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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Tabletop Games That Pair With Your New Favorite Horror Books

Trapped in a forest, the party walks in a single-file line, carefully stepping over giant roots and branches. Ahead, the ruins of an old castle, or a mansion, or a spaceship, long abandoned, but strangely alive and vibrant. You know you shouldn’t go in (the Game Master has been very clear—do not enter the low place, look at the dark spot, nor search for the lair of the Gravenbest) but at the same time, you know that the only way through is ahead, and death stalks not far behind.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Imperfection”

“Imperfection”
Written by André Bormanis and Carleton Eastlake and Robert Doherty
Directed by David Livingston
Season 7, Episode 2
Production episode 248
Original air date: October 11, 2000
Stardate: 54129.4

Captain’s log. Voyager has come across a Wysanti ship, who take Azan and Rebi in. Mezoti has also decided to go with them back to the Wysanti homeworld. Icheb points out that she could stay on Voyager, and Mezoti says that he could come with them to Wysanti. They hug and say their goodbyes.

[“You’re acting like a child.” “I’m trying to save your life!”]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Why the Animorphs Deserve a Revival

The first thing that always caught your eye were the covers. They stood completely apart from the fantasy-heavy YA books of the time. Each cover was like a magnet, drawing you across a school gymnasium during the yearly Scholastic Book Fair or leaving you staring slack-jawed in awe at the display in a bookstore window. The first one stands out in my memory, in particular: a boy looks out from the cover, utterly plain and ordinary in every way—except that he was slowly changing into a lizard through the magic of the finest rudimentary photoshop that 1996 had to offer. It was a startling revelation of a cover, fueling young imaginations for years to come.

There was absolutely nothing like K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series back in the late ’90s and there may never be another series like it again.

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Rereading Y: The Last Man, Part 2: One Small Step & Safeword

Welcome to the second installment of the Y: The Last Man reread! While the first two volumes spent a lot of time in the first few weeks following the loss of all Y-chromosome mammals, the next two pick up the pace. Yorick Brown has a girl to find, dammit, and Dr. Allison Mann has cloning research to recover, and Agent 355 has to keep all of them alive! One Small Step and Safeword cover arguably the greatest narrative ground of the series, from brief bright hopes involving men from space to plumbing the depths of an ex-government-agent-slash-dominatrix’s basement pool and bearing the weight of survivor’s guilt.

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Let These 5 Intrusive Fantasy Books Into Your World

If you’re wondering what intrusive fantasy is—apart from sounding like something very rude and impatient—you’re not alone. In Rhetorics of Fantasy, Farah Mendlesohn argues there are four categories of fantasy, one of which is “intrusive.” (The others, in case you’re interested, are portal, immersive, and liminal.) If a portal fantasy is one in which the protagonist and the reader travel from the ordinary world into a magical one (Alice in Wonderland and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are classic examples), then an intrusive fantasy is the reverse. In intrusive fantasy, magic comes from an Elsewhere into the ordinary world, changing it and the protagonist forever.

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A Waterworld TV Series Is in Development

Amidst the rush to remake and revitalize older franchises for movies and streaming services, there have been plenty of older classic films that have endured the reboot / remake / continuation / reimagination treatment. Take your pick: Battlestar Galactica, Terminator, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Westworld have all been in and out of theaters and on TV in the last twenty or so years, while new projects about The Last Starfighter and Willow are currently in the works.

Now, there’s word of another film that will be brought back: Kevin Reynold’s much-maligned 1995 film Waterworld (pictured above), which Collider reports is getting a streaming series that may serve as a continuation on the story.

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Revenge Gets Witchy in the Latest Trailer for Brand New Cherry Flavor

Gotta say, I miss the Concrete Blonde from the first teaser. But using a much more common trailer song doesn’t make Brand New Cherry Flavor look any more ordinary. The story of a young filmmaker who seeks revenge on a leering producer, Netflix’s upcoming series promises to be creepy, bloody, and just plain weird. (That toenail image! Get it out of my head!)

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Last Christmas, I Gave You My Head: The Green Knight

David Lowery’s The Green Knight is so beautiful it becomes painful at times. Lush, witty, dreamlike, it retells a 14th Century tale not by updating the story, but by roughing the details up a bit, and making some subtext text. More than anything, it feels like a successor to The Seventh Seal or Robin and Marian, and if you can see it in the theater (safely!), you should.

It also succeeded in knocking the soundtrack to Inside out of my head for two whole hours! A feat nearly as impossible as surviving a beheading.

[never fear, the songs are all back now.]

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