Tor.com content by

Christopher Buehlman

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

The Pen and the Sword: Learning Medieval Weaponry

In the Spring of 1994, at the age of 25, I was hired to play Tybalt in a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Sterling Renaissance Festival, which would take place in July. Rehearsals would start at the top of June. In May, I got a phone call from Tim Giebel, the fight choreographer, who would also be playing Mercutio. This is not verbatim, but it went about like this:

“How tall are you?”
“Six three.”
“Weight?”
“195.”
“What hand are you?”
“Right.”
“Thank you.”

I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just had my first encounter with a member of the Society of American Fight Directors, or SAFD. That June, I would be challenged to move my body in strange and wonderful ways in order to seem to murder my new teacher with a rapier.

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A Haunted Inauguration in Andrew Pyper’s The Residence

A divided nation. An American president deals with the death of his 11-year-old child. The First Lady seeks solace in séances and mediums. The year is not 1862, and the president is not Abraham Lincoln. Rather, The Residence tells the story of the eclipsed and tragic figure of Franklin Pierce, a caretaker president whose attempts to find a compromise to the slavery issue only drove his young nation closer to fratricide. It is equally the story of his haunted, occultist wife, a woman who wears the hair of two dead sons in a locket.

There is tragedy enough to mine in this story without invoking the supernatural, but Andrew Pyper, author of 2013’s excellent The Demonologist, is never a man to resist a whiff of brimstone.

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