Spec Fic on Identity and Culture: Infinite Constellations, Edited by Khadijah Queen and K. Ibura

Looking for a new short speculative fiction collection? Khadijah Queen and K. Ibura, two literary powerhouses, have you covered. Infinite Constellations: An Anthology of Identity, Culture, and Speculative Conjunctions brings together a variety of short stories and poetry, new stories and reprints, and longer pieces and excerpts, all from veteran and up-and-coming authors.

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Shazam! Fury of the Gods Needs More Joy, Less Bad Mythology

It’s been four years and a lot of growing up for the Shazam family (Shazam Fam? ShaFamily? Zamily?), but despite the recent shakeup with the DC film universe and its incoming Gunn-ification, we still have this sequel to contend with. Is it awkward trying to find the middle ground that Shazam and company occupy while its parent studio chucks millions of dollars in multiple directions that will likely never touch what we’re seeing here?

I mean, yeah. That’s really only one piece of the problem, though.

[Spoilers for Shazam! Fury of the Gods]

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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “North Star”

“North Star”
Written by David A. Goodman
Directed by David Straiton
Season 3, Episode 9
Production episode 061
Original air date: November 12, 2003
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. We open in what looks like a stereotypical Western town from the late nineteenth century on Earth. A bunch of guys on horseback lynch someone whom they identify as a “Skag.” Only after the opening credits do we see anything familiar: Archer, T’Pol (wearing a head-scarf), and Tucker in appropriate outfits, noting the figure in the coffin, who apparently has weird things on his neck that weren’t clear in the night-time scene earlier. Scans have confirmed that these people are all humans, the horses are horses from Earth, and they somehow wound up in the Delphic Expanse.

[The progress on Earth, it didn’t happen overnight.]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Allow Me To Make a Gentle Plea For More Space Horror

Sometimes, for no particular reason, I think about the chair.

I’m talking about the chair in Iain M. Banks’s Use of Weapons. The one that haunts the story throughout its reverse narrative, culminating in a horrifying reveal about the main character, the personal demons he’s been running from, and the lengths people will go to inflict pain upon others.

It’s far from the most horrifying thing in a Culture novel; it’s not even the most horrifying thing in that Culture novel. (Isn’t that the one with the cannibal cult island?) But in a book and a series where civilizations clash for millennia and tens of millions of people are regularly wiped out as plots points, it’s this very personal, small-scale horror that really sticks with me.

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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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