A Second Chance to Save a Dying World: Revealing The Failures by Benjamin Liar

The vast machine-like expanse of the Wanderlands, crafted by long-lost gods, is teetering on the brink of eternal darkness…

Check out the cover of The Failures, the debut novel from Benjamin Liar and the first installment of The Wanderlands trilogy. The Failures will be available July 2024 from DAW Books.

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Do Not Enter: Captives, Double Date, and Trapped

In horror, there’s a long and bloody history of people who are told not to go somewhere and go there anyway, with disastrous results. An abandoned asylum where people have heard screams in the night? The ruins of an old school, rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of former students? A summer camp where a whole bunch of kids were slaughtered a few years back? That creepy haunted house just down the street? All good places to stay away from. But of course, the siren song of mystery, thrill seeking, and a clandestine place to party/drink/have sex away from the prying eyes of adults is just too strong and our horror heroes and heroines invariably end up right where they’re not supposed to be. In Diane Hoh’s Captives (1995), Sinclair Smith’s Double Date (1996), and R.L. Stine’s Trapped (1997), ‘90s teen horror authors get in on this time-honored tradition, with predictably terrifying results.

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The Secret Origin of the Mistress of the Winter Constellations — Star Trek: Lower Decks: “Something Borrowed, Something Green”

One of the first alien species Gene Roddenberry created for Star Trek were the Orions, mentioned as trading in “green animal women” and slaves in “The Cage,” and then seen in one of the illusions for Pike created by the Talosians, with Susan Oliver’s Vina reimagined as one of those “green animal women.”

We saw Orion pirates on the original series in “Journey to Babel” and the animated series in the aptly titled “The Pirates of Orion,” and another sexy Orion woman, played by Yvonne Craig, in “Whom Gods Destroy.” Later uses of the Orions on Enterprise, Discovery, and Lower Decks—with an Orion woman in the main cast—have made the society a bit less cringe-y

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Nine (Very) Short Fantasy Stories With Happy Endings

I love “bite-sized” fiction I can read while enjoying hot chai on rainy days. Lately, as the world seems to grow more pessimistic, I’ve been seeking out stories where good things happen, where characters make those good things happen… Little reminders that things can and do end well, and that we’re not always as helpless as we think. Here’s a list of some recent favorites.

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Beyond “Guilty Pleasures”: When Reading Is Weird, or Hard, or Personal

At some point in my twenties I broke up with the concept of a guilty pleasure. I had heard enough from guys who wanted to try to shame me for liking bands they didn’t think were good, or for reading books they didn’t think were important enough; I decided that I was going to like what I liked, without feeling guilty about that enjoyment. I enjoy bands that aren’t cool and I love the kind of off-brand candy that comes in a see-through bag for 59 cents. Why feel guilty?

There are plenty of reasons to have complicated relationships with things, though, especially art. There are authors we grew up reading or once loved who turned out to be terrible people. Filmmakers who make beautiful movies through which a thick misogynist streak runs. Musicians who also turn out to be real dicey people. The art is still there, speaking to us, and while sometimes you can put aside the ugly bits, sometimes you just can’t. Art is made by complex, flawed humans; experiencing it is not often simple. Complicated relationships are to be expected. (Claire Dederer wrote a whole brilliant book, Monsters, on this topic.)

But there are still books I feel weird talking about. Not guilty. Not bad. Maybe just … a little self-conscious. Squirmy. And that is all I’ve been reading lately.

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Elantris Reread: Chapters 22 and 23 

Happy Elantris Reread Day, Cosmere Chickens! Did you miss us? We’re back with Raoden and Sarene chapters, and they finally meet! We’ve been waiting for this for a while, so watch out for the much anticipated meeting and join us in the city of Elantris while Raoden discovers who Shaor really is and Sarene begins her Widow’s Trial!

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Series: Elantris Reread

A Beautiful, Fierce, Bittersweet Flight: Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee

Here’s what you need to know if you haven’t had the absolute pleasure of reading fiction from Fonda Lee: She can write her damn heart out. And she will rip yours out in the process and you will say, “Thank you, Fonda Lee, you have earned this.” This was my experience (and many readers’ experiences) with the Jade City trilogy, and it was my experience again with her latest, Untethered Sky—a lean, vicious, beautiful and bittersweet story of grief, loss, and rage.

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Hugh Howey Adaptation Beacon 23 Makes the Jump to MGM+

MGM+, the streaming platform formerly known as Epix, is adding another adaptation to its lineup: the series Beacon 23, which comes from creator Zak Penn and is based on Hugh Howey’s tale about a space lighthouse. The eight-episode series was originally intended to air on Spectrum Originals, which no longer exists.

All of those details are well and good, but the important one is this: The show stars Lena Headey (Game of Thrones, pictured above) as a “government agent” who finds herself in something of a test of wills with a lighthouse keeper.

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Star Power: Five Classic SF Works Featuring Tau Ceti

Imagine, if you will, a cautious author of the not so long ago when information on exoplanets was non-existent who desired a plausible nearby solar system in which to place the habitable world on which their story is set. The prudent writer might discard bright stars (too short-lived), multiple star systems like Alpha Centauri and 61 Cygni (stellar orbits may preclude habitable planets), long dead stars like van Maanen’s Star (that would have killed their planets), and dim stars like Barnard’s Star (planets would be tide-locked).

The nearest solitary star that is not excluded by the above criteria is Tau Ceti, which is slightly dimmer than the Sun and only twelve light years away. Thus, it is not at all surprising that this nearby G8 star features in so many classic science fiction stories…

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