Playful Metafiction: Paul Park’s A City Made of Words

Paul Park’s A City Made of Words is the latest volume in PM Press’s Outspoken Authors line of short science fiction collections. We’re now twenty-three volumes into the series, each of which combines an interview with the author, a bibliography of varying completeness, and some combination of new and reprinted writing—and until I read this new book, I thought I knew how they worked. There were, on the one hand, the collections that might serve as introductions, books like Elizabeth Hand’s Fire or John Crowley’s Totalitopia, concise proofs of the author’s value. On the other hand I counted such books as Samuel Delany’s The Atheist in the Attic and Michael Moorcock’s Modem Times 2.0 as essential reading for the committed that would challenge, mystify, or scare off neophytes.

With A City Made of Words, Park eludes my categories. I can’t decide whether this book is a perfect entry to the author’s work, or written for committed Park readers only. I suspect that the author intends this. Let me explain. 

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“I am not a foolish young girl!” — Sheena

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle was the first comic book to have a female lead, preceding Wonder Woman‘s 1941 debut by a good four years.

A creation of the Eisner/Iger Studio that produced tons of comic books in the 1930s, Sheena debuted in Wags magazine in 1937, and soon thereafter appeared regularly in both Jumbo Comics and her own title. Inspired by the works of W.H. Hudson (whose Rima, the “jungle girl” heroine of his 1904 novel Green Mansions, was an obvious inspiration for Sheena), Edgar Rice Burroughs, Rudyard Kipling, and H. Rider Haggard, Sheena would inspire many jungle queen-type characters.

Twice, Sheena has been adapted into television, in the 1950s starring Irish McCalla and in the 2000s starring Gena Lee Nolin, and between those, there was a movie in 1984.

[You will be welcome in Zukuru! The head man’s locust bean cakes- they will be your locust bean cakes! His fermented buffalo milk will be your fermented buffalo milk!]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Disney Isn’t Going Forward with Villain-Centric Book Of Enchantment Series

Disney will not produce an adaptation of Serena Valentino’s Book of Enchantment book series for its streaming platform, Disney+, reports Variety.  The news comes ahead of Disney’s D23 convention, which kicked off today in Anaheim, California.

Word broke earlier this year that the company was developing the series with producer Michael Seitzman (Code Black, Intelligence, and Quantico), designed as an “epic universe that weaves classic Disney tales told in a brand new way.”

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Sci-Fi & Fantasy Indie Bookseller Picks: Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, CO

I’ve been reading fantasy novels since I was tiny. My dad read me The Hobbit when I was 5 and that was it. I devoured everything from the Belgariad to Narnia, and grew into the Stormlight Archive and Star Wars novels. When I was hired at Old Firehouse Books, I was thrilled to find out that this general bookstore has a significant lean. We sell a little bit of everything, it’s true—fiction and non-fiction, kids and adult, new and used—but it’s well-known that about half the staff skews toward science-fiction and fantasy, if given the choice. We’re housed in the original fire station of Fort Collins, CO (the old fire pole is next door in the teashop we’re attached to), but the fact that our building is the inspiration for the fire station on Disney World’s Main Street, USA, must have bled some magic into the hearts of everyone who works here. There are more than a few of us who’d love to wander not to the past but to the far-off fictional future.

There’s just something immensely satisfying about escaping into not just a different story, but a whole different world (or a whole different solar system. Or galaxy. Or dimension).

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