Anson Mount First Thought the Strange New Worlds-Lower Decks Crossover Would Be Like Roger Rabbit

We found out at San Diego Comic-Con this year that there will be a Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks crossover coming our way in 2023. When the news first broke, there was some confusion as to whether Lower Decks’ voice actors Tawny Newsome (“Marnier”) and Jack Quaid (“Boimler”) would be animated or show up in live action. It turns out that Captain Pike himself, Anson Mount, was initially confused as well.

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The Joy of Painting Middle-earth With Ted Nasmith

If you’ve ever picked up an illustrated book written by J.R.R. Tolkien, or spent time clicking around on the internet in fantasy circles, or if you’d seen the posters on my dorm room wall years ago—or, heck, scrolled through any of the posts of The Silmarillion Primer—basically, if you’ve lived on Planet Earth over the last few decades, then you’ve surely chanced across the scenic, brilliant, and exceedingly prismatic illustrations of Ted Nasmith. I mean… if chance you call it.

Ted is a luminary, an artist and illustrator of… well, many things, but he’s best known for depicting Tolkien’s world more or less how we’re all imagining it. Or maybe you’re imagining it, in part, due to Ted’s work. From official Tolkien calendars to illustrated editions of the professor’s books to The Tolkien Society’s journal covers, he’s dipped his toe and his brushes into Tolkien’s mythology so many times there’s just no keeping track of it all. You know, I’m going to come right out and say it: Ted Nasmith is basically the Bob Ross of Middle-earth.

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Jo Walton’s Reading List: July 2022

July was spent at home reading and working on the new essay collection, and at the very end flying to Albuquerque for Mythcon, where very excitingly my novel Or What You Will won the Mythopoeic Award! (I never expect to win awards, I’m so thrilled to be nominated for them and on the ballot next to such great books, so it’s always an exciting surprise on the occasions when I do win.) I had a great time at Mythcon, seeing people, through masks, but seeing people, and having conversations. Before that, I read 21 books, and some of them were great and some of them were not. The good ones make up for all the others, and I’m glad I get to burble to you about the excellent ones and warn you off the terrible ones!

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A Beloved City of Music and Magic: The Ballad of Perilous Graves by Alex Jennings

There’s a point midway through Alex Jennings’ novel The Ballad of Perilous Graves in which Casey, an illustrator who is one of the novel’s central characters, looks at a sketch of a comic book character. In this case, it’s the magnificently-named supervillain Doctor Bong (so named because he wore a helmet in the shape of a bell), who debuted in Steve Gerber and Marie Severin’s late-1970s run on Howard the Duck.

Casey observes that his take on the character is “more monstrous,” and goes on to describe it in greater detail: “More like something Richard Case would have designed for Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol, but with the suggestion of Mignola’s deep shadows.” In one passage, Jennings has invoked a trio of iconic runs on various comics—encompassing the satirical verve of Howard the Duck, the surreal heroics of Doom Patrol, and the wide-ranging riffs on mythology and folklore found in Mike Mingola’s comics, especially Hellboy. And it may not come as much of a surprise to learn that many of those same descriptions apply to Jennings’s own novel.

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Found Family Saves the Universe: Fault Tolerance by Valerie Valdes

Valerie Valdes’ Fault Tolerance, third in her stories of Captain Eva Innocente and her friends and family, brings the scrappy trader Captain her greatest challenge yet, with stakes are truly interstellar in scope.

Captain Eva Innocente and her crew’s  prior adventures,  Chilling Effect and Prime Deceptions, have always somewhat belied their covers: you’d think these novels were completely frothy and light space opera novels, fun but not particularly deep. The cute and cuddly cats on the cover just emphasize that. Cats in space, that has to be all sweetness and light. Right?

[Not quite.]

Characters Out of Time: The Steve Rogers Support Group

Authors wishing to highlight noteworthy details of their cunningly crafted settings may encounter one vexing issue: for people raised in those milieus, there is nothing remarkable about them. The characters won’t comment on or explain things that puzzle us readers. Or at least they should not.

Introducing an outsider, especially one from an earlier point in history, provides useful perspective on the ways in which this new world differs from the past. It is not surprising, therefore, that SF authors have embraced a variety of ways to drop olden-time observers into futuristic worlds.

Here are five tried-and-true olden-time-observer insertion methods…

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What Would Have Happened in the Never-Made Stargate Extinction Movie?

It’s not unusual for the creative team behind a cancelled series to have some idea of where they wanted to go next. But for better or worse, we don’t always get to hear about those plans. (Sometimes it’s painful to know what we missed out on!)

When Stargate Atlantis ended in 2009, it was on a note full of potential. And, as writer and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi explained on a recent podcast, they knew where they were heading: Back to Pegasus, with a time travel twist.

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The Power of a Myth Retold: Hadestown Makes A Melodic Case For Reviving and Reimagining Stories

“It isn’t finished yet,” sings a caught-off-guard Orpheus when Eurydice asks him to sing the song he’s working on. 

Every night, Hadestown runs again. Orpheus repeats the phrase, and a new audience whisks away to the industrial reimagining of Hades in which the musical takes place. 

Hadestown brings the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice into the modern era, punctuated throughout with folksy, melodic music by Anaïs Mitchell. In case you’re unfamiliar, the original myth sees Orpheus trek to the underworld to retrieve his lost love, Eurydice. When he arrives, Hades strikes a deal with the boy. Orpheus may walk out of the underworld, and Eurydice may follow him, but he cannot look back. The entire journey must be undertaken facing forward and looking ahead, without checking to see whether his love still remains behind him. If Orpheus looks back, Hades will claim Eurydice for good. Normally I’d let you guess how it ends, but the finale is important to my point. If you don’t want spoilers for Hadestown (or an ancient myth), here’s your warning. 

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Starz’s Outlander Prequel Is About Jamie Fraser’s Parents

You get a prequel! And you get a prequel! In February, news leaked that Starz was developing a prequel to the still-running Outlander. Details were very thin, though as Vanessa Armstrong noted, author Diana Gabaldon had previously said she was working on a book about Jamie Fraser’s parents, Ellen MacKenzie and Brian Fraser. Now it’s official: The Fraser parents are the focus of the prequel series, which is officially moving forward and has the title Outlander: Blood of My Blood.

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Landlines and Mystery Callers: Party Line, The Wrong Number, and Call Waiting

While some elements of ‘90s teen horror remain relevant to a contemporary reading audience—like friendship drama, boyfriend troubles, trying to fit in and be accepted by one’s peers—others already feel like vestiges of a bygone era, like mimeograph machines and landline telephones. If these characters just had cell phones or access to the internet, it would change everything. Not sure where your friend is and worried she’s in danger? Text her. You’re being followed by some creepy dude who just might be a murderer? Call 911. Mysterious new guy school? Google him and stalk all his social media looking for his dark secret. But the guys and girls of ‘90s teen horror have none of these options and find terror on the landline in A. Bates’ Party Line (1989) and R.L. Stine’s The Wrong Number (1990) and Call Waiting (1994).

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Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Eighty-Eight

Hey-oh! Welcome back to the Rhythm of War Reread, where we dig into every chapter in excruciating (not to say excessive) detail! The flashbacks are coming quickly these days, making up for the complete lack of flashbacks in Parts One and Two. Of sixteen chapters so far in Part Four, this is the fifth flashback, and the penultimate one for this Part. (There’s one last flashback in Part Five, and it’s the most beautiful flashback ever, I think.) Anyway, this is the chapter where the two future paths of the listeners are set up, with two opposing spren coming into play. Come on in and join the discussion!

[I gave up my dreams. But I will not give up our minds.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

I Wish the Goblin King Would Come and Take You Away: Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “When I Was a Witch”

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 Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “When I was a Witch,” first published in the May 1910 issue of The Forerunner. You can find it most recently anthologized in Theodora Goss’ Medusa’s Daughters anthology. Spoilers ahead!

[I might as well make a good job of it while this lasts…]

Series: Reading the Weird

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