How the Space Race Might Have Happened: Space Platform and Space Tug by Murray Leinster

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.

Today we’re going back to the 1950s to look at a pair of books by venerable science fiction author Murray Leinster that imagine what the early days of the space program would be like. We will follow the adventures of everyman Joe Kenmore, whose plans to play a small role in the effort expand beyond anything he could have imagined. The action never slows as the story barrels along at breakneck speed, and the technology depicted by Leinster veers from the wildly imaginative to some remarkably accurate predictions.

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Rewriting the Tradition: Destiny and Diaspora in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun

Recently, we’ve been blessed by authors of the Asian diaspora producing and publishing incredible works of SF/F literature, but what many people don’t realize when reading English-language SF/F inspired by Asian history, literature, and culture, is that each book embodies a unique, diasporic reception of that so-called heritage.

Particularly in the Chinese tradition, there are three thousand years of thinkers, philosophers, essayists, poets, novelists, and satirists that contributed to the culture. There are schools of thought that metastasize and spill over into squabbling branches that snipe at each other for subsequent centuries; there are critics and scholars and libraries full of annotations buried in intertextual commentary. Faced with this unwieldy, ponderous inheritance, each author working with the Chinese tradition has to choose—how much of the tradition will they lay claim to, to reimagine and reinvent?

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Decadent Magic and Dangerous Secrets: Revealing Hotel Magnifique

We’re excited to share the cover and preview an excerpt for Emily J. Taylor’s debut novel, Hotel Magnifique! Pitched as The Night Circus meets Caraval, this YA fantasy is set against the backdrop of a magical Belle Époque-inspired hotel, and follows seventeen year old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary hotel. Hotel Magnifique publishes April 5, 2022 with Razorbill.

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Alena has momentarily escaped her world and its imminent gravitational collapse by cheating her way into the selection process of the Board of Cosmogamy. By passing this stringent exam, she may finally learn the secrets of building a universe from first principles. But the competition is smarter and better prepared, and even Alena’s cunning and mathematical talents may not be enough to uncover the answers she has been looking for. The appearance of a strange competitor reveals that Alena may not be the only candidate with hidden motives.

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This Way Madness Lies: A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Last school year, Felicity Morrow’s girlfriend Alex disappeared. Some speculate she ran away after a humiliating public incident. Others whisper that she was killed by Felicity in a fit of rage. Now, returning to school after spending the year recuperating in therapy and a mental hospital, Felicity is back at her elite New England all-girls boarding academy, Dalloway School. She reclaims her old room in the centuries-old Godwin House, but not her previous position near the top of the social hierarchy. That’s fine as far as she is concerned. She wants to finish her senior year with as little chaos as possible. But with the arrival of her new dormmate Ellis Haley, that plan scatters like ashes in the wind.

Ellis, a hotshot novelist, transfers to Dalloway to work on a new book about the Dalloway Five. In the 18th century, five Dalloway girls died in terrible circumstances, and many believe they were murdered for being witches. Ellis embeds herself in the legends, and that includes Felicity, who spent months researching the women and the accusations of witchcraft. Felicity is drawn to Ellis, and Ellis in turn tries to help her new friend confront her trauma instead of burying it. The closer the two girls get and the more intimate their relationship becomes, the more Felicity begins to believe she’s being tormented by Alex’s malevolent spirit. Bumps in the night, figures cloaked in shadows, impossible notes left in books…is Felicity being haunted by a ghost or her own guilt? Or is something—or someone—else to blame?

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Apex Magazine Funds Kickstarter for 2022 Year

Apex Magazine, the publication arm of Jason Sizemore’s Apex Book Company, took a break starting in 2019, and returned earlier this year. Sizemore’s been working to get the magazine back up to self-sustaining status, and launched a Kickstarter to help fund its return.

Now, the magazine is looking to keep the publication going: It’s launched and fully funded another year of fiction with a new Kickstarter, which you can now back.

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New Trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage Gives Kasady Symbiote Powers

Sony’s take on the classic Spider-man anti-hero Venom was a bit of a surprise when it hit back in 2018: a chaotic and violent superhero film, but one saved by an entertaining performance from Tom Hardy.

Now Sony’s back for another outing, introducing another classic supervillain, Carnage. Judging from the trailer, it looks as though it’s leaning more heavily into the supervillain goofiness, along with the violence and gore that’s associated with the characters.

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Six SFF Works to Embrace When You’re Not Feeling Your Best

It’s difficult to do anything when one is sick or feeling down. While others might nap away a minor fever or watch Netflix, my go-to solution for when I can’t focus on any work during a sickness nor sleep any more (because I napped too hard during the day) is to read books. I also turn to reading for comfort whenever I’m just not feeling my best. Sometimes, the books find me and I realize they were exactly what I needed on an otherwise gloomy day.

The following is a list of works—from fairy tales and post-apocalyptic comics to science fiction and children’s books—that distracted me during a recent bout of fever, along with stories I’ve turned to when I wanted to take a break from my life and lose myself in a feel-good world where I don’t have to overthink everything, where I can just sit back and let the words take over…

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Reading The Wheel of Time: Pranks and Practice in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part Two)

As Reading The Wheel of Time rolls into the second week of New Spring coverage, I once again have done that thing that I do—been certain I could get through two chapters (two measly chapters!) and yet found that I had too much to say and could only get through one.

And as before, I feel like I can blame Jordan for this! Poor planning on my part aside, he really does pack a lot into his chapters, especially the ones that don’t have much action in them. There’s just so much juicy detail in Chapter Three it that I couldn’t stop dissecting it. Even the recap was a struggle—I wanted to include everything! I tried to cut down on how much I recounted sections that were reiterating things that we already know—like who the Sea Folk are and what it’s like being an Accepted—so hopefully we’re not rehashing too much old ground.

[Women had died in the testing, but obviously not from bungling a weave.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

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