Fear of Desire: Dracula, Purity Culture, and the Sins of the Church

I first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula when I was fourteen. I was shocked how Christian the book was (which should tell you something about how deeply I thought about books written by white Irish guys in the 19th century). I underlined, for instance, when Van Helsing insists, “Thus are we ministers of God’s own wish: that the world, and men for whom His Son die, will not be given over to monsters, whose very existence would defame Him. He has allowed us to redeem one soul already, and we go out as the old knights of the Cross to redeem more. Like them we shall travel toward sunrise; and like them, if we fall, we fall in good cause.”

I underlined this passage because I was a Southern Baptist youth group kid. A religious kid who loved horror, but a religious kid all the same. Even buying my mass-market paperback edition of Dracula felt transgressive. But here, near the end of the book, I was reading lines that would have sounded right coming from any minister or missionary’s mouth. I had known, of course, that the Church was the enemy of the vampire—holy water and crosses (and garlic because, uh, Rome is in Italy?) are potent weapons against this fanged menace. But Stoker’s enigmatic slayer was explicit. He was practically evangelistic in his fervor.

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Alternate Historical Fantasy Done Right in The Shadow of Albion

I will say right up front that this, of all the Norton collaborations I’ve read so far, is my favorite. I love novels of the Napoleonic Wars, both real-world historicals and alternate-world fantasies. I like spy novels. I like fish-out-of-water adventures: characters thrust out of their own worlds or times. Add a strong dose of Faerie and a dollop of portal fantasy, and I’m there.

What’s fun about this is that it’s absolutely a Norton novel, with a whole range of her favorite things to do and not do, and yet Rosemary Edghill’s hand is visible in the smoother prose, the deft characterization, and the range and variety of historical and sartorial detail. It’s Norton, but more. As a collaboration, it’s just about seamless, and for me at least, it works.

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Ryka Aoki’s Light from Uncommon Stars Sweepstakes!

Light from Uncommon Stars is a genre-bending masterpiece featuring donuts, a soul-snatching violin teacher, and refugee aliens—and we want to send you a copy!

 

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars, a defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

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13 Spooky Poems to Get You in the Mood for Halloween

It’s early evening, the sky is dusky and you’ve just gotten cosy on an old rocking chair, with a blanket on your knees and a mug of pumpkin spice at your elbow. Or, you’re lying awake blotchy-eyed at 2 am, fully intent on scaring yourself beyond sleep. Or, it’s nightfall and you’re huddled around a campfire in the whistling dark, knee-to-knee with your friends, speaking in wild gestures and stage-whispers… Whoever you are, wherever you are, you’re reading these words for a reason: you want to get your spook on.

But you’ve read Poe. In fact, you’ve probably perused dozens of works by dead white Victorian men. Time to change things up, so make yourself comfortable: Without further ado, here are thirteen haunting, fascinating poems by women to get you in the perfect mood for Halloween.

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Welp, We Finally Have a Movie That Sure Seems Like Dune

The thing about trying to adapt Dune is that Dune has become something of a white whale for filmmaking ever since the book’s release in 1965. Or maybe it’s a dead albatross? A ladder you walked beneath? Point is, it’s difficult and maybe a little cursed, but not because the story of Dune is actually hard to adapt—people just seem to think it is.

What I watched in the theater was definitely Dune (part one, as it says in the opening credits), so director Denis Villeneuve got that part right.

[Spoilers for Dune: Part One]

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: Seventh Season Overview

Star Trek: Voyager Seventh Season
Original air dates: October 2000 – May 2001
Executive Producers: Rick Berman, Kenneth Biller

Captain’s log. As with both TNG and DS9, Voyager went into its seventh season fully aware that it would be their last year on the air. To that end, several episodes were done with the notion that the show was ending in mind.

Like the two show-runners before him (Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller), Brannon Braga stepped back to the role of consulting producer, with Kenneth Biller taking over the show-running duties. One thing Biller tried to do was address certain outstanding issues, or at least revisit themes that hadn’t been dealt with in a while.

[It took you thirty-three years to come up with “Joe”?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Reading Steven Erikson’s The God is Not Willing: Chapter Two

Well, here we are all too soon at the end of our look at the opening of The God is Not Willing, after diving into the Prologue and Chapter One. We ended Chapter One with the unsettling idea that things are often not what they seem, and we pick up with Chapter Two (after the epigraph, of course) with a question from Spindle that has him worrying about that same concept.

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Asking the Tough Questions About Superheroes and Public Nudity

When I play superhero RPGs or read comics, I cannot help but wonder how it is that certain superheroes manage to stay clothed. Specifically, the ones who were extremely durable whose clothing was not. How do they avoid being frequently naked in public?

They cannot avoid fights; no fun in that. But if they’re hit—there go the clothes. If prone to turning into living flame? Clothes go up in flame. Super-cold? Cloth turns brittle when frozen. Change size? Clothing shreds. Or a teeny-tiny size-changer can slip between the weave of the cloth. Then change back to normal human and oops, no clothes.

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Let the Right One In Understands the Dark Maelstrom That Is Love

For the longest time, I subscribed to the widely-held belief that household pets—your dogs, your cats, your pot-bellied pigs—were incapable of love. They were good simulators—millennia of domestication had permitted them to evolve behaviors that would bind us compassionate humans to them—but it was all surface, just physical traits and instinctual responses to make sure their dinner bowls were filled and their litter boxes were emptied. [Love has the capacity to both inspire and terrify. Read on.]

Hayden Christensen’s Star Wars Renaissance Will Continue in Ahsoka

Darth Vader is a busy man. Or Force Ghost. Last year, Disney announced that Hayden Christensen will appear as Darth Vader in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is set ten years after the Star Wars prequels. But that’s not the only old friend he’ll be hanging out with: Christensen will also play his famous role in Ahsoka, the upcoming spinoff about his former padawan (played by Rosario Dawson), which is set five years after Return of the Jedi.

In Obi-Wan’s time, Vader is still alive. In Ahsoka’s, not so much. So: flashbacks or Force Ghost?

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Seven Thrilling Murder Mysteries With SFF Flair

I have loved murder mysteries since I was in 5th grade. I started with these thriller books from Joan Lowery Nixon, then found the wide and wonderful worlds of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and others. I’ve never looked back. I’ve always been particular about the location of the book, whether it was British country estates, an art museum, or a tea shop.

But in the past few years, I’ve learned the wonders of murder mysteries taking place in entirely new worlds, space or fantasy worlds overlaid on our own. Unlike mysteries grounded in the “real world,” these mysteries have magic and magical beings, advanced technologies that can make plots even more creative and deeper. Personally, it’s all about the clever murder mystery. This list of seven books combines the genre of murder mysteries with that of fantasy and science fiction, whether it’s the locked room mystery but in space, or innovative retellings of the British manor history.

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Vampire Weeknight: Does Night Teeth Bite Off More Than It Can Chew?

Can we all take a moment to appreciate that we live in a post-John Wick world? The we regularly get films that—whatever their base quality—are glowing haven of bi-lighting, neo-‘80s beats, buzzing neon, nostalgia for a time that never was? That we woke up one day and there was some sort of loose, unspoken Weetzie Bat Cinematic Universe?

I am speaking, of course, of the new vampire movie Night Teeth. There’s some fun stuff in Night Teeth! But the element that hit me the hardest was this exact nebulous aesthetic, like if someone listened watched Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, and then listened to The Weeknd’s After Hours, and was like, “That, but with vampires! That’s the movie!”

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