Understanding Horses: Horses, Anger, and Letting Go

2021 has been an amazingly, mind-blowingly, devastatingly chaotic year so far—and it’s still only January. In the US we’ve swerved from deadly insurrection to presidential impeachment to presidential inauguration, with a brutal sidecar of pandemic. On top of all that, the city of Tucson commemorated the tenth anniversary of the shooting in front of a supermarket that killed six people and severely injured several more, including our congresswoman, Gabby Giffords.

I remember that day all too clearly. I came home from Saturday-morning errands to the news that had been clanging through the multiverse: that a member of the US Congress had been shot in front of a supermarket. She was dead. She wasn’t dead. Others were dead, wounded. This many, that many. Shooter in custody. Lone gunman, had an accomplice, not political, yes political, nobody knew, though speculation was rampant.

That was my congressperson. That was my city that had been reduced to sound bites. The shock to us all was profound and lasting—just as it has been everywhere else that has seen its peace shattered by violence.

For me on the farm, surrounded by animals, and especially horses, the effect was not at all muted. But it was transmuted.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Extreme Risk”

“Extreme Risk”
Written by Kenneth Biller
Directed by Cliff Bole
Season 5, Episode 3
Production episode 197
Original air date: October 28, 1998
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. Torres is doing orbital skydiving on the holodeck, albeit with the safeties disengaged. In mid-free-fall, she’s summoned to engineering, but she fobs off her duties onto Seven, to the latter’s surprise.

Voyager is launching their fancy-shmancy new multispatial probe, incorporating Borg design elements Seven has provided. However, while it’s gathering data, a Malon freighter snags it in a tractor beam. Tuvok is able to command the probe to send a polaron burst to shake off the tractor beam, at least, but the Malon refuse to respond to hails, and Voyager is two hours away. Kim is able to direct the probe into a gas giant; the Malon follow and are destroyed—the Borg shielding keeps the probe safe.

[We are not designing a hot rod, Lieutenant.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

HBO Max Is Developing the Inevitable Harry Potter TV Series

Honestly, it’s kind of amazing it took this long. According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO Max executives have been meeting with writers about a possible Harry Potter (pictured above) live-action television series. It’s unclear whether this would be another adaptation of the books or something new set in the Wizarding World. “Sources say broad ideas have been discussed as part of the early-stage exploratory meetings,” according to the report.

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Surviving a Hell of a Year With Hades

Hades was going to be a beloved game no matter when it was released. The game has rich, complex, and deep characters with a charming, queer hero at the center of the story, where building relationships with those around him is just as important as knowing what weapons to use. There is gorgeous artwork and voicework of gods, monsters, and men, quenching those thirsty legions of the internet and pulling players deeper into the story, and lore that encourages replay again and again, revealing more as you make your way up through the layers of Hell. All of this and more would make Hades a fan-favorite, and already, it sits with the top games I’ve ever played.

But the more I think about it, the more I’ve realized: Hades has become such a wild success because in so many ways, it has functioned as a template about not just how to survive 2020, but how to thrive in what many would consider a truly hellish year.

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All the SFF Winners of the 2021 ALA Alex Awards

The American Library Association is currently holding its annual midwinter meeting and exhibits conference, and part of the event is its Youth Media Awards—which houses the Alex Awards, a slate of prizes that are handed out “to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18,” from the prior year.

The ALA just announced this year’s Alex Award winners, and it includes a number of science fiction and fantasy titles.

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Building a Bridge Between Cultures in CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner Series

In previous columns, I’ve explored how intercultural communication works in the first and second trilogies of CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner series. In the third trilogy (Destroyer, Pretender, Deliverer), the focus is mostly on politics, and there’s not a whole lot of linguistic content to comment on. Bren spends the first book on the run, the second getting to Shejidan, and the third chasing a missing person. And somehow, all of this takes place in about a week! But we get our first real atevi POV: Cajeiri, Tabini’s 8-year-old son, and through him, we gain a lot of insight into atevi culture and man’chi. [Read more]

Five Dark SFF Books That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

As I was putting together this list, a pattern started to form. Some of the funniest books I’ve read were also the darkest. I’ve always gravitated to stories about evil in our world…how do we respond when we’re confronted by the corrupt politician, an organization eating away at our societal values, a monstrous act? The problem with these weighty topics is that they can sometimes feel… well, too weighty. The authors I admire most know this, and balance that darkness with a comic tone, aware that stories can become too bleak, and veer into unrealistic territory. No person is all good or all bad, and these moments of levity remind us of that.

So, without further ado, here are five books that made me laugh out loud.

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Series: Five Books About…

Two Titans Duke It Out in the First Trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong

Ever since it was announced, Warner Bros.’ Godzilla vs. Kong has held the promise of some titanic action between its two titular monsters.

With the film set to release in just over a month, Warner Bros. has finally given us our first look at the upcoming match-up, showing off what looks to be some spectacular action scenes as the two monsters go head to head onboard an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean.

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