The Battle of Four Armies: Carrie Vaughn’s Questland

Carrie Vaughn’s Questland is a day-after-tomorrow tale of a fantasy theme park gone very wrong.

Insula Mirabilis (literally, Wonderful Island) off the coast of Washington State is the pet project of billionaire Harris Lang. It’s going to be the ultimately geeky fantasy theme park once it is complete—immersing visitors in an experience that would put Westworld to shame. But when the island puts up a force field from the inside and a coast guard cutter hits it and loses all hands, things get real. Lang needs to get a team in and shut down the field and regain control of the island. 

[Read more]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Child’s Play”

“Child’s Play”
Written by Paul Brown and Raf Green
Directed by Mike Vejar
Season 6, Episode 19
Production episode 239
Original air date: March 8, 2000
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. Since Voyager now has five kids on board, they hold a science fair. Azan and Rebi cloned potatoes (they apparently wanted to clone Naomi, but Seven convinced them to try something simpler first), Mezoti developed a colony of ants that are bioluminescent, Naomi created a detailed scale model of her father’s homeworld of Ktaris, and Icheb created a sensor array designed to seek out wormholes.

[I like bugs…]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Five Easy Steps Towards Monetizing Your Magical Practice

The following is written in the voice of Ropa Moyo, a ghosttalker who makes a living carrying the messages of the departed in T.L. Huchu’s The Library of the Dead—available from Tor Books. Who better to offer career advice than a cynical teen caught in the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh?

So you’ve just discovered you have the ability to see ghosts. Congratulations! This is such a rare and potentially marketable talent, which you should be thinking about exploiting as soon as you get over the shock, fear and other associated emotional responses you may experience from witnessing the dead walk among us. The dead and their survivors have needs postmortem, and research shows exponential growth in the service industry for ghostalkers, mediums, bereavement counsellors, funeral directors, and other associated professions.

[Read more]

The Further Adventures of Professor Challenger by Arthur Conan Doyle

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Recently, Anne M. Pillsworth and Ruthanna Emrys reviewed a rather lurid story from Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Horror of the Heights,” about airborne jellyfish creatures threatening early aviators (see the review here). This story, with its pseudo-scientific premise, reminded a number of the commentators of Doyle’s always entertaining (and always irritating) character, Professor Challenger. And it occurred to me, even though I’ve reviewed his most famous adventure, The Lost World, that still leaves a lot of Professor Challenger to be explored. So, lets go back a hundred years, to a time when there were still unexplained corners of the Earth, and join the fun!

[Read more]

Murder Books 101: How To Survive a Slasher

My new novel, The Final Girl Support Group, comes out on July 13 and it made me think long and hard about murder books. Since we started telling stories, a disproportionate number of them seem to be about killing each other, a trend which got refined to its essence in slasher movies and serial killer books. Murder Books 101 is a place where we can talk about the tics, tropes, and habits of humanity’s favorite literary genre.

A slasher movie is a motion picture in which a group of people are murdered one by one until the last one left, known as the final girl, defeats or escapes the killer. Unless you’re in The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982), where the killer stuffs the final girl into an incinerator at the end and the camera lingers on the plume of human smoke rising into the night sky. Slasher movies started in 1974 with the release of Black Christmas and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—although you could follow their lineage all the way back to 1932’s 13 Women, in which Myrna Loy uses astrology to murder the sorority sisters who publicly exposed her biracial background. Halloween (1978) established the essential slasher template, but it was the release of Friday the 13th (1980) that kicked the genre into overdrive.

[How do we survive this world of carnage? By following a few simple rules.]

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Forty-Two

Greetings, Oh Ye Chickens of the Cosmere! We’re back with the penultimate chapter in Part Two, in which many things come crashing down: stairways, soldiers, Syl’s mood, Navani’s throne… Yeah, it’s one of those chapters. Oh, don’t worry, there’s worse to come. But that’s for next week. This week, we have a “famous last stand” and a proud surrender.

[Odd, that she should feel most a queen in the moments before the position was taken from her.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Stepford Pets: Lisa Tuttle’s “Replacements”

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 Lisa Tuttle’s “Replacements,” first published in 1992 in Dennis Etchison’s Metahorror anthology. Spoilers ahead.

[“How would you feel about keeping a pet?”]

Series: Reading the Weird

Scarlett Johansson is Reportedly Climbing Aboard Disney’s Tower of Terror

The latest Disney theme park ride getting a big-screen adaptation is Tower of Terror, the haunted Hollywood hotel/elevator ride. Collider reports that Scarlett Johansson has her next Disney project (post-Black Widow, above) all lined up: She’s on board to star in and produce the Tower of Terror film. Josh Cooley (Toy Story 4, Inside Out) is writing the script.

[Read more]

Read an Excerpt From Ryan Van Loan’s The Justice in Revenge

The island nation of Servenza is a land of flint and steel, sail and gearwork, of gods both Dead and sleeping…

We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from Ryan Van Loan’s The Justice in Revenge, book two in the Fall of the Gods series. Expect boardroom intrigue, masquerade balls, gondola chases, street gangs, and shapeshifting mages in this fantasy adventure, publishing July 13th with Tor Books. Start here with chapters one and two, or jump in below!

[Read more]

Looking for Body Positivity and Fat Protagonists in YA Fantasy

The YA fantasy I grew up with had a paradox at its heart.

I wanted to be just like the heroes from these books, whose stories spoke to my experiences: feeling like I looked different than everyone else, like I didn’t fit in, knowing that my peers didn’t like or accept me, thinking that grown-ups couldn’t understand why I felt so isolated.

And yet I never once actually saw myself in these books. The heroes of these novels were invariably white, able-bodied, heterosexual, and cisgender. (Fortunately, this has started to change in the intervening years.)

They were also invariably thin. This has not changed very much at all.

[Read more]

Crack the Case With 5 SFF Detectives

She walked into my office on a pair of gams so long she almost gave herself a haircut on the ceiling fan. She was a real classy website, the kind I didn’t normally see in my line of work, but judging from the black eye, her comments section could get a little rough.

She leaned on my desk and told me she had a job for me.

“I need a list of five detectives” she told me. “And I will pay you a modest amount.”

I leaned back in my chair, remembered it was a stool and rolled onto the floor.

“Sounds like a real easy job. What’s the catch, dollface?”

“They all have to be from science fiction or fantasy” she said, like she said things like that to men like me every day of the week. And maybe she did. Maybe that was one of her go-to article formats. Maybe the world was really that sick a place.

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Erewhon Books Announces Kalyna the Soothsayer, the Debut Novel From Elijah Kinch Spector

Erewhon Books is thrilled to announce the acquisition of Kalyna the Soothsayer, a debut novel from Elijah Kinch Spector following a woman born without the Gift of future sight that has been her family’s legacy for generations. She must pretend to tell fortunes for a prince who holds her family hostage—and navigate the potential collapse of the kingdom. World rights were acquired by Sarah Guan at Erewhon Books from Hannah Bowman at Liza Dawson Associates. Kalyna the Soothsayer will be available in February 2022 from Erewhon Books.

[Read more]

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.