When an illicit trade deal goes wrong and Quandary is blamed for it, she goes on the run to avoid the crosshairs of a bioengineered killer that only lives for 24 hours. If Q can evade it for that long, she just might survive.
I recently happened across a Twitter conversation in which an author asserted, with the unwavering confidence of a person about to denounce the heliocentric model of the Solar System, that mystery/detective/police or legal procedurals are antithetical to horror/fantasy. This is a claim for which I am grateful. My quest for inspiration is endless and nothing serves me quite as well as a bar so low it requires a trench.
The assertion is unsurprisingly related to a debate back in the 1950s about whether science fiction mysteries were possible, given that detectives could easily solve the mystery with futuristic technology in a manner the reader could not duplicate. As one might expect from writers, a number of them took this as a challenge. Thus, a small flurry of science fiction mysteries appeared in the 1950s. Perhaps most remarkable was Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, which chose as its setting one in which getting away with murder should be impossible, before depicting how one might go about doing just that in a society filled with telepaths.
In this case, the easiest disproof seems to be to provide at least one example of the eight combinations of mystery, detective, police, and legal procedurals with fantasy and horror.
In September of 2020, publishing phenomenon Christopher Paolini made his adult science fiction debut with the instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. Now, Tor Publishing Group is proud to announce that they will be publishing Fractal Noise, the next standalone entry in Paolini’s Fractalverse series. Fractal Noise will be edited by Editorial Director William Hinton.
Martha Wells’ Three Worlds are a bravura achievement. They’re a single planet populated by literally hundreds of different species, many of them sentient, and most more or less able to coexist—with a few notable exceptions. The “worlds” themselves are the three realms which people and animals inhabit: sea, land, air. Various species move back and forth by various means, but it’s generally clear which of the realms they primarily belong to.
The central species, the one around which Wells’ novels and stories revolve, is the Raksura. Originally they were two species, a winged predator and an arboreal omnivore; by magic and genetic engineering, they combined into one. By the time of the books, they’re thoroughly amalgamated into colonies or courts, ruled by queens.
There are many ways to start a week off right, and one of them is with this trailer. Building on July’s emotional teaser, the latest look at director Ryan Coogler’s next movie is full of glimpses of a new conflict—this one between the people of Wakanda, who are still mourning the loss of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), and the people of Atlantis and their leader, half-Atlantean Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner (Tenoch Huerta).
We’ve finally got a full blown trailer for Netflix’s Cabinet of Curiosities, an anthology series created and curated by Guillermo del Toro that looks suitably scary—no surprise given that other scary talent such as Babadook director Jennifer Kent and Hannibal director Vincenzo Natali are involved in creating eight terrifying tales.
Robert Eggers, the writer-director behind The Witch, The Lighthouse and The Northman, has always wanted to do a movie about that blood-sucking creature of the night, (The?) Nosferatu, a.k.a. Dracula. While previous attempts have failed, it looks like his dream project is moving forward once again.
This week in episode six of The Rings of Power, Arondir and Bronwyn fight back against the orcs, and we learn the truth about Adar and what the evil blade is for. Also, the Númenóreans spend a lot of time in transit. Which is fine, Mordor wasn’t built in a day…
Poor Ponder. He doesn’t deserve this.
Series: Terry Pratchett Book Club
A Night in the Lonesome October is Roger Zelazny’s last novel and still stands as both my favorite Zelazny and my favorite book to open when it’s time for a fall reread, leading up to Halloween. It’s broken into chapters for each day of the month of October—which not only makes it eminently rereadable, but also means it’s the perfect autumnal treat to go along with my pumpkin spice latte. In fact, I encourage everyone I know to read or reread it along with me every Halloween—won’t you join me?
John Carpenter, the mind behind the characters from the Halloween franchise and The Thing (ed. note: not to mention my personal fave, The Fog), will add movie marathon host to his list of titles. The filmmaker and composer will be guiding us through Shout! Factory TV’s Masters of Monsters weekend in November, where he’ll share his love of all things Godzilla.
It’s a culmination of the last couple of years—as well as the last couple of months for me, personally—that’s led to me being drawn to books hyperfocused on death. You don’t need to look far lately to find books with themes on grief, death, and horror, especially in the YA genre. There’s a boom happening here with standouts across all genres, and Adalyn Grace’s Belladonna is an enticing romantic gothic fantasy that carves out its own space among the macabre.
The next installment in the Planet of the Ape movies is coming at us, and Freya Allan, who plays Ciri on Netflix’s The Witcher, is on board in the leading non-ape (a.k.a. human) role.
The weird thing about Bones and All, the much-lauded second movie in which Luca Guadagnino directs Timothée Chalamet (after Call Me By Your Name), is that the book it’s based on seems to be… not really about his character. Camille DeAngelis’ novel is described as “at once a gorgeously written horror story as well as a mesmerizing meditation on female power and sexuality.”
This looks like something else.
Books and textual artifacts have been frequent catalysts in Gothic and horror literature. H.P. Lovecraft’s characters have The Necronomicon and Francis Wayland Thurston discovers dark truths he cannot live with in his dead uncle’s notes in “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928), while the Overlook Hotel seduces Jack Torrance with a pile of historical documents in Stephen King’s The Shining (1977). Offering detailed chronicles of the past—whether recent or ancient—and forbidden knowledge that can be achieved in no other way, these books serve as both repositories and doorways.
Books bursting with dark secrets play a similarly pivotal role in Sinclair Smith’s The Diary (1994; also published as Let Me Tell You How I Died) and Peter Lerangis’ The Yearbook (1994).