Creating Summer Reading Assignments for Grown-Ups

It’s time to read outdoors without cold fingers, to shed coats and cardigans while reading on the bar patio, and to turn my mind to a long-beloved topic: summer reading.

This is a concept we will have to define in order to talk about: I don’t mean summer reading in the beach reads and blockbusters sense. I mean it more like it was meant in elementary school: reading you do over the summer that maybe—sort of?—counts towards school. When I was a kid, it was like being told to do something I wanted to do anyway. Read more books? Cool! It was a pleasant non-challenge, like the time we were supposed to collect gold stars inside a construction paper folder for every fairy tale we read. I would have used up every gold star in the school if they’d let me.

What I want from summer reading now is a little different.

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Queering SFF: 4 Weird and Sexy Books for Pride Month

Welcome to the gayest of months, accompanied by the brightest sunlight and the shortest inseams. What—or, who—are we reading?

Seriously, though.

Given the general vibes (rancid!) and energy levels (unpredictable!) among my fellow queer, trans, and gnc folks in 2023… I thought our Queering SFF: Pride Month special this time around should focus on recommendations for your reading and watching pleasure. When faced with constant real-life horrors, immersing myself in queer art—books, movies, TV shows, games, and more—is one of the things that keeps my spirit glued together. The other is community. Whether those communities are big or small, transnational or within your own neighborhood, there’s something powerful in knowing you’re not alone. Art does that, too.

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Series: Queering SFF

“That means a man for me”: Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black (Part 10)

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we continue Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black with Chapter 11. The novel was first published in 2005. Spoilers ahead! CW for slurs related to ethnicity and gender, and abortion treated as a shameful secret.

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Series: Reading the Weird

Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold to Get Adaptation, With Rebecca Ferguson and Deadpool Director On Board

I’ve long said that Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series was ripe for film or television adaptation, and it looks like Hollywood finally agrees with me! The author’s standalone book in the First Law world, Best Served Cold, is getting an adaptation and not only has some A-list talent attached, but also sees Abercrombie penning the script.

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What Do You Spy in the Title Sequence for Good Omens 2?

The unexpected second season of Good Omens—Prime Video’s adaptation of the book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett—arrives in just under two months, which means it’s time for the teasers and hints to start appearing. And what a treat this one is: The full title sequence for the new season, which is our first real hint at what the story might be about.

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A Lavish, Crunchy Fantasy: Witch King by Martha Wells

I’ve been a fan of Martha Wells since the first Murderbot Diaries book, All Systems Red. So of course I was so excited when I heard about Witch King. I know she’s written a lot of fantasy before, but this would be my first venture into that side of her work. Without knowing what to expect, I dived in. Thrilled to report that I was not disappointed.

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Eight Movies Featuring the Biggest, Creepiest Bugs

The weather is warming up in the Northern Hemisphere and while most people are enjoying the longer days and toasty sunshine, I’m focused on the dreaded fact that bug season is upon us. While I know that insects are necessary to humankind’s survival, a lot of them are also undeniably creepy. There’s the many legs (too many legs), their overwhelming numbers (swarms!), and the fact that some of them are venomous (to the point of being deadly). If you take all of that, scale it up, and stick it in a movie, the result can be truly terrifying.

While I split hairs between fungi and plants in previous lists, I haven’t afforded insects and arachnids the same benefit here. This is mostly because when something creepy is crawling its way towards me, I’m too freaked out to care about which category it belongs to. Now on with the list—here are eight movies that make great use of big bugs.

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Mandy Moore and Kumail Nanjiani Will Star in Insidious Spinoff Thread

The Lambert family’s story is over (theoretically). But the Insidious franchise remains. Deadline reports that Mandy Moore (Dr. Death) and Kumail Nanjiani (Obi-Wan Kenobi) are set to star in Thread: An Insidious Tale, which is described as “an offshoot project” rather than a film in the main franchise narrative.

Presumably it will still be quite frightening, regardless.

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Four Science Fiction Novels Set in Future Versions of San Francisco

San Francisco and the Bay Area are world-famous communities to which many have moved…and many would move if they could afford it. A fair number of SF authors have looked at the hordes populating the Bay Area and wondered “what would all this look like if there were a lot fewer people?” Here are four works that answer that question.

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It’s Turtles vs. Superfly in the Trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Marvel doesn’t have a lock on mutants, that’s for sure. The latest iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arrives this summer, and Mutant Mayhem looks to be a charming (and gorgeously animated) tale just absolutely packed full of mutants—though some dream of going to high school, and some dream of mutant world domination. (Somebody call Magneto!)

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Black Mirror Turns Red (Briefly) in a New Trailer for Season Six

Netflix keeps calling the upcoming season of Black Mirror “The most unpredictable, unclassifiable and unexpected season yet,” which seems like a high bar to set. But maybe they’re onto something? The trailer for the series highlights the five standalone “films,” which range from the experience of a women who finds herself the subject of a prestige Netflix—um, I mean Streamberry—series to a mystifying, Aaron Paul-starring story set in space. And one haunting tale gets a little title card that says it’s presented by Red Mirror.

The connecting tissue is, of course, the mind of creator Charlie Brooker.

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