You Will Fear the Fuchsia, Yet Again: From Beyond (1986)

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 celebrate Post #350 with the 1986 From Beyond film, loosely adapted from H.P. Lovecraft’s story of the same title by Brian Yuzna & Dennis Paoli; Screenplay by Dennis Paoli; directed by Stuart Gordon. Spoilers ahead, and content warnings for implied sexual assault, deeply non-consensual on-screen groping and mind control, and a lot of people getting their heads bitten off/brains eaten.

[“Humans are such easy prey.”]

Series: Reading the Weird

The Incredible Shrinking Man Saw Beyond the Material Façade of Post-War Prosperity

And so, through massive sacrifice and tremendous acts of courage (plus a buttload of military might and the nightmarish transition of theoretical physics into devastating reality), the Great Evil of the Axis had been vanquished. The United States, the scrappy little experiment in self-governance not two centuries old, now stood astride the globe as a legitimate world power. But down on the ground, the citizens who had given up so much, and the soldiers who had given up even more, were tired of worldwide adventuring: They wanted comfort, they wanted safety, they wanted security.

[An understandable aspiration, but not without its perils. Read on.]

Becoming a Saint in Shadow and Bone

Note: This article contains spoilers for both the book series and the Netflix adaptation of the novels.

There is a fascinating tension between Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series and Eric Heisserer’s Netflix adaptation of the books. Besides the combination of storylines that helped the show keep an addictive pace, showrunner Eric Heisserer has also made considerable alterations to the original trilogy: changing Alina’s racial heritage, adding some truly fantastic lines of dialogue for Mal’s character, and most notably, removing the quandary of whether or not Alina is willing to slaughter a boatload of bystanders in her conflict with the Darkling. Whether or not a protagonist can commit murder for the greater good is a worthwhile discussion on its own, but whether or not a Saint can be a murderer is especially interesting. Particularly because in Bardugo’s trilogy, the author seems to point out how ineffective it is to judge morality between characters in a world with no central moral standard or code.

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The Majestic Gwendoline Christie Joins the Cast of Netflix’s Wednesday

Just when we thought they were done making intriguing casting announcements, Netflix’s Wednesday stepped it up a notch. The whole Addams fam is now cast—but more importantly, Game of Thrones‘ Brienne of Tarth (as she’s pictured above) has joined the show. Gwendoline Christie will play Larissa Weems, the principal of Nevermore Academy, Wednesday’s school—and apparently she “still has an axe to grind with her former classmate Morticia Addams.”

One would certainly like to hope that this show can do better than pitting women against women, but one is really not sure yet.

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What If… “Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” Gives Us a Violent Alternate Reality

Yes, MORE violent.

This episode was difficult. There are some extraordinary moments, but the overall story is so relentlessly bleak that it was probably the toughest for me to watch so far. I’m also not sure I’m okay with how they handled Killmonger, who was, after all, right about a lot of things? (Although so was Nakia, obviously, and I prefer her methods.)

Let’s dive in!

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N.K. Jemisin Is One of TIME’s Most Influential People

’Tis the season for awards and honors, and this one is incredibly well-deserved: TIME has named N.K. Jemisin one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2021. This comes on the heels of Jemisin being named a 2020 MacArthur Fellow; widespread acclaim for her novel The City We Became; and the news that adaptations of both her Inheritance Trilogy and Broken Earth trilogy are in the works—with Jemisin writing the screenplay for the latter.

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As the Computer Commands: The General, Book 1: The Forge by David Drake and S. M. Stirling

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

One thing I look for in summer reading is a story that keeps me turning pages, and there is nothing like the sense of jeopardy you find in military science fiction to keep the reader engaged. One of the better examples of this genre appearing in the 1990s was the General series, co-written by David Drake and S. M. Stirling. The books, loosely inspired by the adventures of the Roman general Belisarius, featured Raj Whitehall, an officer who develops a telepathic link with an ancient battle computer, and fights to restore space-faring civilization to a far-away world whose society has collapsed. The books were filled with action and adventure, and featured evocative descriptions, interesting characters and a compelling setting.

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Stephen King’s It Taught Me About the Shape of Stories

I remember reading IT over a weekend.

Can this possibly be true?

Have I tangled IT up with some of my other fevered reading experiences?

I remember sitting on my middle school bus with my knees pressed into the seatback in front of me, balancing IT on my denim skirt. That’s where I was when I read about Pennywise (“There was a clown in the stormdrain.”) and where I read about a group of kids attacking a couple for being gay and open about it, and I can feel my knees digging into the drab green faux leather, and I can see the lightwash denim on either side of the book, and I can feel hairs prickling up off of my knees cause I hadn’t started shaving yet, despite the skirts (and yes, that did cause me problems) and I remember trying to harden myself as I read—trying to accept the vicious death of a 6-year-old, and the horrific murder of a gay man, because this was a Real Adult Book and this was training for life in the adult world.

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Dive Into the South Asian Fantastic: Tordotcom Publishing Acquires Three Novels by Vajra Chandrasekera

Announcing The Saint of Bright Doors, the first standalone novel in a three-book deal from debut author Vajra Chandrasekera!

Tordotcom Publishing is excited to announce a three-book deal with debut author Vajra Chandrasekera, the first of which will be The Saint of Bright Doors. The deal was brokered by Michael Curry at Donald Maass and is set to publish in Winter 2023.

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Read an Excerpt From Monica Byrne’s The Actual Star

A reincarnated trinity of souls navigates the entanglements of tradition and progress, sister and stranger, and love and hate…

We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from Monica Byrne’s The Actual Star, available from Harper Voyager. Byrne spins a multigenerational saga spanning two thousand years, from the collapse of the ancient Maya to a far-future utopia on the brink of civil war.

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“Kill your ex. You’ll feel better.” — The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Sixteen-year-old Holly Liddell died in 1987, but she didn’t stay dead. Elton, her ethereally beautiful vampire boyfriend turned her into the undead, luring her in with the promise of an eternal life as his beloved. Thirty years later, he ditched her without a thought or care. Things had been bad for a long time, but Holly kept finding excuses to stay. Being dumped was bad enough, but being a vampire means she’s also stuck trailing behind her maker, following him from town to town. She cannot and does not want to get back together with Elton but is also unable to set down roots or build a new life without him.

Now Elton has dragged her back to her hometown, and the past suddenly becomes the present. Holly is killing time (and customers) at a dead end fast food job when she meets Ida and Rose. Elton always told Holly she was his first love and the only person he’d ever turned, but that’s not even close to true. He whispered the same empty vows to Rose in the 1950s and Ida before that in the 1920s. And just like with Holly, he eventually tired of them and moved on. The girls pull Holly into their plot to free themselves from his toxic existence once and for all, but time is running short. Elton is on the hunt again, and has set his sights on another lost girl, lonely high school student Parker Kerr. To save Parker from a fate worse than death and stop Elton for good, Holly and her new friends must make a terrible choice, one that can never be undone and that will alter their undead lives forever.

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