Dealing with the King: John Connolly’s “Razorshins”

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 John Connolly’s “Razorshins,” first published in the July-August 2015 issue of Black Static. Spoilers ahead.

[“I’ll be wanting an extra bottle from you.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Read an Excerpt From Charles Soule’s SF Adventure, Anyone

Inside a barn in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a scientist searching for an Alzheimer’s cure throws a switch—and finds herself mysteriously transported into her husband’s body. What begins as a botched experiment will change her life—and the world—forever…

Over two decades later, all across the planet, “flash” technology allows individuals the ability to transfer their consciousness into other bodies for specified periods, paid, registered and legal. Society has been utterly transformed by the process, from travel to warfare to entertainment; “Be anyone with Anyone” the tagline of the company offering this ultimate out-of-body experience. But beyond the reach of the law and government regulators is a sordid black market called the darkshare, where desperate “vessels” anonymously rent out their bodies, no questions asked for any purpose—sex, drugs, crime… or worse.

Charles Soule’s Anyone takes us to a world where identity, morality, and technology collide—available December 3rd from Harper Perennial. In exciting news, Carnival Films and NBCUniversal recently acquired the rights to Anyone for a planned television adaptation, with Soule acting as executive producer.

[Read an excerpt]

An Expanding, Entertaining Fantasy: Howard Andrew Jones’ Upon the Flight of the Queen

Earlier this year, Howard Andrew Jones started a new fantasy series with For the Killing of Kings, with characters, setting and especially tone reminiscent of the heroic fantasy of writers like Dumas, Lamb and  Zelazny. Telling the story of Elenai and Rylin, up and coming squires in the kingdom of Darnassus, I found this to be a fresh fantasy in my review.  My major complaint was that For the Killing of Kings was clearly the first of a trilogy, leaving many elements of the story hanging: a fleeing Queen, a broken siege, and the enemy Naor on the march, seemingly unstoppable. Even with the return of assumed-dead N’Lahr, greatest general this side of Prince Benedict of Amber, things look bleak for the Altenerai corps and the Five Realms they are sworn to protect.

Upon the Flight of the Queen, the second book in the series, finally continues that story.

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Jon Favreau Shares the Original Concept Art for Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda (aka the Yodaling, here at HQ) has ::PUPPY-DOG-EYE STARE::-ed its way into our souls, and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

This was, of course, entirely by design. On Tuesday, The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau shared the original concept art for the Yod-let on Twitter, and it looks like the final version was carefully engineered for maximum cuteness.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Mission Gamma, Book Two: This Gray Spirit

Mission Gamma, Book Two: This Gray Spirit
Written by Heather Jarman
Publication Date: September 2002
Timeline: July 2376; following Mission Gamma, Book One: Twilight

Progress: Continuing its mission of exploration, the Defiant inadvertently activates a subspace “snare” that releases a swarm of nanobots into the ship and damages all energy systems. Immediately after, an alien vessel positions itself near the ship and attempts to communicate with the Defiant, but the universal translators are initially unable to decode the messages. An alien away team beams into the Defiant’s engineering section. Fearing hostile intent, since they appear to be attempting to interfere with the warp core, Nog phasers one of the intruders. After the universal translators finally kick in, the crew learns that these aliens, the Yrythny, were trying to help. As the Yrythny “technologist” Tlaral explains, they have been subject to many such attacks by the Magiesterial Cheka Kingdom. The Cheka wish to exploit the Yrythny’s unique genetic provenance: in the distant past the ancient Others created a “Turn Key” in the Yrythny’s genome, accelerating their evolution. Vaughn accepts an offer of help from Tlaral that will take the Defiant to Vanìmel, the Yrythny homeworld.

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The Sex Chart That Changed My Life: Spectrums of Sexuality in John Varley’s Wizard

I was fifteen when a good friend loaned me his battered copy of John Varley’s novel Wizard. At that point in my life, I was the only girl running with an all-male group of nerds who were obsessed with computers and science fiction. Because my friends were mostly guys, I’d started to wonder if there was something kind of weird about my gender, and maybe my sexuality too. But I wasn’t sure what that meant.

And then I leafed through Wizard. In the section after the title page, where fantasy novels have maps, Varley had a complicated chart of all the sexual positions possible for his aliens, the Titanides, who possessed three sets of genitals. Every year, the Titanides competed for the best sexual positions, and the winners were allowed to reproduce. As I looked over the little boxes full of circles and arrows indicating group sex, solo sex, gay sex, and whatever-the-hell sex, I felt seen for the first time.

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Michael Moorcock’s Elric Saga Optioned for TV

At long last, Michael Moorcock’s Elric Saga could be coming to TV! Deadline has reported that “exclusive rights to all works” in the series have sold to New Republic Pictures’ Brian Oliver and producer Bradley J. Fischer, who are currently shopping a potential TV series around, with The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara and Star Trek: Discovery’s Vaun Wilmott signed on to adapt.

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A Joker Sequel Is Reportedly In the Works, Along With Another DC Character Story

Regardless of how one feels about Todd Phillips’ gritty, Scorsese-inspired take on DC’s most iconic villain, it’s undeniable that Joker has made quite the dent in this year’s cultural conversation. And it looks like it’s paying off. According to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, the director walked into a Warner Bros. meeting wanting to make an entire “portfolio of DC characters’ origin stories,” and came out with the rights to “at least one other story,” plus a deal for a sequel to Joker.

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How The Dragon Prince Became the Best Fantasy Show on Television, Animated or Not

Well do I remember my excitement when the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones was first announced. As a dyed-in-the-wool fantasy nerd and a reader of the series from its late ‘90s inception, I thought its translation to the screen was a no-brainer: With Martin’s iconic characters, vivid world, and film-ready dialogue, HBO was handed a cinematic gift on a platter. I went on to defend the show from the initial snobbery with which it was received by critics, most notably by Ginia Bellafante of The New York Times, in a Huffington Post essay that went viral. And for a while there I felt vindicated, as the first couple of seasons of the show did ample justice to the books.

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6 Speculative Fiction Books About Migration

It’s not surprising that immigration, migration, and the associated questions of belonging are rife in science fiction and fantasy. Maybe the most fundamental trope of the genre is travel to another world, whether through space, time, or alternate universes. Protagonists might travel for exploration or on desperate missions or crash land or fall through a portal and find themselves suddenly outsiders in an utterly strange place. Or they might be faced with immigrants—aliens, fae, time-travelers, off-shoots of humanity—in their own world. What makes it particularly potent is that often the reader experiences the disorientation and fascination of migration along with the character(s). Our process of figuring out the world-building mirrors the process of slowly learning about a new place, giving us an extra layer of identification and connection.

These stories in speculative fiction also give us a way to think about the challenges of migration and outsiders without being tied to specific examples in real life that readers might already have preconceptions about. (This can go badly wrong, of course, when fictional species are mapped onto stereotypes of IRL groups.) Readers can focus on the situation and potentially identify with characters they might see as irretrievably distant from themselves if they were given identities familiar from news reports or histories.

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Series: Five Books About…

On Fragile Waves, the Debut Novel From E. Lily Yu, to Publish in Fall 2020 With Erewhon Books!

Erewhon Books will be publishing the debut novel from Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award nominee, and winner of the Astounding Award for Best New Writer of 2012, E. Lily Yu.

This exquisite and unusual magical realist novel, On Fragile Waves, is a heartbreaking and haunting story about one refugee family’s quest for a new home in an unwelcoming world, told in prose that’s both beautifully economical and intensely lyrical. On Fragile Waves will be published in the Fall 2020 season.

[Read more]

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