Four young women go on a camping trip. Things slowly begin to go wrong.
Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.
This week, we’re reading Premee Mohamed’s “Us and Ours,” first published in Jennifer Brozek’s 2019 anthology A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods. Spoilers ahead.
Series: The Lovecraft Reread
Young adult urban fantasy gets a jolt of diversity with Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. In this K-drama inspired tale, two teens fight against a host of magical odds, a task made more difficult as they develop feelings for each other. People they trust betray them, and their enemies might not be opponents after all—nothing ends up being as straightforward as they initially thought. Action? Check! Mystery? Check! Romance? Triple check!
It turns out that you can use clues from the new Harry Potter mobile game Wizards Unite to place it precisely within the timeline of the main books and their follow-up “eighth story” play. So when does Wizards Unite take place?
(Spoilers for Wizards Unite and the Cursed Child apply.)
The Machineries of Empire trilogy wrapped up last June—bringing to a close one of the most engaging, provocative high-concept sf series I’d read in some time. Yoon Ha Lee, however, has not finished with that sprawling universe at large. Hexarchate Stories brings together a set of stories that spans over four-hundred years of worldbuilding and a handful of regime changes, shifting in style and tone from intimate (sometimes sexy!) flash fiction to plot-rich, dramatic tales of intrigue and violence.
Three of the stories in the collection are previously unpublished, including the closing novella “Glass Cannon” (set after Revenant Gun, the third Machineries of Empire novel), while the earliest reprinted piece is from 2012. The scope of initial publications ranges from magazines like Clarkesworld to Lee’s blog, and as such, the length and style of the stories also varies significantly throughout. That level of variation makes for a fast, entertaining reading experience, particularly for a collection of short fiction where all the stories share the same background.
Even aside from its massive box office draw, Avengers: Endgame was more than a movie. It was a bonafide social phenomenon, with people from all walks of life coming together to share in the stories of their favorite characters.
To a certain extent, this anticipation makes sense. Superheroes have been crowdpleasers for nearly a century now, and Captain America, Iron Man, and other heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been building a following almost as long. Furthermore, Endgame and its predecessors enjoy both consistently competent (if sometimes unremarkable) filmmaking and the full marketing machine of Disney, one of the world’s most powerful corporations.
But as demonstrated by the failure of Universal’s Dark Universe and Warner Bros. so-called DCEU, no one does shared universes like Marvel. Well, Marvel and The Conjuring. Sprung from the 2013 meat-and-potatoes horror film directed by James Wan, The Conjuring Universe has blossomed into an interconnected story across seven films and counting, pitting Catholic heroes against demonic forces.
With the most recent entry Annabelle Comes Home pulling together each of those parts, we might have something like the Endgame phenomenon in a darker, scarier hue.
As we’re moving deeper into the summer, we’re also thinking about the deepest reaches of space and all of it’s possibilities. This month’s Sci-Fi titles are all about exploration, adventure, and defiance in the face of danger. Wander through a sleepwalking America in Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers; Explore the powers of mathematics and telepathy with Cas Russell in Null Set by S.L. Huang; and return to the world of Three-Body Problem in The Redemption of Time by Baoshu, translated by Ken Liu.
Head below for the full list of science fiction titles heading your way in July!
When we talk about cities that major catastrophes always seem to gravitate toward, it’s New York, right? New York City, entertainment’s favorite home to heap destruction onto. The Big Apple (thought no one really calls it that) can rarely go a year at the box office without someone laying into it and tearing up enough streets to wreck the traffic pattern for a century, from The Avengers to The Day After Tomorrow to Watchmen to Planet of the Apes‘s iconic ending. Other cities have fallen pray to this practice too, of course: London’s not looking too great in Reign of Fire; Tokyo saw the events of Akira unfold and is always dealing with that pesky Godzilla problem; a T. rex stomped through L.A. in The Lost World; Washington D.C. has suffered its fair share of trauma from Olympus Has Fallen to Captain America: Winter Solider. But there’s another city that has been quietly attempting to tie New York’s record, through no fault of its own—
—what exactly do we have against Venice, Italy?
I didn’t get into comics, really, until I was fresh out of college and doing a slew of horrible internships and temp jobs. I was sharing a house with a group of roommates I didn’t really get along with and spending most of my time as a captive audience for various weird flavors of office politics, under the thumb of bosses who ranged from borderline harrassy to just kind of obnoxious. I was determined to write fiction, but I kept writing in circles, and I was groping desperately for the motivation to keep scribbling, rather than just play video games for a few more hours. And then winter came and it dumped a few feet of snow on me, making my commute to the latest depressing nowhere job that much more awful.
And that’s when I really discovered comics, and got lost in their four-color worlds. I started going to some local comic-book stores and just buying up tons of back issues, especially the ones in the quarter bins. I didn’t even care what they were: I bought armfuls of indie experimental comics alongside complete runs of Batman and the Avengers. I read about the Infinity Gauntlet in the same session as Love and Rockets. And that’s when I discovered Vertigo Comics, which was DC Comics’ weird, experimental imprint.
Four young women go on a camping trip. Things slowly begin to go wrong.
It took news of Vonda McIntyre’s death to spur me to read Dreamsnake, which had been sitting on my shelf above two years before I cracked it open. I deeply regret that, because it means I’m far too late to be able to write her a fan email telling her how much I appreciated this novel.
Series: Sleeps With Monsters
“She didn’t know that the dragons were coming for her.” With good reason: Dragons rarely intrude into American hospital wards, but it’s in that incongruous setting that Michael Swanwick begins his new novel, The Iron Dragon’s Mother. We meet Helen V. at the end of an interesting—she’s “gone scuba-diving in the Maldives [and] found herself inexplicably judging an air guitar competition in an unlicensed slum bar in Johannesburg [and] spent a summer trying to convert a rusty old Ferrari to run on vegetable oil because she’d fallen in love with a boy who wanted to save the world”—but ultimately unsatisfied life. She’s dying in a hospital with no visitors, little grace, and few consolations. She derives her scant pleasures from tormenting her caretakers with snark and allusion; they retaliate by delivering sermons or withholding morphine. She’s a lifelong walker-out and escaper-from; since she can’t leave the hospital, she’s immersed in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which posits “an instant of freedom” at the very moment of death. She doesn’t believe, but she’s willing to try: “Crap and nonsense” it may be, but “still, escape is escape.”
And so Helen dies, and Helen leaps, and Helen finds herself in another person’s head in another person’s world.
Earth is dying. Luna is uninhabitable. Mars is our last chance. Denver Moon, P.I., returns in The Saint of Mars, a new adventure from Warren Hammond and Joshua Viola—available July 9th from Hex Publishers. From now until June 28th, you can enter to win a Denver Moon prize pack featuring both books, a graphic novel, and a soundtrack!
Six months have passed since Denver Moon smashed The Minds of Mars into the red planet, destroying the ship’s horrific cargo and delaying the alien danger of human mind control. Now, in the dark underbelly of Mars City, Denver and her faithful AI-installed pistol, Smith, are hot on the trail of a suspect they believe is responsible for the disappearance of numerous citizens in Red Tunnel. But as they close in on the culprit, they uncover an even greater threat. An android revolution is stirring within the ranks of the Church of Mars, and its leader is an old enemy who aims to settle scores and shatter the fragile balance of power on Mars.
Denver Moon, P.I. faces an android revolution within the Church of Mars in Denver Moon: The Saint of Mars. We want to send you a prize pack featuring book one, Denver Moon: The Minds of Mars, book two, Denver Moon: The Saint of Mars, the graphic novel Denver Moon: Metamorphosis, the Denver Moon comics 1-3, and the Denver Moon CD soundtrack!
Six months have passed since Denver Moon, P.I., smashed The Minds of Mars into the red planet, destroying the ship’s horrific cargo and delaying the alien danger of human mind control. Now, in the dark underbelly of Mars City, Denver and her faithful AI-installed pistol, Smith, are hot on the trail of a suspect they believe is responsible for the disappearance of numerous citizens in Red Tunnel.