Four Roads Cross (Chapter 1)

That cover perfectly captures everything that I love about the Craft universe. 3-piece suits and magic daggers.

Loch Ness Monster Turns Out To Be Loch Ness Monster Prop From Classic Loch Ness Monster Film

Spoiler for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes:





THe Nessie prop is a prop in-movie as well - it's used as a disguise for a secret navy operation to build a midget-crewed submarine (I kid you not!). Put a monster head on top of your secret submarine and no one will ever believe people who sight it by accident.

Now We Can Map Every Magical World into a Multiverse

Very cool chart!
I wonder about the inclusion of “Yesod” from the Urth of the New Sun. The New Sun series is ostensibly SF (even with all the4 fantasy trappings) and Severian travels to Yesod on a spaceship. How is that portal fantasy?

When Noir Meets Space Opera: The Expanse, “Salvage”

I loved this episode! I only read the first book and don't remember that much, which is all for the better as some plotlines were changed or added and I can now enjoy the show on its own.

This episode had everything - space horror, politics, action, and plot advances.

Next week - v***t z*****s! (well, hopefully)


One Fan’s Blow-By-Blow Reaction to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or, How Episode VII Made Me Sob Continuously in Front of My Friends Forever

You forgot to comment about the best bit in the movie, just after Finn and Rey are done with their dogfight on Jakku, they meet in the center of the ship, high-fiving each other and telling each other how awesome they were. You can feel their excitement and gleefulness, it was just so adorable.

Five SFF Stories Complicated by Intact Family Relationships

Walter Jon Williams' Aristoi.

Gabriel is a ruler of several solar systems, armed withthe power to create and shape planets using advanced nanotech. To his people, he is almost a god - revered and celebrated.

He also has a mother who's still alive.

And mom needs something to do. so mom runs a church in which her own son is a god - against his iown wishes. She also calls him every so often, with the usual passive-agressive complaints (you never call, etc). I found it hilarious.

Nikola Tesla Was a Great Scientist, But a Greater Nerd

This Tesla thing has gone too far. He was practically obscure a couple of decades ago and now he's celebrated as if he's the scientific equivalent of Jesus. The truth is, he made some important contributions to the development of electricity - the AC motor (which was invented independently by another engineer in Italy at the same time), invented radio control, and help popularize AC power systems. All well and good but he was also, to a certain degree, mentally unstable and an incessant self-promoter. He sunk a lot of money - both his and investors' - in impossible schemes. He got radio wrong and was beat to the punch by Marconi. Later in life he made wild unsubstantiated claims about inventing death rays and whatnot. He might have been delusional. We should remember him as he was, not as this idealized steampunk prophet he was made to be.

Planning For Your Future: The Top Five Colleges of Magic

If only you had gone to Hogwarts you could get a prestigious job right out of high school without any need for graduate education.

In Hogwarts you learn how to work magic, which in our world is the equivalent of learning how to use apps on your phone or maybe having leet gamer skills - you learn some eye-hand coordination while using your controller, I mean wand, and some cheat codes, and you're good to go. That'll get you an entry level job, sure, like a clerk or something. But if you want to really make your mark you need to get an engineering degree, which in the wizarding world translates to learning how to create new spells. And I suspect you'll need to go to magic university for that.

The Language of Spellwork in Harry Potter — J.K. Rowling’s Incantations Hold Surprising Linguistic Depth
Did Rowling ever address the question of who came up with the spell names and how? was each spell created and named by some wizard who came up with it using the magical equivalent of a low-level programming language? or are they some sort of an inherent feature of the universe, created by some unnamed deities?
Peter Pan’s “Greatest Pretend” is Heroism
There's a big difference between the original stage-play Pan and the later, book Pan. I'm not sure what happened in the intervening years, but the Peter Pan described in the book is exactly as this post suggests, and children in general are described in less than flattering terms. In a way Barrie deconstructed his own creation before anyone else could do it. One thing though, the book nmakes it clear that Neverland is the result of the combined imagination of kids everywhere, so the reason it's inhabited by pirates and indians is becuase these are the tings that cought kid's imagination a tthe time it was written.
Rich and Strange: “A Kiss With Teeth” by Max Gladstone
I've not finished the story yet, but only because I was halfway through Full Fathom Five when it was published (I have some eye problems; I'm a slow reader these days). Oh, the problem of deciding which Max Gladstone story to read first! May I only have such problems.
Prompt. Professional. Pop!
A new Walter Jon Williams story. Can't wait to get back home and read it!
Bummer: Supernatural Beings Can’t Copyright Anything
What if I claim that the Chimp was a tool I used in the making of the artwork? And, more importantly (but unrelated), why can't Firefox remember that I'm logged in to I have to log in every time I comment.
Read “Night’s Slow Poison,” from the World of Hugo-Winning Novel Ancillary Justice
My only regret is that I already read it in Electric Velocipede, so I don't have a new Leckie story to read now. And I really want one.
Lev Grossman, Rainbow Rowell, and Other YA Authors Sort Their Characters Into Hogwarts Houses
Interestingly, John Green and Scott Westerfeld both nominated female characters for Gryffindor
Why is it "interesting"? was there a gender disparity in Griffindor in the HP novels?
Voting the Categories: A Guide to the 2014 Hugo Novelette Finalists
FYI, the anthology Kowal's The Lady Astronaut of Mars was written for was an anthology in whcih all the stories cribbed their first sentences from other, more famous works.
Voting the Categories: A Guide to the 2014 Hugo Novelette Finalists
I guess I had a different reaction to _The Lady Astronaut of Mars_. I didn't like it very much, probably for the same reasons others did. It has an atmosphere of old-timey frontier spirit and nostalgia, while I'm more of a future-oriented type of reader. ...Which is why I loved The Waiting Stars so much. An honest-to-god posthuman space opera story. This is the kind of story I love, and a nice one to read just after Ancillay Justice. I'd like more of that in my SF please! But my #1 spot is still Chiang's _The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling_. It's not just good SF. It's not just a good character study. It's relevant, and it's important. it sheds light on an aspect of our lives we've taken for granted until now, the ability to forget and reinvent our past, an aspect that will soon be gone from the world. This is the kind of story SF was invented for. The exchange officers: The evil Hanused their stealthed spaceship to attack the G.I. Joe space station because Obama, and our intrepid heroes (including officer Chesty! who's a female!!) are heroically fending them off (from a thousand miles away using an X-box controller or something). This story rubbed me the wrong way on so many levels, with its low stakes plot, its stupid politics and its bad science. As for Opera Vita Eterna, I have no idea what Vox Day was getting at. If there's a message or point to the story (except "elves love Jesus too") it escapes me.
Banking on the Hugos: Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross
Only Charlie Stross would have the guts to base a novel on a combination of a Paul Krugman paper and a Monty Python skit. But even Stross couldn't pull it off. There's much to admire in Neptune Brood - the Hard / Mundane SF future that still offers space travel, the thought that went into the economics and law of his posthuman society. Much to admire, but little to enjoy. I liked Saturn's Children better.
Voting the Categories: A Guide to the 2014 Hugo Novella Finalists
Equoid completely ruined unicorns for me. Never again will I see, think or hear of a unicorn without that horrific mental image of the unicorn as a mating of a REDACTED and a REDACTED Stross concocted. For that conceit alone he deserves a Hugo - it's ingenious entertainment. Six Gun Snow white is as different from Equoid as it gets. Dark, wild, beautifuly written, but so full of horrible suffering for the protagonist. It was a tough story to read but also a very rewarding one. As literature, it is obviously the superior piece, but as someone who admires the craft that goes into well-made comedy and entertainment I think I'll go with Equoid. Sorry Cat! She still gets number two on the ballot. I have no idea what Wakulla Spring is doing on the ballot. I'm not a genre purist but there must be *some* limits. I couldn't finish The Chaplain's Legacy. It felt antiquated - like it was written in the early 80's, just before the Cyberpunks broke into the mainstream. I read about half. I might also have been put off by the religious overtones, which I can accept from a good writer such as Wolfe, but Torgersen isn't one. I couldn't even get myself to read The Butcher of Khardov. Can't get over the tie-in thing, sorry.
Guillermo del Toro Back at Work on Mountains of Madness Movie, But…
Not only Prometheus. The Thing had the similar theme of antarctic explorer encountering polymorphic alien monsters, and Alien Vs. Predator ripped off ATMoM by placing an ancient alien underground stone structure in antarctica, with Predators taking the part of the GReat Old Race (and arguably xenomorphs as Shoggoths).
The Litany of Earth
I've read anything quite like this take on the Mythos. Both inventive and moving. I enjoyed it immensely.
Check out the Teaser Trailer for the Epically Weird Birdman
A birdman poster can be seen halfway through the trailer with an actor's name at the top, so, has-been actor.
Night’s Slow Poison
Wonderful - already read it in Electric Velocipede, but it's nice that others can read it too. Reading it made me realize how much I miss the Radch Universe. It' a long wait till October and Ancillary Sword...
Post-Binary Gender in SF: ExcitoTech and Non-Binary Pronouns
"They" is confusing. "ze" reminds me too much of its german origin and whenever I read it I can't help but imagine a Hollywood villain with a bad german accent. ð is not even a valid English letter. With all due repsect I don't think a gender neutral pronoun is such an outlandish concept as to necessitate the insertion of a new letter ot the alphabet. Xe and Zhe both work for me in a written text. Both are based on the same template used for the male and female pronouns (as opposed to the spivak "ey"). I'm not sure how "xe" is pronounced, so I guess Zhe is my favorite so far as a sound, but I wouldn't mind if it were prnounced zhe and written as xe.
Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for June
So, about "Rebellion" by Ken Shufeldt. I have not read it, but the summary is alarming. I did not expect a "Yellow Peril" novel to be published in 2014. This is disheartening. Definitely from a publisher who operates this very website, that seems to encourage diversity.
None of Us Would Survive One Day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Don't forget the Care of Magical Creatures lessons. Kids are being put in close contact with extremely dangerous magical beasts, under the guidance of the least safety-minded professor ever, who has a habit of adopting and caring for stray man-eating/poisnous/otherwise deadly monsters which he thinks are cute and cuddly. the thing with Hogwatrs and the wizarding world in general was that it was all created to be as illogical and nonsensical as possible, not unlike, say, Willy Wonka's factory (also very child-endangering). But then Rowling used that setting to tell a long-form story that had to make sense. And that made people think of it as any other fantasy setting, only it isn't, really.
Investigating the Numinous: SF, Hard Science, and Mystical Experience
Just finished reading Afterparty a couple of hours ago. I love Neuroscience-based SF and loved this one as well. The writing was sharp and engrossing. Peter watts has a short story, A Word for Heathens, in which an artificially-induced numinous experience is used to motivate religiously fanatic soldiers. Now I wonder what a Watts-Gregopry collaboration would be like...
Lev Grossman’s The Magicians Coming to SyFy!
This is an awesome, awesome book series. Unlike anything I've read before. It's a novel that asks the question that was never asked in fantasy before (and should have been): why does magic exist in the first place? The sequel has answers - and good ones. It's one of those novels that alters your view on the entire field.
How Not to Write for Both Children and Adults: Sylvie and Bruno
I tried reading it, I really did, but it was nonsense and not in a good way. And mindnumbingly twee. Was the narrator's problem a heart condition? I seem to remember it was narcolepsy.
The Age of Heroes is Here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Did you see Iron Man 3 or Thor: The Dark World? Whatever reaction you had to those movies is what you'll have to Winter Soldier.
I loved Iron Man 3. Saw it twice. I was so bored by Thor: The Dark World I stopped watching halfway through (I caught it on a flight). Not sure if I should watch this one or not: on general I don't care for superhero flicks, and extended action scenes of superpowered people hitting each other bore me. It's only the humor that made me like IM3. Will I like CA:TWS?
Knights of Badassdom: Verily Dost This Movie Suck
I saw it in a screening and I liked it and yes, the crowd laughed and cheered and I guess it made all the difference. I'm not going to re-watch it anytime soon though, I know I'll be disappointed.
To Sleep, Perchance: Lockstep by Karl Schroeder
@3 - I was thinking aobut Sheffield's Bwteen the strokes of night, too! What they used was a way to slow down human metabolism and subjective time by a factor of about 100 or 1000 (can't remember) - this way interstellar journeys take days or weeks of subjective time. The drawback is you're limited to space and a micogravity environement. Oh, and food tastes odd. I'm currently reading Stross's Neptune's Brood which has a solution to the problem of maintining a viable economy over interstellar distances by using "slow currency" - a sort of interstellar bitcoin - to fund new space colonies and trade between worlds.
To Sleep, Perchance: Lockstep by Karl Schroeder
That is the same feeling I got from reading the excerpt. The tone felt like old-school YA, one that other YA novels (such as The Hunger Games) don't really use anymore. It's a shame; I read and loved everything Schroeder has written so far. But the excerpt just grated on me. It felt dumbed-down on purpose. One more thing, without reading the novel, the concept of Lockstep sounds contrived, as in I can't see real humans agreeing to this. But again, I've not read it, perhaps there are good justifications I'm missing.
Reach for the Stars: V-S Day by Allen Steele
The concept sound intriguing; And making it convincing would be difficult. In real life, there were solid resons for the Germans to not pursue development. The Silbervogel was never capable of supporting a prolonged boming campaign - its operating costs too high, its payload too low. Without a Manhttan Project of their own, to create a single bomb to be dropped by this craft, there was little use for investing in it (I believe they planned to use it to drop a dirty bomb on New York at some point).
Post-Binary Gender in SF: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
I loved AJ - one of this yer's best, IMO. For me, using female pronouns worked well. It added a certain flavor to the Radchaai culture. But I wonder whether it could have worked this way in real life - we humans have extensive brain wiring that is dedicated to detecting facial features. I believe we are, to some degree, hardwired to notice gender differences in face and body, even if we all dressed the same and acted the same. I imagined that the radchaai have lower sexual dimorphism (My mind kept imagining all Radchaai as looking like Jaye Davidson in Stargate) and therefore have not been "trained" on noticing the differences from birth. But the issue wasn't directly addressed in the novel.
Dangerous (Excerpt)
That sounds promising and very Heinleinesque. Heinlein had teenage girl protagonists, a sweepstakes-winning astronaut wannabe protagonist, a one armed protagonist and a latino (I think) protagonist - Maisie is all four rolled togehter! Plus there's just enough self-awareness to carry off the preposterous middle name.
Footnotes Done Right: Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Clarke didn't just set out to write a novel; she gave us a universe to explore. And if we spend some time in one of the byways or alleys off the main road, all the better. At the end of the main road is only a door back into our own universe; why not stay a little longer?
They Built a Machine To Give You All the Feels
I like their choice of fiction. James Tiptree, Jr. AKA Alice Sheldon FTW! I'll pass on the sensory tech though. If I wanted non-written sensory clues I'd go see a movie.
A Great Castle Made of Sea: Why Hasn’t Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Been More Influential?
I listened to JS&MN on audiobook. It is amazing that a work with so many author's notes - some of them longer than a couple of pages - can be made into an audiobook at all, but it works and it was a joy to listen to - possibly the finest narration I've heard. JS&MN is possibly the best fantasy novel of the 200's, and I really hope there will be another Clarke book some day, but I'm beginning to lose hope. As to its influence, I believe there is more than a touch of Gaiman (by way of stardust which was in turn influenced by Lud-in-the-Mist) in JS&MN. So it's not such a singular work, although I believe Clarke produced a better novel than Gaiman ever did (The Sandman is wonderful but it's a graphic novel and has less in the way of prose).
How You Ruined the Hugos
The Hugos were created at a time when a typical fan would have been expected to read most or all the important books that have been published that year. That era is long gone. The field has expanded - and fractured. Some people only read in specific subgenres. TV and video games and the web are taking our free time away. We simply can't keep up. As a result, most of the novels which are nominated (or end up on the shortlist) were not read by most of the voters. They will therefore vote only for the ones they HAVE read. Some of those will be brilliant novels, but the number of poeple who read them won't be enough to put them on the shortlist. those that end up on the shortlist are only the ones a lot of people have read - which make them by definition the popular ones, not the good ones. It is an inescapable result of the idea of a fan-voted prize and griping about it is pointless.
Is There a Right Age to Read a Book?
Jo, give Eddison another chance. The first twenty pages of The Worm Ouroboros suck and it took me four years to get past them (four years of leaving the book on the shelf, not actively trying to read them, of course), but then the akward framing device is uncermoniously ditched and the real plot begins. I read the rest of the novel in four days.
Haunted Holidays: Charles Dickens & Co.
Dickens had another ghost story in The Pickwick Papers, a short one but quite funny. It can be found here - (It begins with the words "I knew another man"). But never mind ghost stories - now I want to know aobut the correspondence section of The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, AKA "Victorian Penthouse".
House of Dreams
Just got to reading this - a great story as usual, Mr. Swanwick!
Short Fiction Spotlight: “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang
Cultural memory is a fascinating subject. I have an example from my own culture: Jewish lore tells us that the story of the Exodus was passed unchanged from father to son for millenia. In Israel (where I live), our equivalent of preachers and televangelists claim that this provides a proof that the exodus happened just as it was told in the bible, as there is an unbroken chain of knowledge transfer in multiple lineages, all telling the same story. But Chiang's story illustrates clearly how fast cultural memory can be changed - even retroactively - if there's a social neccesity, such as a need for a common unifying myth. It is almost certain that before the story was codified, there have been multiple versions of the myth. There is only one now, and it shows evidence of being doctored to present a biased view in favor of certain elements in ancient Israelite culture. So, at some point, there must have been a moment in which this new history was pushed onto housholds that had their own, different version of the story - or no version at all - and was accepted as truth.
Title and Poster For Doctor Who Christmas Special Revealed!
Keeping with the time-of-day theme of the special and the mini-webisode, The early-to-mid Afternoon of the Doctor.
Teaser for the Trailer, Russell Crowe in Aronofsky’s Noah
I am disappointed that they went with a spherical Earth. I was hoping for a flat, square one, standing on pillars, like the Bible describes.
Carrie Fisher’s Sound Thoughts on Princess Leia in 1983
The thing to remember aobut Star Wars is that it is (or at least was conceived as) a sort of re-interpretation of old scifi adventure serials such as Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. A space pricess is exactly the thing you'd expect to find in one of these serials, and one of the best things about star wars is the way it defied viewer's expectations by making the least "princessy" space princess imaginable. When she is rescued by look and instead of being all weak and passive and thankfull for her rescue she turns out to be bad-tempered and very good with a blaster? priceless. I think the slave outfit was also in some ways a homage to 30's-40's pulp sensibilities. three years erlier a similar costume was worn by Ornella Mutti in Flash Gordon. And there it fit perfectly,since FG was intentionally cheesey. But star wars should have made a more nuanced interpretation/subversion of the trope, and here it faltered and ended up being exactly as titilating and cheesy as the original serials.
Was Doctor Who’s “Vincent and the Doctor” Cribbed From This 1964 Short Story?
As others said, it's a common trope, and watching it, I did not feel the Who epoisode was that original or unique to begin with. There is one story using this trope I do like. Don't remember who wrote it or what's it called. The gist of it is: Galileo is brought forward in time, shown our era, is told of his huge influence and specifically how admired he is for standing up to the church - but he hates our time, insists he is a devoted catholic, and maintains that the church treated him justly and that he himself went too far, publicly saying things all educated men already believed but would only confuse the simple folk.
Sleeps With Monsters: Reading, Writing, Radicalisation
These last couple of months, the books I read were predominantly by female writers (or near-equal - I don't keep score), some of them are classics (Joan Vinge, Tanith Lee), one was non-genre (The Coockoo's Calling) and only one new genre novel - Ancillary Justice. And I didn't even set out to read fiction by female writers. It just came out that way. But it's difficult for me to find the type of novels I like and it seems like most woman writers nowadays gravitate towards genres I'm not very interested in. So, reading SF by women? not a problem. Reading NEW SF by women? a different matter. I like SF about posthumanism, consiousess, weird biology, cyberpunk, nanotech, and space opera involving same(examples: Blindsight, A Door into Ocean). I like dark/sensual/weird fantasy that doesn't tread where others have trodden already (examples: The Iron Dragon's Daughter, Tanith Lee's Tales from the Flat Earth). These things are hard to come by and so lately I've been forced to go back to the classics I've missed. I'd love to hear recommendations though - current women writers writing on these subjects - I know they are there!
Mindless Intelligence: Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson
I'm sure the details are different but the synopsis is somewhat similar to Wilson's own novel Darwinia, which also begins with a historical divergence point - this time in 1912, not 1914 - allbeit the change is much greater (The entire continent of Europe and parts of Asia are mysteriously replaced with an alternate continent populated with alien plants and animals). It's also a novel that deals wihtthe nature of consiousness.
Living on the Starship Enterprise Would Actually Be Depressing as Shit
I could do without lighting. Go to a quick walk in the holodeck for a few minutes, back-brain gets its allotted amount of "outside" time, problem solved. But I'd still go crazy... of boredom. Because THERE IS NO TV. and no radio, cinema, internet, and no new music. and only one video game which is a. stupid. b. so addictive it will kill you. Actually there seems to be no new art/media at all, and by "new" I mean "created in the last 200 years". Oh wait, there's 3D chess. whoop-de-doo. All they have is classical music and plays and you have to participate in the plays. Holodeck? After a day working in deck -13 swabbing dilithium filters I don't want to have to have simulated activities in which I have to think and walk and run and will probably die due to a malfunction, I just want to plop down on the sofa and watch a show. Only in front of the sofa there's no TV, just scale models of past Enterprises.
Filmmaking Visionaries: The Top Ten Writer-Directors
I was amazed Spielberg wasn't on the list but turns out I overestimated his involvement in the films he directed. He's an amazing director but doesn't have as many writing/story credits as I assumed. With my newfound knowledge I can now add Indiana Jones to the list of things Lucas imagined.
Short Fiction Spotlight: “Equoid” by Charles Stross
I've seen the "evil unicorn" trope before. Tanith Lee had scary, nasty, hooves-soaked-in-blood unicorns in her Flat Earth series. There was the brief, though memorable, unicorn scene in Cabin in the Woods. And who can forget Charlie the unicorn and his organ-stealing friends? But nothing prepared me for this story, which probably ruined unicorns for me, for ever. What I "saw" in Equoid cannot be unseen, and from now on, every time when I look at a picture of a unicorn, I will see Stross's ingenious take on the subject. It's one of those things that seem obvious in retrospect. Just look at that horn. How can a unicorn be anything else? Thank you, Mr. Stross, for sharing the contents of your twisted imagination with us!
Trailer for Hercules: The Legend Begins
Wow, that is one terrible trailer. There doesn't seem to be one original idea on display - it's 300 meets Troy with bits of Gladiator tacked on (and even a bit of the byblical Samson, for some reason). The production value is at HBO miniseries at best, which is good for television but this is cinema and the other greek action flicks could run circles around this one. Also normally you wouldn't care about historical accuracy in a film about Hercules as he was a mythical hero and the son of a God but seriously, galdiators in ancient greek? Is renny Harlin employed by The Asylum these days?
Casting the Endless From Sandman
I'd have tatiana Maslaney as death -call me shallow but it's jus tthe way she looks in a leather coat / tank top combo and dark hair. For delirium I'd like to see Ellen Page.
The Red: First Light (Excerpt)
Love that orientation lecture. Like a big FU to Heinlein!
H.G. Wells Invented Everything You Love
Yup, H.G. was one Sharp dude. Can you do a similar overview of Olaf Stapledon? I've only recently read his two famous works, First and Last Men and Star Maker and found out that any idea that Wells missed, Stapledon covered, from virtual reality to Dyson speheres (20 years before Dyson!).
Benedict Cumberbatch Might Be Khan A Sith in Star Wars: Episode VII
What wiht modern computer graphics and motion-capture magic, I'm sure Benedict Cumberbatch will be able to play all the roles in the coming star Wars sequel.
Avril Lavigne Music Video Creates Steampunk SharkBear Comics Genre. Yes(?)
You know how in the 50's, instead of a commercial break you'd have the actors turn to the camera and directly endorce products? Well that was the height of subtlety compared to that shitty product placement in the beginning. Also, age limit on black eyeliner is something I support now.
Disability in Science Fiction: Representations of Technology as Cure (Excerpt)
I find this article somewhat objectionable. This PC attempt to treat disability as if it was some sort of social construct, like sexual preference, gender or beauty standards... it's insulting. The biggest problem with losing a limb for exmaple, is not society's perception of the amputee as imperfect. The problem is the lack of ability to climb stairs, play football or ride a bike. It's not about being "normal", it's about being able to do things. And to speak of treating disabilities as a "trope" and, not, you know, as a real thing that happens in real life... and to speak of it using language that conveys the impression that it was something forced on the disabled by a society that doesn't understand their wish to remain legless or armless or blind... it's just... I just don't understand it.
Past Forward: Three Comics That Remember the Future Like It Was Yesterday
The kind of future we expected to happen by now, back in the 80's - to me that says hackers, Japanese supremecy, corporation states, cyberspace, cyborgs, and of course giant mecha. Jetpacks? that's a 40's-50's retrofuture.
Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber
There's one thing about the Amber chronicles I don't understand: How is it that they were never made into a movie? There are five books in the first Chronicles. With some editing, they can be re-cut into a movie trilogy. The have brand name recognition among fans. they are totally unlike anything else out there. There are battles and romances and mystery and magic, plenty of characters to choose to focus on or ignore, and the shadow-shifting should provide plenty of work for the special effects houses. And yet it has somehow slipped through the cracks of the Hollywood machine. I find it almost unbelievable.
Everyone Should Want to Be A Hufflepuff, Or, Stop the Hogwarts House-Hate
It's weird about the house animales - You'd think Griffindor's symbol would be a Griffin, and Ravenclaw's symbol should be a raven (it's an eagle). Snakes do slyther so that fits. As for hufflepuff, the animals most closely embodying the house values is a dog, but the name makes me think of a wolf (I'll huff and I'll puff, etc). If Rowling had t use a badger she should have at least used the honey badger. He don't care.
J. K. Rowling’s Latest Book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Currently Released Under a Pseudonym!
@6 - I wonder what you'd make out of the author biography for Pittacus Lore, "author" of I am Number Four:
Pittacus Lore is Lorien's ruling Elder. He has been on Earth for the last twelve years, preparing for the war that will decide Earth's fate. His whereabouts are unknown.
J. K. Rowling’s Latest Book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Currently Released Under a Pseudonym!
You have to admire Rowling for escaping the George Lucas trap. It would have been so easy to just sit and churn out endless sequels, prequels and tie-ins. Instead she's following her creative instinct and writes completely different novels. I have to admit I didn't quite warm up to The Casual Vacancy but I'll certainly try this one.
The Plague
Wonderful. Liu can pack a punch in such a short form. My favorite Liu story is this -
Ten Great Television Episodes About Time Travel
It should be mentioned that "Year of Hell" Was written by Ronald D. Moore, so in a way, that Voyager season-arc where they are pursued, the ship is increasingly damaged and beloved crewmwmbers get maimed or killed? It exists and it's called Battlestar Galactica.
Sleeps With Monsters: Divine Possibilities and the Clash of Expectations
Ursula - I don't know what it was like for Liz's friend, but for me, reading it for the first time 3-4 years ago, it was exactly the same thing that Liz was talking about, the sense of divinity, that made me fall in love with the series. I've read many fantasy novels; many of them featured gods. If I were to live in one of those fantasy worlds, I'd have probably believed in their existence. But here were gods that I could not only believe in, but love. I've never seen it done before or since.
Starglass (Excerpt)
I wonder. This excerpt gives the impression of a society based on Judaism - with words such as Mar (mister) and Rebbe (rabby / teacher), Abba (dad) and Zehava (the Hebrew name given to the character Goldylocks). But The ship itself is named after the pagan Goddess Ashera. Odd.
The Problem With Wonder Woman
Modern interpretations can rework Wonder Woman to almost anything, but there's a big problem wiht the original depiction of the character. Her creator may have claimed that she epitomizes woman's equality but she was more of an exit for Marston's fantasies of female domination/submission and bondage. Which is OK in and by itself but if you're looking for a depiction of a female character - as opposed to a man's sexual fantasy - early Wonder Woman ain't it.
Our Own Incandescent Mythology: You by Austin Grossman
I started to read the review and was going to ask whether Austin was somehow related to Lev Grossman, then I read on and saw that they're twins! For me a comparison to The Magicians is the highest for of compliment. Combine that with the fact that I a grew up exactly at that era when Commodore 64's replaced Ataris (got my Apple II-plus at the age of 7), that the Ultima series was one of my favorite pasttimes growing up, and that I have worked for a game company in the past - sound like "You" is the perfect novel for me!
The “Dark Underbelly” of Shakespeare? Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing
Was the mention of a "Tuscan vacation" intentional? Kenneth Brannagh's 1993 version of the play was filmed there.

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