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Jennifer Giesbrecht

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

The Future of Days Past: 10 Things Disney Could Learn From Claremont’s Run on X-Men

So, let’s talk about X-Men.

With the uneven—but gently received—Dark Phoenix gracefully bowing out of theaters, the New Mutants movie that’s still (theoretically) coming out, Disney cutting the deal that might finally fulfill fervent nerd fantasies of seeing Wolverine and Captain America on screen together, and everyone waiting on tenterhooks to see how Johnathan Hickman’s soft-reboot of the comic line injects the series with that same explosive vision he brought to the Avengers and Fantastic Four, I think it’s a pretty good time to talk about X-Men.

I recently had the pleasure of re-reading Chris Claremont’s original run of X-Men; the entire melodramatic, messy, multi-faceted sixteen years of it in all its soap operatic—and yes, occasionally extremely problematic—glory. While Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are nominally the creators of the X-Men, it was Claremont, working with tools left for him by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, who truly invented the X-Men as we know them today. But what stood out to me while diving back into his work is that as much as this era still inescapably defines the series in popular consciousness, very little of what made it tick has actually found its way into big screen adaptations despite every X-Men movie pre-dating Deadpool and Logan drawing directly from it.

Which means there is still ample fertile ground to draw from when talking adaptation. The surface has barely been scratched! Here’s my list of ‘Ten Things From The Claremont Era of X-Men, Mostly Written by Him, That Would Be Rad If Adapted Directly To Screen Without Really Changing Much At All (NOT The Dark Phoenix Saga)’!

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Five Fantasy Books Steeped in History

“If the purpose of science fiction is to ask questions about where humanity is going, what is the potential speculative purpose of fantasy?” is a hyper-specific question asked by perhaps no one but me, and yet I am preoccupied by it endlessly. Tolkien had some answers to this, ones that were good enough to codify an entire genre. Among them was what he terms as eucatastrophe, that is: the joy a reader feels when the hero snatches victory from the jaws of defeat. In other words, it’s fine to write a story that exists for the sake of evoking powerful emotions in the intended audience.

This pulp view of Fantasy—exhilaration without subtext—has been the popular perception of the genre for decades, however Tolkien also believed that “fairy stories” were capable of imparting deeper meaning beyond mere escapism through, let’s call it empathetic verisimilitude. Careful world-building makes a fairy story real, and when the reader can suspend their belief to experience that new, fantastical perspective, they can learn to appreciate things about the real world in a new, fantastical way. Tolkien built his world on the foundations of his personal interests and knowledge base: the Germanic languages, Finnish mythology, Medieval poetry, the moral architecture of his thoroughly studied Catholic faith… this is the historical lens (well, kaleidoscope) through which Middle-earth was first dreamt of. The possibilities of Fantasy are almost endless when every writer is bringing their own unique set of peculiar, obsessive building blocks to the table.

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Series: Five Books About…

Preview an Excerpt from The Monster of Elendhaven

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.

Debut author Jennifer Giesbrecht paints a darkly compelling fantasy of revenge in The Monster of Elendhaven, a dark fantasy about murder, a monster, and the magician who loves both. Available September 24th from Tor.com Publishing.

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Babylon 5 Is the Greatest, Most Terrible SF Series

Babylon 5 is one of the best science fiction shows ever made. It also kind of sucks, and that’s okay.

“I hope the future will be like Star Trek, but I’m afraid it’s going to be like Babylon 5.”

This is how a friend convinced me to watch Babylon 5 close to a decade ago, and it’s a statement that gets both more and less prescient by the day. Babylon 5 depicts a future rife with stratified poverty, union busting corporations, xenophobic hate crimes, colonial legacies blossoming into new conflicts, and the tide of fascism rising right in our own backyard. In J. Michael Straczynski’s imagined future, the smug neoliberal western hegemony that arose from the ashes of the Cold War really was “the end of history”, and the results are simultaneously anodyne and horrific. Psychic powers are real, but those born with them are enslaved by the state. There are ancient terrors lurking on the edges of the map—civilizations who long ago ascended but refuse to let the children of the galaxy play unattended in the sandbox. People who live on the titular station still have to pay for their freaking healthcare in the year 2258.

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Read the First Chapter From The Monster of Elendhaven

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.

Debut author Jennifer Giesbrecht paints a darkly compelling fantasy of revenge in The Monster of Elendhaven, a dark fantasy about murder, a monster, and the magician who loves both. Available September 24th from Tor.com Publishing.

[Read more]

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