The Vampire Diaries Creators Reteam for More “Love, Death, Thrills and Tears” in Dead Day

Vampires never die, and neither do really good partnerships. The Vampire Diaries creators Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson are working together on a new project for Peacock—one that got ordered straight to series. Dead Day, based on the comic series by writer Ryan Parrott and artist Evgeniy Bornyakov, focuses on the annual holiday “Dead Day,” when the dead return to life for just one day.

As the book’s summary explains, “Some come back to reunite with family and friends, others for one last night of debauchery, still others with only one thing on their decomposing mind: revenge.”

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Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice and the Joy of Being Surprised

It’s always a great feeling when a writer blindsides you in the telling of a story. There you are, you’ve been taken in hand and gently guided into another world, and things are moving along and it all feels perfectly normal … basically, you’ve been quietly seduced, and you’re not even aware of it, until a scene arrives and in a flash, everything changes.

I’d not read Hobb before and knew nothing of her. I don’t know why I bought Assassin’s Apprentice; the impulse to buy is pernicious.

Started reading, admired the controlled point of view, the leisurely pace. Liked the boy-and-his-dog riff that was going on. Never even occurred to me that something was odd about that relationship, until the Scene. I won’t spoil it here, but that relationship ends with a brutal event, shocking in its seeming cruelty. Yet, it was in that moment that I realised the fullest extent of that quiet seduction. I’d bought so completely into the boy’s point of view that I sensed nothing awry about it.

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A Reading Spreadsheet Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

“That seems too much like work,” a commenter said, two weeks ago, about reading spreadsheets, and I haven’t been able to get that thought out of my head. If you work all day with spreadsheets, I can understand not wanting to return to their gridlike shapes in your after-hours. But if they just sound intimidating? The thing about a spreadsheet is that it’s only as complicated as you make it.

There are some impressive, elaborate versions out there; just searching “reading spreadsheets” will turn up loads of templates. But I like to keep it a little simpler. Okay, a lot simpler. And to tell you the truth, no reading tracking system has ever been easier—once I got the basic template up and running.

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Beyond Critical Role: Four More D&D Shows You’ll Love

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Dungeons & Dragons and Critical Role lately, and with good reason: We’re currently in a sort of renaissance for tabletop RPGs, with live stream shows leading the charge to make these games feel accessible and exciting. Critical Role has blazed a trail over the last seven years, adapting their live stream home game into everything from a podcast to graphic novels to a new animated version of their first campaign, The Legend of Vox Machina, premiering January 28th on Amazon Prime. If you’re new to live-watching D&D games (or to D&D in general), then welcome! You have so much awesome content awaiting you…

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Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty-Six

Welcome back to the Rhythm of War Reread my friends! I’ll say right up front that this was a tough chapter to get through. Many of us have distrusted—and generally disliked—Taravangian ever since the end of The Way of Kings, and this conversation with him is frustrating in so many ways. He can be so right and so wrong at the same time. Well, come on in and join the discussion, and let’s see what we can do with it.

[He needed to talk to Taravangian in person.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Swallows and Pocket Watches: Christopher Caldwell’s “The Calcified Heart of Saint Ignace Battiste”

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 cover Christopher Caldwell’s “The Calcified Heart of Saint Ignace Battiste,” first published in the January/February 2022 issue of Uncanny Magazine. Spoilers ahead, but go ahead and read this one yourself!

[“The Mother arrives on foot. She is small and slight, and hidden beneath her veils…”]

Series: Reading the Weird

God Unlikely to Return for Good Omens’ Second Season (UPDATE)

Neither God nor the Devil will be making a return appearance for the second season of Good Omens—at least not as we previously knew them. Frances McDormand and Benedict Cumberbatch are not among the actors set to appear in Amazon’s sequel series, though many familiar faces will be back, including Derek Jacobi (still playing Metatron), Mark Gatiss, Miranda Richardson, and Jon Hamm.

A handful of new cast members have also joined the series, though most of their roles remain a celestial mystery.

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Hitting the Slopes in Christopher Pike’s Slumber Party and Carol Ellis’ The Window

The teens of ‘90s horror get into plenty of trouble at home, but this is nothing compared to what they find when they hit the road. There are several books in which roving groups of teens are sent off on their own, entrusted with a wealthy friend’s parents’ beach house or vacation home for a long weekend, with no adult supervision at all. In both Christopher Pike’s Slumber Party (1985) and Carol Ellis’s The Window (1992), teens head out on ski trips, excited to get away from home, have some fun, and hit the slopes.

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Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes Is the Namesake for a New Price Index

In his novel Men at Arms, Terry Pratchett detailed the “Sam Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socio-economic unfairness,” which crisply explained how expensive it is to be poor. In short, “A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time,” Pratchett wrote, “while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

Now, the Pratchett estate has given Jack Monroe, a writer in the UK, permission to use Vimes’ name for the Vimes Boots Index, a price index that will track the “insidiously creeping prices of the most basic versions of essential items at the supermarket.”

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Not an Adventure but a Myth: C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra

Ransom realizes soon after his arrival in Perelandra that he is not on an ordinary adventure: “If a naked man and a wise dragon were indeed the sole inhabitants of this floating paradise, then this also was fitting, for at that moment he had a sensation not of following an adventure but of enacting a myth.” The echoes of Eden, of the story of Jesus, are not a mistake in Ransom’s world, not even a coincidence. He’s in a Passion Play—the medieval drama in which the players tell the story of the life and death and resurrection of the Christ.

It’s not an allegory; Lewis bristled at those who suggested this interpretation.

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Series: The Great C.S. Lewis Reread

Bad Science: Five SF Stories Involving Selective Breeding

It might be comforting to tell oneself that eugenics—the conviction that one can breed one’s way to better humans by encouraging the fitter ones to have more children and those considered to be less fit to have fewer—was a horrible fad that went out of fashion after the unpleasantness in the mid-20th century. Of course, that’s not true. State sanctioned sterilization of those deemed inferior continues to the modern day.

It’s not surprising that science fiction authors have not always resisted the lure of eugenics as a plot starter. Why not apply to humans the same techniques that transformed the humble wolf into the majestic chihuahua? Here are five stories that engage with the notion in different ways.

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