Stingray Sam Delivers the Weirdest, Best Space Western Ever

Yes, please please please tell me you've seen "The American Astronaut," McAbee's other space western which is possibly even stranger than "Stingray Sam."

The lullaby song in Stingray Sam is startlingly beautiful.

What’s the Deal With Rey’s Lightsaber?

I love all this and it lines up with something I've been thinking about.  After seeing The Rise of Skywalker, I'm suddenly struck by the lack of spirituality in Episodes I - III. The other six films have this thread of spirituality, mystical aphorisms about the Force, this emphasis on personal connection and responsibility. The Jedi Order in the prequels is more like the medieval Catholic Church. Bureaucratic, political, almost mechanical. I mean, there's a blood test.

The whole rest of the saga can be seen as moving toward a more individual, spiritual version of the Jedi order, that focuses on that individual connection rather than the rigid bureaucracy.

So yeah, still thinking about all this, but I'm really digging this analysis.


Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Cryoburn, Chapters 19 and 20

Thank you. For the whole re-read, and for this post in particular:  thank you.

When Aliens Join Your Horse Fantasy: Walter Farley’s The Island Stallion Races

I've been telling people about this crazy book for years and no one ever believed me!

Murder, Mystery, and Urban Fantasy Collide in Wild Cards VII: Dead Man’s Hand

I feel like there's a sort of Venn diagram involving superhero stories, urban fantasy, and mystery/thriller. So many of the heroes of straight-up urban fantasy are also detectives with some kind of power, after all. (There's kind of an eternal debate about whether superhero stories are SF or F, because you can do all the handwaving science you want to try to explaining, but that's still a dude flying, you know?) 

I hadn't ever made a connection between Wild Cards and urban fantasy before, so that's interesting. It's worth noting that around this time is also when the 90's wave of urban fantasy -- Charles de Lint, all those vampire detective novels, etc. -- were ramping up.  (Will continue to ponder.)

Intellect vs Emotion, or, Why I Love 2010 More Than 2001: A Space Odyssey

I've adored 2010 since it came out. Still one of the best space movies of all time.

The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
Great essay, thank you. Changing aesthetics over time is fascinating -- I've seen it happen in historical recreation groups, where people are ostensibly recreating fixed historical examples. But there's still a sense of fashion, of things coming in and out of style, and modern aesthetics playing a role in what people wear.
Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza
Hey guys! As happy as I am to see this story up, it appears to be missing the first paragraph! Eek! Here it is, if you don't have it on hand: "The thing Ana Cortez remembered most about being shot was not realizing she'd been shot. It was more than adrenaline or the chaos of the situation. It was thinking, this can't possibly be happening. No way was this really happening. When you have ace powers, you're supposed to be able to save the world. But then you get shot."
Apocalypse In Aisle Five: Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Yeah, so, I went to high school in Monument, Colorado. No joke. I may have to read this just for that. But I'm wondering, if the author isn't actually from that area, why she picked Monument. Very curious...
Reopening The X-Files: “Home”
Ah, I've been waiting for this one. Great write-up! I remember the horrible, sinking feeling I got when that "viewer discretion" warning came up. Because if Flukeman and Tooms and all the rest didn't merit a viewer discretion, what the hell were they going to pull out this time? Oooh, boy. SaltManZ: the song playing during the Taylers' horrific murders was Johnny Mathis's "Wonderful, Wonderful." Which cranked up the gruesomeness of the scene to about 19 or so. Hear it on YouTube.
Reopening The X-Files: “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space
I've been *waiting* for this recap. It's my very favorite episode of the show. Because it encapsulates everything that is The X-Files, while also serving as commentary on The X-Files. Both parody and genuine story, poking fun at the subject matter while also honoring it. And that's a really neat trick to pull off.
Flying Talking Horses, Yay!: Robin McKinley’s Pegasus
As a McKinley fan from way back, I looked at this one and thought, "OMG, she's written a book just for ME!!!!" I didn't know it was a part one, and about had a medical emergency when I got to the end. McKinley *never* does sequels, she's famous for it. Her site says the sequel is due out in 2014. Not...soon...enough... Waiting to reread this one for when I have the next in hand. (I still have my Breyer horse collection. It's packed in a box, but I have it...)
Reopening The X-Files: “Humbug”
I love this episode so much. During the show's first couple of seasons, I hosted "X-Files"nights in our college dorm's lobby. The show is good, but it's even better with forty+ college students watching it and feeding on each others' shock and tension. Then came "Humbug," and the slow dawning realization that this episode was very, very funny. Then Scully ate the cricket, and all forty+ of us cheered. *heart*
THE “Don’t Miss” Volume?
Mirror Dance was the first Vorkosigan book I read, and I concur.
In Remembrance of L.A. Banks, 1959-2011
Leslie blurbed my first book, and when we finally met in person, just before a panel at DragonCon, she gave me a big joyous hug, too. I had so much fun on that panel with her. Heartbroken today...
Small wars and bigger wars: C.J. Cherryh’s Rimrunners
I also love Cherryh's Merchanter/Alliance universe. I know I read Finity's End first, but can't remember what order I read the others since I pretty much read them all within just a few months. I found Rimrunners really difficult -- not because it wasn't well-written, it was just *difficult.* The other books all seem to operate with a shred of hope, where the characters can at least see some place better, and see where they're going. But not here. It's the only one I haven't reread.
Not born to be a heroine: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey
I also came to Austen late because of being told in high school that Pride and Prejudice was very serious literature and I had to take it seriously and not laugh at all, and being bored out of my skull by it. When I came back to it after watching a lot of Monty Python, I realized it's supposed to be funny. The sense of humor comes from the same place. Why does no one tell students that Austen is funny? Persuasion is also my favorite. I thought the recent spate of Austen + supernatural mashups would implode recursively if someone tried to do a supernatural version of Northanger Abbey...
Will Tron Himself Actually Be in the New Tron: Legacy? voice mail message starts with "Greetings, program!" Really. So that's three of us...
Two Beauties, Two Beasts: Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Rose Daughter
Her latest, Chalice, could also be seen as yet another version. Main character falls in love with a monster, an outcast, and that love transforms him. McKinley is my favorite writer, and Rose Daughter was the first book of hers I didn't want to reread. Still haven't, and I keep thinking I should.
Urban Fantasy Recommendations
Thanks for the recommendations! My own list was not intended to be an exhaustive survey by any means -- just books that I really like that often get overlooked, especially because they aren't always identified as urban fantasy. Kevin, it's been awhile since I read Sunshine, but I seem to remember a sense of "before it all happened" and "after." Maybe I'm thinking of the war...
Timeline of a Trend
Eek, thanks momerath. As I do not have editing powers I'll try to forward it to the powers that be... Also, see Jeff VanderMeer's take on the subject:
Timeline of a Trend
I've always understood the difference between the current definitions of "urban fantasy" and "paranormal romance" to be that paranormal romance focuses on the relationships and usually ends with the HEA. Paranormal romance series tend to feature a different couple in each book rather than focus on a single main character through all the books. And yeah, urban fantasy is a huge umbrella, which I think is part of why it's been so popular -- it appeals to so many different tastes. It's also been around for a really long time, which does rankle when some people talk about the "hot new genre." I just found a copy of Jack Williamson's Darker Than You Think, for example, which wouldn't be at all out of place in the current UF wave.

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