A Reminder to Please, Please Vote!

Today, we’re exactly one week out from Election Day here in the U.S. Whether you’re voting by mail, in person, or absentee ballot, your vote is so incredibly important, and we’re asking you to please do everything you can to make it count—and encourage everyone you know to do the same!

If you’re eligible to vote, you can find all the resources you need—including instructions, deadlines, voting guides, and personalized ballot information—at VOTE411.org, a nonpartisan website brought to you by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.

As always, thanks for reading, and thank you for making your voice heard this November 3rd!

Just Bleed for Me: Watching A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and the Documentary Scream, Queen!

In 1985 New Line Cinema produced A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, taking a risky angle on the slasher that starred a ‘final boy’ possessed by the titular movie-monster. However, the gay subtext of the movie contributed to a negative public reception and the film tanked. More unfortunately, lead actor Mark Patton was gay… but wasn’t out at the time the film was released, so the role that was supposed to launch his career contributed to its end. He disappeared from Hollywood. Then fast forward to last year, when directors Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen along with Patton himself released Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street – a documentary exploring those buried tensions in the film within the context of ‘80s media, the slasher genre, and horror fandom at large.

I kept hearing about the documentary on the queer podcasts I follow, and that whetted my appetite. Obviously I’d missed a part of gay horror history, and that just wouldn’t do. So, for spooky month, I decided to tackle a double-feature of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) and Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2019)—for the education, for the culture!—but had an unexpectedly emotional experience in the process.

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Sarah Tolmie Explores the Past From Horseback in All the Horses of Iceland

Tordotcom Publishing is thrilled to announce the next novella from Sarah Tolmie, Aurora and Rhysling award-winning poet and author of The Fourth Island. All the Horses of Iceland is a compact historical saga that traces the imagined descent of the Icelandic horses along a Viking trade route, melding folkloric and magical traditions along the way.

Everyone knows of the horses of Iceland—wild, and small, and free—but no one really knows their story. All the Horses of Iceland weaves the myth of their origin, a myth that follows one Icelander across the steppes, and unfolds with a ghostly magic that transcends the borders between civilizations.

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Rhythm of War Read-Along Discussion: Chapter Seventeen

Well, here we are again! Did that chapter have some unexpected developments, or what‽ As a continuation of last week’s events, this week gives us a wacky combination: overview of the past year, current status of the war, the Mink’s reactions to developments, plus rumors and proposals. Come on in, and let’s talk it over!

[By Kalak’s mighty breath. This is incredible.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Read Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson: Chapter Seventeen

On November 17, 2020, The Stormlight Archive saga continues in Rhythm of War, the eagerly awaited fourth volume in Brandon Sanderson’s #1 New York Times bestselling fantasy series.

Tor.com is serializing the new book from now until release date! A new installment will go live every Tuesday at 9 AM ET.

Every chapter is collected here in the Rhythm of War index. You can also listen to the audiobook version—head here for the full playlist.

Once you’re done reading, join our resident Cosmere experts for commentary on what this week’s chapter has revealed!

Want to catch up on The Stormlight Archive? Check out our Explaining The Stormlight Archive series!

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Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Andre Norton Takes to the High Seas in Yankee Privateer

The more Andre Norton I read and reread, the more convinced I am that her real forte, and her real talent, lay in boys’ adventure. She tried all sorts of genres, and from the Sixties onward she developed a clearly feminist sensibility. My favorite works of hers have strong female protagonists and relatively complicated emotional arcs.

And yet, she seems most at ease in worlds with little or no sexual tension, and nothing to distract from the headlong pace of the action. Usually it’s a man’s world, with women’s voices heard seldom if at all. Women exist to die offstage (especially if they’re the protagonist’s mother) or to act as servants or to play the role of witch or Wisewoman. The relationships that matter are between men.

Yankee Privateer, published in 1955, is a relatively rare excursion into straight historical fiction.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Year of Hell” (Part 1)

“Year of Hell” (Part 1)
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 4, Episode 8
Production episode 176
Original air date: November 5, 1997
Stardate: 51268.4

Captain’s log. A Krenim vessel piloted by Annorax fires on a technologically advanced planet. The weapon causes all the technology to disappear, leaving the world a verdant space untouched by sentient alterations. This was a Zahl colony, but the temporal incursion Annorax just caused did not alter the target event as expected. So Annorax instead decides to wipe out the Zahl all together, not just their colony.

[The Titanic? As I recall, it sank…]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Black Lightning Predicted the Worst of 2020…And Showed Us How to Survive It

Black Lightning has never been afraid to tackle current issues. For three seasons, the show has consistently carved out time in its story about a Black superhero coming out of retirement to shed a light on tensions and struggles that may affect the viewer in a very real way. Although I recognized that the show has been doing an exceptional job of examining society as it is, I never expected it would predict what the world would become.

But that’s what happened in season 3. The audience saw characters tackling problems and challenges that would affect the real world only a few months after episodes aired. And while the show’s startlingly accurate predictions are impressive, the writers also gave us suggestions about how to confront these issues. Their prescriptive solutions ensure that Black Lightning season 3 does more than paint a grim portrait of where we are today—it shines a light on the path we can take to move forward.

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The Monstrous Machines of Corporate Capitalism

Since Frankenstein, science fiction has worried about the consequences of creating artificial life. Would we make monsters (or robots, or monster-robots) that would destroy their creators? Or can we duplicate whatever it is that makes us human? (That begs the question of whether or not that’s even something to which any self-respecting monster—or machine—should aspire.) My first encounter with the question came in college, when I first saw Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. The answers there were yes and empathy, with the film portraying replicants as more human than the real humans, rebelling against their creator(s), and also against the corporate system that enslaved them.

Twenty-odd years later, Martha Wells’ Network Effect (and the rest of the Murderbot Diaries) still grapples with the essence of that question, but also reframes it. She throws out the human/machine binary and focuses more closely on how the effects of capitalism, condemned by default in Blade Runner, are entwined with notions of personhood.

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Spend New Year’s Eve Chilling With Sabrina Spellman

The charming Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is back, though not in time for Halloween. In July, it was announced that Netflix had cancelled the show, but the fourth part was already filmed—and is set to begin streaming on New Year’s Eve. Ringing in 2021 with Sabrina and friends as they face off against some Eldritch Terrors? Seems a fitting way to close out this year.

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