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Charlie Jane Anders

Fiction and Excerpts [12]
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Fiction and Excerpts [12]

Leigh Bardugo Just Wrote One of the Best Wonder Woman Stories Ever

This is the summer of Wonder Woman, thanks to her runaway hit movie and her outsize role in our ongoing debate over female heroes in pop culture. But they’ve saved the best treat for last: bestselling YA author Leigh Bardugo just published a Wonder Woman novel called Warbringer, and it’s everything I ever wanted from Diana.

Minor spoilers follow.

[Read more]

How Randyll Tarly Answers Game of Thrones’ Most Baffling Question

Randyll Tarly is not the nicest person on Game of Thrones. He named his son Dickon. He bullied his other son, Samwell, and gave him the choice between joining the Night’s Watch and death. In George R.R. Martin’s books, he’s horrible to Brienne of Tarth — when he’s not tormenting Dickon’s father-in-law or attacking his wife’s family.

But still, Randyll Tarly has had a, shall we say, rough time lately on the TV show. Even by the standards of Game of Thrones, which tortures everyone. And in the process, Randyll provided an answer to the most baffling Thrones question right now.

Spoilers for recent episodes below…

[Legitimacy, xenophobia, and Westeros as a failed state…]

Spider-Man: Homecoming Settles Some of the Hottest Debates About Superhero Movies

The new Spider-Man movie is a breath of fresh air, featuring a young version of the character who’s still figuring out his place in a world of colorful heroes. Even after so many Spidey films, and a slew of other superhero movies, Marvel Studios’ first Spider-Man film still feels like something special. Without giving any spoilers, this movie is light, funny and heartfelt.

But Spider-Man: Homecoming also feels unusual because of the way it manages to settle some of the most contentious debates over the nature of superhero movies, and heroic narratives generally. These include arguments about wholesale destruction, dark storytelling—and who, exactly, these movies are really for.

[Read more]

Doctor Who’s Missy Is Way Better When She’s Being Bad

At least since Tom Baker left the starring role of Doctor Who back in 1981, fans have wondered if the time-traveling eccentric could ever become a woman. And the show’s producers, over the years, have enjoyed trolling the fans by hinting that it might be possible this time, or by making extreme statements about why the Doctor must always be a bloke. (And then there’s Joanna Lumley…)

But meanwhile, for the past few years, one of Doctor Who’s most important characters, the Master, has been female-bodied. As fans know, she now goes by Missy, and as played by Michelle Gomez, she’s like Mary Poppins crossed with the Joker. And this year’s series has turned out to revolve around Missy, and whether she’s finally on her way to becoming a good person.

And I have to say, I vastly prefer Missy when she’s being bad.

[Spoilers for recent episodes follow…]

The Wild Magic of Karaoke

Some people don’t like karaoke. Some people even consider karaoke some kind of abomination, in which amateur singers inflict their dreadful tunesmithing on their fellow humans. I do not understand those people. To me, karaoke is a vital cultural tradition, that takes the best aspects of pop music and our pomo “remixing” and participatory culture and makes them even more amazing.

I have been a karaoke fiend for as long as I can remember, and I even once managed to be featured on Japanese television, doing a particularly energetic performance at a Tokyo karaoke bar. I used to be the designated karaoke-bar reviewer for a local San Francisco newspaper, and I adore any chance to bust out with a crazy over-the-top performance.

[Theatrical, weird, possibly queer, and definitely subversive…]

Growing Up, Wonder Woman Was the Hero I Really Wanted To Be

When I was a little kid, we bought a hardcover collection of classic Wonder Woman comics at a yard sale for a couple bucks. It was the fancy Ms. Magazine edition, with an introduction by Gloria Steinem, and it was full of these bonkers 1940s storylines about Nazis, Dr. Psycho, and Atomia, queen of the Atomic Kingdom.

I read that book until the covers fell apart, and then read it some more. I have a super vivid memory of being in bed sick, with a sore throat, and reading a scene where Wonder Woman gets captured. I thought to myself, “How is Wonder Woman going to escape from these bad guys when she has a sore throat?” And then I remembered that I was the one with the sore throat, not Wonder Woman.

I loved Doctor Who, growing up. I obsessed over Star Trek and Star Wars, and Tintin and Asterix. But the hero I identified with, deep down, was Wonder Woman.

[Here’s why…]

The Most Popular Movie in America Right Now Is All About Toxic Fatherhood

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 begins with one of the first movie’s trademark groovy 1970s songs, “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass, as we pan into an idyllic forest scene in 1980. A man and a woman drive past a Dairy Queen and go into the woods, and we realize we’re meeting Peter “Starlord” Quill’s father, played by a digitally-facelifted Kurt Russell. It’s comforting, friendly—until we go inside the strange flower that Peter’s dad has planted, and we see glimpses of some biological monstrosity, as the music echoes. This sequence is our first clue that the mystery of Starlord’s paternity will have turn out to have an ugly resolution.

Warning: Enormous spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ahead.

[Read more]

Margot and Rosalind

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.

The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.

[Read “Margot and Rosalind” by Charlie Jane Anders]

Series: Nevertheless She Persisted

Karaoke Is Magic!

In this ongoing 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!

Some people don’t like karaoke. Some people even consider karaoke some kind of abomination, in which amateur singers inflict their dreadful tunesmithing on their fellow humans. I do not understand those people. To me, karaoke is a vital cultural tradition, that takes the best aspects of pop music and our pomo “remixing” and participatory culture and makes them even more amazing.

[Read more]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 4

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter four below, or head back to the start with chapter one!

[Chapter 4]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 3

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter three below, and come back all week for additional excerpts!

[Chapter 3]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 2

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter two below, and come back all week for additional excerpts!

[Chapter 2]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 1

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter one below, and come back all week for additional excerpts!

[Chapter 1]