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

Blending Fantasy and Sci-Fi in Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer

I first encountered Gene Wolfe’s work when I was a sophomore in high school, when I accidentally stumbled onto the paperback of The Shadow of the Torturer at my public library. I picked it up not knowing anything about it, intrigued as much as anything by the fact that even though it was called science fiction it had a cover that looked like a fantasy novel: a masked and caped figure holding a massive sword. But it also had a blurb from Ursula K. Le Guin, whose Earthsea books I had loved, describing it as “the best science fiction I’ve read in years.” So, was this science fiction or fantasy?

This wasn’t clarified for me by the other words on the cover, where the book was described as a “world where science and magic are one” and, by Thomas M. Disch (a writer I wouldn’t read until years later) as “science fantasy,” a term I’d never heard before. Wasn’t science the opposite of fantasy? In short, I was confused and intrigued. I went into the book not quite knowing what to expect but feeling not unpleasantly off balance—which, I’m still convinced, is the best way to first encounter Wolfe.

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Beast and Fable in Andre Norton’s Rogue Reynard

Rogue Reynard is a real oddity in the Andre Norton canon. It was first published in 1947, then re-published in 1972 as a Dell Yearling Book. This series, according to the notes in the front matter, consists of works “designed to entertain and enlighten young people,” selected by a pair of learned professors.

It reads exactly like that. It is so earnest and so punctilious and so edifying. It’s a solid, or should I say stolid, example of the mock-medieval beast fable, complete with pretentious chapter headings—Chapter the first. Which telleth how King Lion kept Court and Baron Reynard appeared not thereat—and yea-verily prose. There’s funky capitalization and, in the Yearling edition I tracked down to a children’s bookstore in England, fancy Gothic title fonts.

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