Reading The Wheel of Time: Elayne Discovers One Secret and Misses Another in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 14)

Welcome back again to our read of The Shadow Rising!

This chapter is really wonderful. Although our time in the Stone has given our characters lots of opportunities to chat with each other and examine their feelings, “Winds Rising” really has the feeling of the Locked Room trope that’s so common in TV especially, where characters are stuck in a room or an elevator or something and forced to spend the entire time talking to each other. Here on the Wavedancer, Thom can play the simple gleeman, but he can’t avoid being studied the way he could in the Stone, can’t slip away when people get too interested in him, as he did with the majhere, or make himself seem more innocuous by taking a room in the servant’s quarters. Everyone is in close quarters (I believe that phrase even has a nautical origin), and they will have an ability to study each other that they might not have, before.

And of course, Jorin’s secret is a more literal example of the problem; she can’t avoid being seen by Nynaeve and Elayne, and one moment of channeling is all it takes to be caught.

[Rand al’Thor may be lucky if the next Age remembers his name correctly.]

Download a Free Ebook of Wild Cards I: Expanded Edition, Edited by George R. R. Martin, Before Dec. 14!

Expanded with new original material, this is how the world of George R. R. Martin’s WILD CARDS began.

Each month, the Tor.com eBook Club gives away one (or two, and sometimes five? You can’t pin us down!) free sci-fi/fantasy eBook to club subscribers. For December 2019, the eBook Club pick is George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards I: Expanded Edition.

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Remembering René Auberjonois: 8 Essential Odo Episodes of Deep Space Nine

Star Trek fans got some sad news on December 8 when it was reported that actor René Auberjonois had passed away at the age of 79. His career as an actor included starring roles on Broadway, voice acting in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and of course, his memorable role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the shapeshifting changeling Constable Odo.

As fans and colleagues express their love and admiration for the life and career of Auberjonois, Trek fans are probably yearning to rewatch his greatest DS9 hits. Every single episode featuring Odo on Deep Space Nine allowed Star Trek to explore the concept of the Other and Othering in brave new ways. And thanks to Auberjonois’ thoughtful portrayal, Odo was more than just a collection of head-scratching sci-fi metaphors. He was, in many ways, Star Trek’s greatest alien.

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SFWA Names Lois McMaster Bujold Science Fiction Grandmaster

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has named Lois McMaster Bujold as the 36th Damon Knight Grand Master, one of science fiction’s highest honors.

Born in 1949, Bujold is a prolific author who is best known for her long-running Vorkosigan Saga, a science fiction universe she began in 1986 with Shards of Honor that currently includes 16 novels and a number of short stories.

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Reading Horses, Part I: Being With the Horse

Genre fiction has an ongoing fascination with horse cultures. Sometimes it’s indirect—the Western lives forever in the likes of Firefly and various regions of the Star Wars canon—but it crops up everywhere. Fantasy of course goes all-in for preindustrial worlds, which lean toward animal rather than mechanical transport.

And yet most modern readers and writers have little direct experience with actual horses. Of those who do, many may have been near a horse once or maybe ridden one a time or two, but day-to-day, in-depth contact is rare. I suspect that’s why fantasy horses so often act like motorcycles. Motorcycles are easier to comprehend, these days, than horses.

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Prosper’s Demon Sweepstakes!

In the pitch dark, witty fantasy novella Prosper’s Demon, K. J. Parker deftly creates a world with vivid, unbending rules, seething with demons, broken faith, and worse men — and we want to send you a copy!

 

In a botched demonic extraction, they say the demon feels it ten times worse than the man. But they don’t die, and we do. Equilibrium.

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Looks Like Gozer Is Back? 7 Questions We Have About Ghostbusters: Afterlife

There’s a new Ghostbusters movie? There’s a new Ghostbusters movie! We got an image teaser way, way back, but this franchise has had such a rocky history of revival that nothing seems real until there’s footage.

And now, there’s footage.

The first trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife is here, and it’s hiding some details that illuminate just what Egon Spengler got up to before his death, and what that’s going to mean for his family and the sleepy town of Summerville, Oklahoma.

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Grief, Trauma, and Space Adventure: Down Among the Dead by KB Wagers

Down Among the Dead is K.B. Wagers’ fifth novel, the middle book of their second trilogy. I should confess up front that I’m a fan: Wagers’ first trilogy is one of the most entertaining and engaging space operas that I’ve ever read, and the second bids fair to build on that—while digging deep into the nature of trauma, trust, and recovery.

You could theoretically have started reading There Before the Chaos, the opening volume of this “Farian War” trilogy, without having read Wagers’ first trilogy in this setting. But fair warning: don’t start with Down Among the Dead if you haven’t read There Before the Chaos. Because Down Among the Dead takes the cliffhanger at the end of There Before the Chaos and runs with it, creating a novel that is as much exploration of grief and trauma as it is a novel of action and space-adventure.

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Eight Ways to Approach the Work of K.J. Parker

Almost five years ago (!), I wrote a beginner’s guide to K.J. Parker for this very site. “Starting with first principles” is still up, and, although 2015 feels like a distant and more innocent time, I’m still standing by every word.

Unlike 2015, however, I can’t pretend that Parker is ‘merely’ a cult author. Parker’s production of short stories, novellas, collections and novels has been matched only by his critical acclaim. Suffice to say that Parker’s brilliance is no longer a secret. But even if Parker hipsterism (Holtsterism) is passé, the author’s quality remains undiminished. The recent albums are just as good as the first one. But Parker’s prodigious output makes the dilemma of choosing one’s first Parker all the more difficult. So where to begin? Parker’s works cunningly defy any sort of simple classification—if I were the sort to ascribe authorial intent, I would shake my fist and declare the author was being deliberately difficult. But there are some themes and trends, or, perhaps better put: axes.

[Let’s get to grinding]

On the Origins of Modern Biology and the Fantastic: Part 15—Star Wars and Polymerase Chain Reaction

Science and science fiction are indelibly intertwined, each inspiring the other since their modern birth in the Victorian Era. Good science fiction, like a sound scientific theory, involves thorough worldbuilding avoids logical inconsistencies, and progressively deeper interrogations reveal further harmonies. This series explores the connection between the evolution of biology and science fiction into the modern era.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” —Yoda in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

What is there to say about Star Wars? What other franchise inspires such love and hate, often simultaneously within the same person? Even if you’ve never seen the movies, you know the quotes. You know the spoilers. What made it such a phenomenon was being in the right place at the right time, and the fact that it has something for everyone: It’s good versus evil. Magic and spaceships. Flash Gordon and Akira Kurosawa. Jungian ur-mythology and campy dialogue. Most of the love-hate can be traced to a creator who at first was convinced of Star Wars‘ failure, and who then became uncomprehending of its success. Both because of, and in spite of, that creator, Star Wars changed everything.

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Get Ready for the Women of The Witcher

The world of The Witcher is a bleak place. Fearsome leshens lurk in the shadows of the forest. Deserted castles are home to vampires, strigas, and other terrifying creatures. Geralt of Rivia, the white-haired monster-slayer who treads the Path in search of work, encounters in his travels war-torn wastelands, plague-infested villages, and endless hordes of raping, pillaging brigands. Luckily for everyone, Geralt is more than capable of wielding a sword amidst all of these dangers. And yet this world is also home to hazards and concerns that aren’t always explored within the action and drama of conventional epic fantasy fiction.

In particular, women and women’s bodies play a hugely important role in Andrzej Sapkowski’s books. The Polish author’s fictional universe depicts the agonising pain of miscarriage, as well as characters dealing with sterility and arranged marriage. In these pages, readers are just as likely to encounter the sting of the abortionist’s needle as the mortal strike of a basilisk. The female body is depicted in surprising and thoughtful ways, even amidst the spattered blood and guts of war. Furthermore, the role of women in politics adds another fascinating layer to the world that Geralt must navigate. Sapkowski doesn’t pander to women, nor does he patronise them. His portrayal of relationships between women encompasses well-meaning sisterhood as well as spiteful in-fighting. At the heart of all this turmoil is Ciri, Geralt’s ward and the Child of the Elder Blood, whose transition from girl to woman takes place under the most extreme circumstances imaginable. Geralt is the series’ main protagonist—the eponymous ‘witcher’ of the best-selling books and games—but he is surrounded on all sides by a cast of complex, fearless women whose own struggles with their bodies and their status in society are brought to life in surprisingly vivid detail.

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Alix E. Harrow Wakes All the Sleeping Beauties: Announcing Two New Novellas

Tor.com Publishing is thrilled to announce that Jonathan Strahan has acquired Alix E. Harrow’s fractured fairytale novellas, which follow the dimension-hopping adventures of Zinnia Gray: a real-life sleeping beauty who pricks her finger on a spindle’s end and finds herself Spider-Versed into a fairytale-version of her story. She and the rest of the sleeping beauties must work together if they want to survive their narratives—or escape them. The first novella is scheduled to be published in Spring 2021.

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