Witches in European folklore fly through the air on broomsticks, but in Latin America they change shapes, turning into different animals. This belief in shape-changing sorcerers, which is present in many Indigenous communities across Mexico and Central America, seems to be based on old Prehispanic concepts of the animal, the soul and the self.
Fiction and Excerpts 
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!
I got a Master’s degree so I could study eugenics and spend more time with a dead man and the dead man is Lovecraft.
I didn’t grow up thinking this would happen. I’ve never fancied myself a scholar or envied the professor’s life. I also had a full-time job when I began tinkering with the idea of getting a Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies. I wanted the degree because of my longtime interest in both science and history. I also thought it might be useful as general background for the kind of work I do. And it just seemed fun. I like taking classes. However, Master’s degrees are not really geared towards adult learners and I wasn’t going to quit my job, so I cautiously asked if they’d take me as a part-time student. They said yes. I enrolled.
The vampire, perennial monster, has received somewhat of a makeover in recent years. For almost two decades it has become romantic hero and seducer, often aimed at younger consumers. Twilight as well as the Vampire Diaries series may be the most obvious exponents of this trend, but the seeds were already planted in shows like Buffy (remember Angel?), and the territory continues to be watered with numerous vampire men in the urban fantasy or romance section of the bookstore, who must invariably profess eternal love to a nubile woman.
Before this trend kicked into full gear, vampires were more likely to be rich counts out to bite pretty young lasses à la Christopher Lee or Bela Lugosi. Sexually magnetic, perhaps, but not boyfriend material.
Series: Five Books About…
A “weird tale,” Ann and Jeff VanderMeer tell us in their compendium The Weird, is “fiction in which some other element, like weird ritual or the science fictional, replaces the supernatural while providing the same dark frisson of the unknown.”
Though writers such as Lovecraft have become the face of the Weird tale, many women have written such stories: Joyce Carol Oates, Caitlín R. Kiernan and Shirley Jackson, to name a few. My five selections cannot encompass the whole breath and variety of such writers but I hope they are a delicious samples of the uncanny.
Series: Five Books About…
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