Andre Norton Goes Gothic in The White Jade Fox

Gothic romance has a long and lively history, from Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto to the works of Ann Radcliffe and the Brontë sisters. Jane Austen did a sendup of the genre in Northanger Abbey, which tells you how popular it was at the beginning of the nineteenth century. And it kept right on going. Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca was a huge bestseller from 1938 onward, and her heirs, including Anya Seton, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart, carried on the tradition the way through the end of the millennium and into the next.

Andre Norton seems to have gone through a Gothic phase in the Seventies and early Eighties. The White Jade Fox (1975) ticks all the boxes. Nineteenth-century setting, orphaned heroine, epically dysfunctional family, mysterious and possibly haunted estate, it’s all there.

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Ask Not What Your Family Can Do For You — The Umbrella Academy’s Second Season Is Even Better Than Its First

After a triumphant first season, The Umbrella Academy returns to Netflix with a new story arc. Based on the various comic book miniseries by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá (who are also co-executive producers of the TV adaptation), this second season borrows bits and pieces from the comics miniseries Dallas, but mostly tells its own story.

On the one hand, it delivers pretty much the same basic beats as season one. On the other hand, the story is leaner, more coherent, better structured, and makes excellent use of all seven of the main characters.

[SPOILERS for The Umbrella Academy season two herein!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Fair Trade”

“Fair Trade”
Written by Ronald Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias and André Bormanis
Directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño
Season 3, Episode 13
Production episode 156
Original air date: January 8, 1997
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. Neelix, who apparently isn’t busy enough with being the ship’s cook and morale officer and local guide, is bugging both Tuvok and Torres about the possibility of putting in time with both security and engineering.

[What kind of medical supplies are those?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Hannibal and Steven Universe Are the Same Show

Since Hannibal hit Netflix last month, a lot of people have been discovering it for the first time, while others are using it as a convenient excuse for a rewatch. I saw a fellow Tor co-worker refer to it as comfort television, and was started to realize I agree. This is a brilliant, difficult, graphically violent show about serial killing, but yes, watching it is relaxing.

A day later I saw a discussion about works of art that define different eras, with the poster positing that Hamilton was the defining work of the Obama era. That made me wonder about the defining works of our current era, and the more I let the question jangle through my brainmeat the more I came back to Hannibal—although the show is a few years old (originally airing 2013-15), it seems to be coming into its own now in a way it never did while it was on NBC. But the more I thought about, a second answer bobbed to the surface, and revealed a startling truth: The defining works of art of this era tell the same story, and those two works are Hannibal and Steven Universe.

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Read To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini: Chapter 8: “Out & About”

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.

Now she’s awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

Read To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, a brand new epic novel from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Paolini, out September 15, 2020 from Tor Books.

New chapters on every Monday.

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Series: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Three Lessons Skyrim Taught Me About Living With PTSD

Whiterun. Alduin. Dragonborn. Skeever. At the start of 2018, those words meant nothing to me. I couldn’t have told you who the Black-Briars were or why taking an arrow in the knee was supposed to be funny. Belethor? Never heard of him.

Instead, I spent most of 2018 and the two years prior in therapy, where I was diagnosed with PTSD after living with the symptoms for over a decade. I underwent EMDR, an intensive form of psychotherapy that helps process traumatic memories. I learned what my triggers were and how to respond to them, talked about my inner child, sat in a small room and recalled some of my most painful memories.

I was enormously privileged to have the resources and time to spend on my therapy, but after focusing on it for so long I began to doubt how I could move forward. Stirring up the old waters of my memory left me hyper-vigilant and scared of what would come next. And all my old ways of coping? Well, most of them weren’t so good for me after all. I’d need to learn better ways to take care of myself moving forward. It felt like my old save file had been lost or corrupted and I was being forced to start over as a level-one character with nothing but the tunic on my back and a dragon bearing down overhead.

I needed a Hadvar to lead me through the caves. I needed to escape.

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Announcing the 2020 Hugo Award Winners

The winners of the 2020 Hugo Awards have been announced at CoNZealand! You can read the full list below. Winners for the 2020 Hugo Awards and the 1945 Retrospective Hugo Awards appear in bold.

The Awards were presented on August 1, 2020 at a ceremony at the 78th World Science Fiction Convention in New Zealand, which was entirely virtual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Nominations for the 2020 and 1945 Hugo Awards were submitted by the members of CoNZealand, the 78th Worldcon, and Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon. 1,584 people submitted 27,033 nominations for the 2020 Hugo Awards, and 120 people submitted 1,677 nominations for the 1945 Retrospective Hugo Awards.

Congrats to the finalists and winners!

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Walk Beneath the Canopy of 8 Fictional Forests

Give me your Fangorns and your Lothloriens, your Green Hearts and your Elvandars. Evoke your Haunted Forest Beyond the Wall complete with creepy weirwoods, your Steddings and your Avendesoras. Send me pleasant dreams about Totoro’s Japanese Camphor and the Forest Spirit’s kodama-filled canopy. Or, y’know, tree cities full of Wookiees instead of elves. I will take them all!

Forests in speculative fiction novels have a special place in my heart. Especially tree-cities.

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Worldcon 2022 Will Take Place in Chicago

The 80th World Science Fiction Convention will officially take place in Chicago, Illinois. The city overwhelmingly won the site selection poll with a count of 517 total votes, beating out Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which garnered 33. This means Worldcon attendees in 2022 will gather at the Hyatt Regency for Chicon 8, featuring guests of honor including author Charles de Lint and artist Floyd Norman, as well as toastmasters Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz.

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On the Wings of Inspiration

In this series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

I was one of those renaissance-artsy kids, always obsessively creating things. Writing when I barely knew how to construct sentences, drawing, sculpting, singing, dancing, dressing-up; I was engaged in storytelling in every possible way from my earliest understanding of human expression. My wonderful, tolerant college professor parents knew they had a compulsively creative soul on their hands, but they couldn’t have expected some of the obsessions that went along with that restlessly creative spirit.

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Aliens, Ghosts, and Vampires: New Young Adult SFF for August & September 2020

If you thought there were a lot of great young adult science fiction and fantasy novels coming out this summer, just wait until you see what’s on deck for the fall. August and September have an absolutely crushing amount of books scheduled for release and so many of them are just begging to be read. Out of everything vying for your attention, the ones on this list should move to the top of your TBR pronto.

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The Terror of Identity: I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg

Laura van den Berg gave us an unsettling novel of existential horror and grief with 2018’s The Third Hotel. Now she’s back with an excellent, similarly unsettling short story collection, I Hold A Wolf by the Ears, that grabs readers by the hand and leads them through stories of sisterhood, abandonment, natural disaster, and the hatred and horror that lie at the center of a society that is stacked against women.

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