Assumptions (and Other Things): Andre Norton’s Uncharted Stars

Fans love this entry in the Norton canon. It’s got breakneck adventure, weird inhospitable one-climate planets, unspeakably grotty slums on worlds where the income inequality is off the charts, not to mention Free Traders, the Thieves’ Guild, the Patrol, and Zacathans. And Forerunners, both live and long, long, long dead.

Murdoc Jern still can’t catch a break. He and his alien partner Eet managed to get the price of a ship out of the Patrol at the end of The Zero Stone, but in this heavily pragmatic economic universe, it’s not working out the way he’d hoped. He needs a pilot in order to get the ship off-planet but can’t afford a good one and refuses to take the one the Patrol keeps offering him. Meanwhile the clock is ticking and the port fees are piling up.

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Metal Never Dies: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

Where to even begin? I loved this book. If you’ve ever loved any genre of music you should read it, and if you love horror you should read it, and if you’re obsessed with the plight of the American working-class you should really, really read it.

Grady Hendrix’s latest extravaganza of horror is wild and fun, genuinely terrifying in places, and also somehow heartfelt. It’s like The Stand and Our Band Could Be Your Life had the best baby (Our Stand Could Be Your Life?) and somebody slapped a Viking helmet on it and taught it to shred a guitar.

[Review: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix]

Pull List: Beginnings and Endings in Euthanauts and The Wilds

When is the end is not the end? The two indie comics featured in this month’s Pull List aim to answer just that. While Euthanauts examines life after death, The Wilds travels through survival and undeath in the age of the apocalypse. Each take well-worn tropes and twist them into the unconventional, and they do it with an eye toward diversity. I hope you’ve cleared some space in your subscriptions box…

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1977’s The Hobbit Showed Us the Future of Pop Culture

As you’ve probably heard, Amazon has announced that it’s producing a show set in Middle-earth, the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien in his landmark novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. With the new series reportedly headed into production in 2019, I thought it was time to revisit the various TV and big screen takes on Tolkien’s work that have appeared—with varying quality and results—over the last forty years.

First up, Rankin/Bass’s animated version of The Hobbit, first released as a TV movie on NBC in November, 1977.

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Secrets and Sacrifice: Reading Sarah J. Maas’s Crown of Midnight

Following the events of Throne of Glass, Celaena Sardothien has a lot on her plate. Assassination, scheming, magic, Wyrdmarks, loss, love, witches, a major revelation or two—Crown of Midnight may not have the plot-driving competition of the previous book in the series, but it’s got all the intrigue you could ask for and then some (and two creepy monsters, no less!).

In short, this book is a lot.

Welcome to the next installment of Reading Throne of Glass! In anticipation of Kingdom of Ash, I’m reading the entire series over the next six weeks. This isn’t a reread for me, but a first-read: if you’ve already read the whole series, you will be able to feel extremely superior while I ponder things you probably know backwards and forwards. My fellow first-readers, though, beware: there are likely to be spoilers for future books in the comments.

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Sons of Lei Kung, Daughters of the Dragon — Marvel’s Iron Fist Season Two

Two of the major supporting characters for Iron Fist from shortly after his debut in Marvel Premiere were Misty Knight—an ex-police detective with a bionic arm—and Colleen Wing—a sword-wielding martial artist. The pair of them teamed up as private investigators as Nightwing Restorations, and also have done the superhero thing as the Daughters of the Dragon.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Netflix edition), Wing was introduced in Iron Fist, while Knight was introduced in Luke Cage, and where Danny Rand dated Knight in the comics, he falls into bed with Wing in his series, and they have remained a couple. Wing and Knight finally got thrown together in The Defenders (where Knight lost her arm) and they reunited for two glorious scenes in Luke Cage season two (where Knight got her bionic arm).

Then we have the middle episodes of Iron Fist season two and can we for the love of all that is good and noble in this world have a Daughters of the Dragon series PLEASE?????

[SPOILERS for Iron Fist season two]

Five Religious-Themed Horror Movies That Are Scarier Than The Nun

This past weekend, The Nun scared up over $53 million at the domestic box office, and over $130 million worldwide; both numbers are record highs for the Conjuring universe, which has two more films in production (potentially three, depending on whether The Crooked Man gets off the ground or not). And while The Nun’s success is a product of the popularity of its parent franchise (a series of successful, well-made films will do that), there’s also something to be said about the movie itself; this is the first film in the Conjuring universe to explore religious horror, and there’s something wickedly appealing about that.

Whether you’re devout, atheist, or somewhere in between, there’s a twisted pleasure to be had in flirting with the dark side of religion—in imagining that, beneath the piousness and the virtue and all that, there’s this nasty darkness just waiting to get out. Sometimes it’s the devil, sometimes it’s the past sins of the faithful themselves, but horror has always had a fascinating, and oftentimes terrifying, relationship with religion and faith.

Here’s a look at five other horror films that, like the The Nun, explore the frightening possibilities at the border between the sacred and the unholy.

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Read an Excerpt from Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries—and she is the only creature who can break its spell…

Author Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense in A Discovery of Witches, the first book her All Souls trilogy published by Viking. A television adaptation premieres tonight in the UK, and is coming to the US in early 2019. In the meantime, read an excerpt below from the book that started it all!

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Five Stories That Serve Up Cannibalism

Stories of cooking humans have been around pretty much forever. In most cultures it symbolizes a horrific and transgressive act, and we can’t seem to leave it alone. We scratch at the theme like a scab: from witches popping children in their cauldrons, to Hannibal Lecter dining on liver with fava beans, to lurid re-tellings of real life cannibalism.

I picked the titles below for a range of cooking methods, reasons for cooking, and the ways in which the author deals with the subject. Bon appétit.

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Cassandra Khaw, Paul Cornell, and Other Horror Authors Play a Game of Exquisite Corpse with Serial Box

Raise your hand if your dream horror story includes the visceral terror of Cassandra Khaw, Paul Tremblay’s apocalyptic anxiety, the unforgettable bright image transferred from Alyssa Wong’s brain to your own.. Then you are in luck, and you had better be prepared to have the pants scared off you, with Serial Box’s nifty new Halloween project: Exquisite Corpse resurrects the popular parlor game for a one-day, spinetingling, serialized extravaganza in which ten horror authors will stitch together “a monstrous Franken-tale with a sci-fi twist.”

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Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes’ Viral Twitter Thread Becomes Horror Comedy You Might Be the Killer

About this time last year, the internet bestowed upon us the gift of two writers improvising a silly, trope-slashing horror story entirely via Twitter for 11,000 people to enjoy. But, as with all great horror narratives, it didn’t end there! Chuck Wendig shared on his website the wild news that his and Sam Sykes’ bonkers thread about a camp counselor wearing a creepy mask and holding a machete has become a horror movie, appropriately titled You Might Be the Killer.

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Five B-List Movie Monsters Who Deserve a Bigger Following

The Predator stalks onto big screens this week. Either the third or sixth (depending on if you count the Alien vs. Predator pay-per-view fights) sequel to the surprisingly deep (and also very explosion-filled) original movie, this latest outing shows just what an enduring presence the eponymous Predator is in modern monsterdom. The Predator species, like the Alien franchise’s Xenomorphs, have stalked our screens for decades now—but they haven’t done so alone. There are other movie monsters that are just as smart, creepy, and potentially iconic…and yet somehow they never quite hit the same heights of stardom. Some, as we’ll see, spawned multiple sequels but none have ever quite found the audience they deserve. But they’re still out there, waiting, working up an appetite for chaos and destruction…

So let’s go say hi, shall we?

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