Foxes, Dragons, Tigers, Goblins, and Angry Ghosts: Yoon Ha Lee’s Dragon Pearl

Way back in the day, an editor who was among the Great Old Ones said to me, “Fantasy readers are OK with science fiction in their fantasy. But science fiction readers aren’t too fond of fantasy in their science fiction.” That was hard wisdom for my happy genre-bending self, but at the time, it was the way.

I’m sure there are still many readers who want their science served straight, no chaser—and there are plenty of books and stories that give them what they love. But I am really liking the mix of genres that I’m seeing in certain quarters. Space opera is great fun anyway. Add a dose of supernatural and we’re in for a grand ride.

We’ve seen werewolves in space with a Southeast Asian flair. Yoon Ha Lee gives us a range of Korean shapeshifters in his series for younger readers. The first volume, Dragon Pearl, stars a fox spirit named Min and an assortment of other supernaturals and shifters, including a dragon, a tiger, and a goblin.

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Five Authors We Wish Had Written More

I was enormously pleased to read on Mastodon that not only is that classic SF work The Fortunate Fall returning to print, but The Fortunate Fall’s author Cameron Reed is working on a new novel. Huzzah! This is ever so much better than the other model, in which an author produces a promising body of work, then goes silent, apparently forever.

Herewith, five authors from whom we would like, or would have liked, to hear more.

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Mike Flanagan’s Dark Tower Adaptation May Have Characters From Doctor Sleep

Mike Flanagan is still moving forward with his dream project—the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. This isn’t the first time, however, that Flanagan has tackled King’s work. The filmmaker also directed Doctor Sleep, King’s sequel to The Shining that was critically well-received but didn’t do so well at the box office. Fans of the film, however, may get to see some of those characters once again in Flanagan’s Dark Tower project.

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Thumbs Up! Denzel Washington and Barry Keoghan Join Paul Mescal in Gladiator Sequel

Are you ready to be entertained? It’s been twenty-three years since Ridley Scott’s Gladiator premiered and we saw Russell Crowe star as the titular gladiator who faces off against Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus (pictured above). After more than two decades, Scott is apparently ready to make a sequel focused on the son of Lucilla (nephew of Commodus), because he seems to think that’s the angle people really cared about from the first film.

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5 Unconventional Fantasy Heists

We hear heist tales from the time we’re children, don’t we? World mythology and folklore are filled with clever, tricky humans who steal items of value from demons and gods. Even Disneyesque fairy tales have them. Once Jack goes up that beanstalk, what is the rest of the story but a heist?

The fantasy genre embraces heists in all flavors and textures. Here are five of my favorites.

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Five Fantastical Musical Experiences You Can Find in the Real World

I’m no stranger to exploring the unique intersections of fantasy books and music. I’ve extolled the virtues of books that make great use of music. I’ve offered soundtracks to amp up your reading ambiance. Novels often have a melodic quality about them, threading music into the fabric of their worlds.

On the other hand, our own world offers fantastical musical experiences that are magical in their own right. Music has the power to connect us to the fantasies we seek out in our favorite books. Below are five ways of experiencing music that remind me of getting lost in a fantasy world…

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A Different Kind of Speculative Future: Meru by S.B. Divya

One of the obvious things that science fiction lets us do is imagine what humanity’s future could look like: Will we travel to the stars? And if so, what will we do there, and how will society have changed along the way? Many authors have explored potential scenarios, and many of those imaginings come with a world where humans continue to try to conquer everything they come across. Sometimes that drive is depicted positively, sometimes negatively, sometimes a mix of both. But in all these instances, homo sapiens’ drive to grow and conquer remains the same.

But what if that didn’t have to be the way? What if humans (or the beings that evolve from us) take a different approach to their place in the cosmos? What if growth and expansion aren’t the end-all and be-all for civilization?

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Expect the Unexpected — Star Trek: Picard’s “Imposters”

We in the early twenty-first century live in an age of constant news. Television, web sites, newspapers, magazines, all compete for the ability to inform you of things, whether politics, sports, local news, or entertainment.

In the face of all these different news sources, it’s always very impressive when a major production like Star Trek: Picard manages to surprise us with a guest star. But they did it this week, and even if it had been expected, it would’ve been welcome. And that they managed to surprise us with it, in a season that has been hyped up the kazoo, is pretty danged impressive.

I’m not saying what it is until after the cut-tag on the front page, so just to be sure: BIG HONKIN’ SPOILER WARNING!

[I’m gonna step outside so the three of you can get your bullshit stories straight…]

Five Stories About Precocious Young Wizards

Imagine, if you will, a story featuring a wizard, sorcerer, or mage who is not an elderly greybeard or crone but rather a child or teen. Ideal fodder for books aimed at younger readers (and some adults as well).  Such an original idea would no doubt earn billions…even though so very many authors have been down that road before.

Consider these five works from this well-established subgenre.

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