“Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them”: Heidi Heilig’s On This Unworthy Scaffold

At the end of the second book in Heidi Heilig’s Shadow Players trilogy, the Aquitans were stripped of control of their former colony of Chakrana. The people oppressed by colonial rule should be reveling in their sudden freedom, but with the murderous necromancer Le Trépas using blood magic to manipulate the living and the dead, things are about to get much worse. Le Roi Fou, the “mad king” of Aquitan, is not happy about losing a big source of his income and will take whatever exploited resources he can grab, even when those resources are people. Raik, the Boy King, would rather be a puppet than give up his throne, even to his brother. Camreon the Tiger has the stronger claim to the throne, but his time with the rebels puts him at odds with not just his brother but with many of his people as well. Le Trépas sits at the center of this growing hurricane, fueling the winds with his ego and obsession with power.

Jetta, her undead brother Akra, her lover Leo, Leo’s half-sister Theodora, and their friends are the only people who have a chance at stopping Le Trépas, dethroning Raik, and stabilizing Chakrana. But success seems to stretch farther and farther away from them. Leaving the rest of the crew to deal with the Boy King and the undead Aquitans Le Trépas is using to fan the flames of chaos, Jetta and Theodora head to the heart of Aquitan in search of answers and aid. They find both, but not in the ways they expect. Will Jetta trade her kingdom for a king’s stage or will she sacrifice everything she loves to stop a genocidal despot?

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A Tangled Thread: Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne

When was the first time you learned the story of Ariadne, the girl who helped Theseus defeat the Minotaur and escape the labyrinth of Crete? For me, it was in the mythology section of an ancient textbook, passed down by a teacher grandmother. When I was too young I read a tattered copy of June Rachuy Brindel’s Ariadne and desperately wanted to understand it. (I absolutely did not, and remember it only like scraps of a dream.)

We rarely hear about what happened to Ariadne after the labyrinth. There are varying stories, and more than one ending for the daughter of Minos and Pasiphae. But you don’t really need to know any of them to understand Jennifer Saint’s debut novel, Ariadne. Packed with myth and tales of misbehaving gods, it is—for better and for worse—a detailed filling-out of the ways Ariadne and her fellow women suffer at the hands of the ancient, mythological patriarchy.

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Like Home Alone But With Superheroes: Owen Wilson Will Star in Secret Headquarters

So there’s this kid, and it turns out there’s a superhero headquarters under his house. When bad guys attack—as they always do—he and his friends have to defend the superhero hideout.

Okay, so they’re not home alone, exactly, but the vibe is similar. Secret Headquarters is the next film from Project Power directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, and Deadline reports that Owen Wilson has just signed on to star in the “high concept family action movie.” Jerry Bruckheimer is producing the film, so you know the “action” part of that description is certainly accurate.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Riddles”

Written by André Bormanis and Robert Doherty
Directed by Roxann Dawson
Season 6, Episode 6
Production episode 227
Original air date: November 3, 1999
Stardate: 53263.2

Captain’s log. Neelix and Tuvok are returning from a diplomatic mission with the Kesat in the Delta Flyer. Neelix’s attempts to engage Tuvok in conversation or games or something fall on uninterested pointy ears. When Tuvok finally agrees to a riddle, Neelix tells a joke with a bad pun for a punchline, at which point Tuvok retreats to the aft section to get away from him.

[I want to be able to have fun!]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Poppy War Author R.F. Kuang Announces New Novel, Babel

Rebecca Kuang has earned considerable acclaim since her debut novel, The Poppy War: She earned the Compton Crook Award in 2019, and has since earned nominations for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and BFA awards.

Her next is set to come out in 2022: Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution, which she describes as The Secret History meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

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Eight Unusual SFF Librarians Who (Probably) Won’t Shush You

We’re all familiar with the stereotypical conception of the librarian as a person—often a woman—of a certain age carrying a massive pile of books, eyeing you with suspicion over reading glasses before sternly shushing you. Nowadays there’s not as much need for shushing, as libraries are much louder and livelier than they used to be—budget cuts have spurred interest in community programming, and public computers combined with printers have raised the volume on average. It’s more likely that a librarian will give you the stink eye you for not being careful with your coffee while sitting at a computer.

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Martha Wells’ Fugitive Telemetry Is a New York Times Bestseller

Murderbot is back—and back on the bestseller list. Fugitive Telemetry, the latest novella in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries, debuted at #14 on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list, and #4 on the combined print and e-book list. The book is also a USA Today bestseller (#7) and and Indie Bestseller (#12).

Murderbot’s latest outing is a murder mystery: When Murderbot finds a dead body on Preservation Station, there’s a whole series of questions it will have to—reluctantly—help the humans answer. Who was the person? What happened to them? And why?

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The Final Quiet Place Part II Trailer Shows Us the Horror’s Past and Future

The first A Quiet Place film dropped audiences right in the middle of a post-apocalyptic world where making noise of any kind would draw the attention of deadly alien creatures. While its sequel will continue where the story left off, this trailer also gave us an extended look at what the world used to be.

Spoilers for A Quiet Place below.
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Five YA Fantasies With Murderous Mothers

It’s not exactly the most relatable content, murderous mothers. While we love the idea of the protective mother afire with rage protecting her children, there is a distinct discomfort that comes with stories where that rage is instead turned toward their family. We’d much rather look upon motherhood as pure and uncomplicated, all while being well aware that women, even mothers, can be as vindictive, diabolical, and abusive as anyone. But as much as we may insist the idea is unnatural, we fixate on stories of killer moms in real life and in fiction.

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Series: Five Books About…

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Thirty-Five

Happy Thursday, Cosmere Chickens, and welcome to Chapter Thirty-Five of the Rhythm of War reread… also known as, “in which Lyn gushes at length about how accurate Brandon’s descriptions of sword fighting are.”

Sorry not sorry.

But no seriously, I hope you’re ready because my storms do I love this chapter! My sword training is a weird combination of historical European longsword and stage combat for sword, rapier/dagger, quarterstaff/spear, and hand to hand. So seeing chapters like this where it’s clear that Brandon has done his research (and ::ahem:: listened to his beta readers like me and especially Liliana Klein and Carl Fisk) just make me so, so happy. It’s pretty rare to find fantasy authors who actually write sword fights well and yet manage to make them interesting to the uninitiated, so I’m going to do a lot of pointing out of specific details in this chapter.

[There was something solid about a greatsword that Adolin had always liked.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

The Red Sonja Adaptation Has Found Its Star: Hannah John-Kamen

Millennium Films has found its star for its upcoming adaptation of Red Sonja: Killjoys and Ant-Man and the Wasp actress Hannah John-Kamen. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that she’ll play the film’s lead character, and that she’s recently completed work on another upcoming project, Netflix’s Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.

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