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Thanos | Badass of the Week

You address omnipotence. Tread carefully.”

A special edition of Badass of the Week by Ben Thompson

Going out the week of San Diego Comic-Con and telling a bunch of superhero aficionados that Thanos is badass is kind of like walking into a Star Trek convention and announcing that Vulcans have pointy ears. No shit, Professor X, why don’t you tell us something we didn’t already infer telepathically just by looking at a comic book panel depicting a giant, beady-eyed muscle-bound behemoth backhanding Captain America to the turn with one hand while simultaneously head-butting a structural tear in the fabric of the universe with his wrinkly purple forehead?

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1984

Down in the Ghetto at the SF Café – Notes From New Sodom

“Don’t tell anybody, but science fiction no longer exists.”
Matthew Cheney, The Old Equations, Strange Horizons

Welcome to the SF Café, in the ghetto of Genre, in the city of Writing, in the Republic of Art.  We call it the SF Café because only the letters S and F survive, but you can still see the full name today, The Science Fiction Café and Bar, traced in the grime, outlined in the negative shadow of those clean spaces left where the letters have fallen away.  It may look a bit shabby from the outside and there’s surely some weird shit in the window that makes you wonder what the fuck is going on inside.  But let’s step through the door right now, and step through the decades too, to see it as it once was, the shining formica of the counter-top, the sleek silvery steel of the coffee machine and soda fountain, the bakelite and plastic of the trappings, the decor all bright white and brilliant red, shining, gleaming, with the Fifties promise of futurity.  This is the SF Café as it was in the Golden Age, when Old Man Campbell owned it.

Emphasis on the was.

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gardens of the moon

Closing the Book on Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen – Review

I remember reading a book, the first book I’d ever review online, called Meditations on Middle on Earth, which was collection of essays from the who’s who cast of fantasy authors reflecting on The Lord of the Rings. When they read it, where they were, how it influenced them. Among them was Robin Hobb, who I also later interviewed, and she posed a question in her essay that was something to the effect of the thought of why even try (to write) something that has already been done at that level? I find myself, from the fan’s perspective, in a similar place. As a life long fan of epic fantasy, this guy, one Steven Erikson… he’s done it.

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Escaping into Fiction – Sharon Shinn Guest Blog

When I was having an interesting time of it in college, I was seized with the notion that I was reading an incredibly long and detailed story about a woman named Sharon Shinn, and at some point I would reach the end of the book, look up, and find myself to be a wholly different person. (A friend of mine says this is an idea that would only occur to a writer.)

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david lapham

The DEFIANT Lost History of David Lapham’s Mongrel

In the mid-’90s Jim Shooter, once the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and later a founder of  VALIANT comics created DEFIANT comics. Among those that went with him was David Lapham, an artist/writer who would go on to win Eisners for his independent work on his own Stray Bullets. Lapham would be the artist on the debut comic from DEFIANT, Warriors of Plasm, but before he did that, before anyone did anything at DEFIANT we could put in our hands and read, we got Mongrel.

We never saw him again.

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steven erikson

Steven Erikson Interview – The True Gods of Malazan Shadow

Today I interview Steven Erikson who in my mind nothing less than writer who brought Sword & Sorcery elements into contemporary, even literary fiction and creating a landscape all his own. The author of my favorite series of all time (you can check out my thoughts upon completing The Malazan Book of the Fallen). Let’s do this!

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hal duncan

The Scourge of Sci-Fi

Ordure and Bullshit

“Nine tenths of science fiction is crud. Of course, nine tenths of everything is crud.”
Theodore Sturgeon

In the uptown district of Literature and the midtown district of Mainstream, so the story goes, the high-brow and the mid-brow all turn their noses up when they glance downtown, in the direction of Genre. Fairy tales for children, they sneer. On the door of the Bistro de Critique there was for a good many years a sign that read, “No Genre allowed.” The nearest they ever got to a genre label is General Fiction — a term with an empty definition if ever there was one, catch-all for a host of idioms and idiosyncracies. No, genre fiction just isn’t de rigeur there, so the story goes. So, fuck em, we say. Fuck the mundanes of Mainstream, the elitists of Literature. We’re Genre and proud of it.

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gareth edwards

Gareth Edwards Interview | Monsters

Gareth Edwards is not what you probably picture when you think of a special effects artist turned science fiction director:  he’s personable and energetic, as charming to look at as he is to listen to, and utterly enthusiastic about his new movie, Monsters.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a near-future in which a NASA probe brought back life from one of Jupiter’s moons, and the creatures have taken over half of Mexico.

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deadpool

Deadpool – Badass of the Week

“Destiny doesn’t care that I’ve made sacrifices to get here.

That I’ve said my prayers and brushed after meals.

Destiny wants a garbage man… and I’m always it.

Bang bang.  I’m Deadpool.  You’re Dead.

A special edition of Badass of the Week  by Ben Thompson

Deadpool is a criminally deranged, psychopathic ninja mercenary with a mutant healing factor, a withering sarcastic wit, an encyclopedic array of pop culture references, and unfettered access to katanas, hand grenades and automatic weapons, which he uses to kill everyone ever.  He’s like Snake Eyes, Wolverine, and David Spade’s Hollywood Minute mashed into the body of an Olympic athlete, then combined with the impulse control of Charlie Manson – and the end result is that he’s so fucking awesome at pummeling people into meat juice that he somehow manages to be an effective assassin even though he sneaks around heavily-fortified military facilities in a fire-engine red jumpsuit.

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sandman

In Which a Wake is Held – Sandman Meditations

Three years have passed. Not in The Sandman, but here between these meditations. Within only a few installments of finishing the central series, I couldn’t go on. I read chapter two of The Wake and could think of nothing to say. Characters from all the books were coming back, congregating, ready to pay respects. I wasn’t ready.

What has changed? Everything. Nothing. Years have passed. Can I think of something to say now? Perhaps. Is it worth saying? I don’t know. (But then, I never know.)

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flash gordon

The Marriage(s) of Science Fiction & Fantasy – Notes From New Sodom

The Great Debate

“The question of whether a certain story of imagination is a fantasy or a science fiction work would depend upon the device the author uses to explain his projected or unreal world. If he uses the gimmick or device of saying: ‘This is a logical or probable assumption based upon known science, which is going to develop from known science or from investigations of areas not yet quite explored but suspected,’ then one could call it science fiction. But if he asks the reader to suspend his disbelief simply because of the fun of it, in other words, just to say: ‘Here is a fairy tale I’m going to tell you,’ then it is fantasy. It could actually be the same story.”
Sam J. Lundwall

Down in the ghetto of Genre, in the SF Café that is our literary salon, in this scene of zines and forums, conventions and clubs, there’s a Great Debate that kicks off every so often. The diversity of the clientele maps to a diversity of opinions — convictions, even — and few of these are as contentious as those addressing the differences or lack thereof between science fiction and fantasy. To be fair, the taxonomy of literary genres is a game that appeals to the geek in me as much as anyone, but the diversity we’re dealing with in the SF Café is obscured by the very word genre, its meaning muddled by a conflation of openly-defined aesthetic idioms with conventional forms that are closely-defined and marketing categories that are all but empty of definition.

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jeff vandermeer

Jeff VanderMeer Interview – Before Annihilation, Ambergris

This week my guest is a multiple Word Fantasy Award winning author and editor of efforts that have become recent fixtures in fan favorite lists, writing a brand of fantastic fiction that the Guardian admits “Could well be creating one of the dominant literary forms of the 21 century”. From City of Saints and Madmen, to Veniss Underground, to his collection Secret Life and now his latest work Shriek: an afterword to a book that doesn’t exist, every journey undertaken has been one to a different place, even if at times occurring in the same location or a few steps from it.

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new frontier

DC: THE NEW FRONTIER… Stripp’d

0. Looking Back in order to Move Forward

One of the more interesting developments in superhero comics has been the growing popularity of comics that take familiar characters and transplant them into unfamiliar historical contexts. Though this type of postmodern speculative exercise has been around in one form or another since the Silver Age, the current vogue has its roots in Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola’s Gotham by Gaslight (1989), an ‘elseworld’ that took Batman and reinvented him as a steampunk vigilante battling Jack the Ripper in a turn of the Century Gotham City. Other attempts at historical re-potting include Superman’s reinvention as a Soviet tyrant in Mark Millar’s Superman: Red Son (2003) and Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602 (2003), which transplanted the entire Marvel universe to Elizabethan England.

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samuel delany

To the Water-Fountains – Notes from New Sodom

Was Sodom destroyed?
Aye, and Gomorrah to six miles around it.
The rivers beneath it boiled in the
street. The mountain vomited rock
on the orchards. And no one now may
live upon the place.
O my city! What city can I found? Where
now must I go to make a home?

Samuel R. Delany, Driftglass

I can’t tell you what age I was when I first read Samuel R. Delany’s “Aye, And Gomorrah,” in a tattered second-hand copy of his collection, Driftglass. I have only the most random snippets of memories associated with my teen reading — a vague awareness that the first SF book I read was I, ROBOT, that I caught the bug with more Asimov, became a hardened fan with Heinlein and PKD, and an avid collector with the series of Gollancz Classics released in the 1980s. I’m pretty sure that it was picking up Babel-17 and Nova as part of that series that turned me on to Delany. Well, OK. I say I’m pretty sure; I might just as easily have read one of his short stories first in one of the umpteen anthologies I took out of the local library. Truth be told, I have a shit memory, so I’m pretty sketchy on the details, have a tendency to answer any question that begins “Do you remember…?” with, “Was it more than a minute ago?”

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batman

Batman | Badass of the Week

He’s the most dangerous man in the galaxy

Superman, telling some Martians about Batman

A special edition of Badass of the Week by Ben Thompson

Batman is a crime-fighting vigilante ninja detective who dresses up in bullet-proof armor, wears a gigantic black cape, hides in the darkest corners of the city, and then sneak-attack face-kicks the world’s most sadistic criminal douchebags until every felon in the tri-state area is passed out unconscious in a Gotham City Prison complaining about how they’ve got concussions so bad that their brains are leaking out their noses.  He’s one of comics’ most beloved, longest-running, and badass superheroes, an ultra-genius master of stealth and hand-to-hand combat, and a man so over-the-top hardcore that the mere mention of his name has been known to cause incontinence among the seedier members of human society.

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ian r macleod

ALTERNATE LONDONS – Guest Blog By Ian R. MacLeod

This isn’t the best of times to be in England. People may take its continuing failures in sport with either blank resignation or even blanker disinterest, but there’s a indefinable sense that the nation is lagging behind neighbours it once used to dominate and, let’s face it, brutalise. Drawn up to bat in England’s favour recently on Radio 4’s Today programme was none other than Norman Tebbit, which rather emphasised the problem. The thuggish tendency, the out-of-date; this is what England now stands for. And at the nation’s heart, or at least its supposed heart — for the place lies a long way from that spot both geographically and in most people’s affections — lies its capital, London, a city whose recent monuments, such as Canary Wharf and the Dome, seem more like plugholes for investment and juicy targets for terrorism than true expressions of national pride. But there has long been a sense that the city isn’t quite the place it should be. Both Ken Livingston and Boris Johnson are far from first of their sort to get to high political office by promoting the lingering and ever-appealing idea that London, somehow and in some way, needs properly sorting out.

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Charlie Huston

Caught Stealing with Joe Pitt – Charlie Huston Interview

Today we are pleased to present an interview with Charlie Huston. Coming off of a run on Marvel’s Moon Knight Charlie Huston is a writer who also has several novels to his credit, including being three books into the continuing vamp noir adventures of Joe Pitt, and The Hank Thompson trilogy. More recently, the Edgar nominated author, switched perspectives and wrote the stand-alone Shotgun Rule. The fourth book in the Joe Pitt Casebooks, Every Last Drop, is scheduled for a September 2008 release.

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hal duncan

On Blood, Bad Boys and Bottoms – Notes from New Sodom

THE INNER INHUMANITY

I’ve got a theory, one that’s been brewing for a while really, ever since I first read Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire and Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls. It’s one that’s been partly informed by my… exposure to the Twilight phenomenon, to the general prevalence of the vampire trope these days. And after coming across one of those internet kerfuffles over a recent article in Esquire by Stephen Marche that made a rough stab at advancing a similar idea (and largely got shot down in flames) I thought it might be a good time to get my teeth into it, so to speak.

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man booker

The Booker and the Bistro de Critique – Notes from New Sodom

Those Rocket Age Rhapsodies, Those Information Era Operas

“No SF novel ever won the Booker.”
Somebody, Somewhere, Somewhen

If’ you hang out long enough down in the ghetto of Genre, in the SF Café, eventually you’ll hear this axiom, or an axiom like it, muttered with a certain tone of harumph, a petulance in proportion to the wounded pride. Maybe you’ll say it yourself, sullen in your sense of injustice, disregard; I know I have. And whenever it’s spoken, that truism will likely spark a little to-and-fro on the exclusion of SF from the modern canon. There is, after all, an absenting in the absence, an active excision; the ghetto of Genre is a territory of the abject, an enclosure for the refused, that paraliterary pulp exiled from Literature — despite the fact that literature means only that which has been written — delimited as Genre — despite the fact that every work of literature sits within some genre or other.

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george rr martin

No Thrones – A George R.R. Martin Interview

I have always enjoyed reading interviews of George R.R. Martin. Not because they offer informative illuminating aspects to his masterpiece (and yes they do exist in epic fantasy) series A Song of Ice and Fire, which due to its multiple perspectives and often times subtle narrative at once offers the chance of being exposed to provocative information as well as the opportunity to be strung along on multiple elaborate red herrings. He historically refrains from talking about specifics regarding plot and characters. Neither is it especially because of any tendency by Martin to be controversial in his statements. What I find oddly compelling is that when I read interviews of Martin, I get this image of a busy writer who would rather be doing anything else but talking about himself while he has a book to write, and damn it, there’s something admirable about that.

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Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Back to the Future…with a Warhammer – Aaron Dembski-Bowden Guest Blog

The Appeal of Getting Your Ass Kicked

Back when I was a kid, in that era of willing vulnerability when we’re all sponging up ideas and inspiration to form our adult tastes, I saw something in the sci-fi genre that really stood out. In hindsight, I’m sort of proud of myself for noticing it, but maybe I’m giving my youthful self a little too much credit.

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scott lynch

For Love of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch Interview

My guest today is a less than a week away from seeing his debut hit the shelves in the U. and a month away until it debuts in the U.S. The book, The Lies of Locke Lamora, is the first installment in a planned seven book cycle titled The Gentlemen Bastards.

I first read the book in October of last year, reviewed it, and after reading it knew that Scott Lynch was somebody I needed to talk to.

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blindsight

Review – Blindsight by Peter Watts

One of the things I find interesting about “hard” science fiction — by way of introducing Peter Watts’s Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight, the best example of the type that I have read in years — is that it is probably the most legitimate heir to the original remit of story, a remit that has existed since humans first gained sufficient consciousness and intelligence both to create stories and to need to create stories. Looking at the earliest stories we have record of, we can always see several purposes at work: stories existed to inform; to entertain; and, from the start, stories have existed at the level of myth to theorize, to suggest and test possibilities about the unknown elements of the world that we see and experience. What are those odd looking animals, where did they come from; where did we come from; what are those flashes of light in the darkness?

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hal duncan

The Latest Teacup Tempest – Escapism & Elitism in Publishing

Elitism, escapism, world-building, blah blah blah. I’ve had my head down in terms of forums and blog-brouhahs. There’s a lot of, um, passion being thrown about, which is a good thing — it’s nice to know people give a fuck — but to be honest, I think a lot of the argument involves people talking at cross-purposes, people defending something that they think others are attacking, attacking something that they think others are defending, people saying that they’re not attacking / defending something in the way that other people think they are, but actually attacking / defending something else entirely, something which is worth attacking / defending… as opposed to what other people “seem to be” defending / attacking and so on, and on, and on, and on, and ever on, like the last one million pages of climbing up a fucking mountain at the end of Tolkien’s Lordy-Lordy-Massuh-Ah’s-Ah-Gonna-Carry-You-Massuh-Frodo of the Rings.

What?

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Jia Zhangke

Paris in a Beijing Suburb: The Failure of Capitalism in The World of Jia Zhangke

Jia Zhangke is not only the best filmmaker to emerge from China’s sixth generation of filmmakers, but also widely regarded as one of the most important and vital directors working today by both his peers and the critics. The World (Shìjiè) is his fourth film and the first to be set outside of his native province of Shanxi, although a number of characters are from Shanxi and communicate with each other in the Shanxi dialect.

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zoran zivkovic

At the Teashop | Zoran Živković Interview

This week our guest is World Fantasy Award winning author Dr. Zoran Živković. Publishers in the UK and USA have snapped up Živković’s stories, written in his native Serbian, in English translation at an ever-increasing rate as his literary star has risen. His work has been compared to that of Calvino and Borges and has received praise from such notable authors as Jeff Vandermeer and Michael Moorcock. His tightly written novels and collections, beginning with The Fourth Circle and continuing to such recent publications as Seven Touches of Music and Twelve Collections and The Teashop, combine modern characters with fantastic, sometimes absurd situations, that reward careful reading but do not demand a single interpretation. His fiction often weaves a connected whole out of many seemingly separate parts—which, come to think of it, is precisely what an interview attempts to do as well.

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ian cameron esslemont

Malazan ICE – Ian Cameron Esslemont Interview

After a long and trying journey into the Azath I was finally able to track down one of the architects of the Malazan world that I find myself completely addicted to. When I first read Ian Cameron Esslemont’s first book Night of Knives, I must admit my reaction was a bit lukewarm, not unwelcome but not a piece that impacted me. After I added more pieces to the puzzle and studied the ones I had with more scrutiny I tackled the book again and it was one of those books that made me review it.

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avatar

The Lost Airbender | Notes from New Sodom

Racebending and Lifestyle Theft

“If you go exploring in another culture only as a way of improving yourself and your work, that’s blatantly appropriative. Rose Fox, “A Whiff of Colonialism,” Publishers Weekly

Another day, another shitstorm in the SF Café. A couple of months back, some of you might recall, it was one Young Turk turned Old Guard with an ill-fated article on international SF, a Caesar of dubious pontification that met a Senate of aggravated responses. Others said all that has to be said about the article at the time, and it’s sorta blown over now, so I’m not going to add my dagger; but in a couple of the responses (or responses to responses,) as the entrails slipped to the ground, fingers were pointed and the dread words whispered: cultural appropriation. As in the quote above, the link was made.

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big lebowski

Takin’ ‘er Easy for All Us Sinners: The World According to Jeffrey Lebowski

The Big Lebowski enjoys what is probably the largest cult following of all the cult-attracting films of Joel and Ethan Coen, and has pretty much since its release over a decade ago.  And “cult” has become more apropos a term since the advent of Dudeism, the official unofficial philosophy of Jeffrey “the Dude” Lebowski (dudeism.com). Dudeism teaches that we all need to just take it easy, man, and on a personal note, if there is one thing I’ve figured out about myself in the past few years, it’s that I am not perfectly calm here.  But I am learning to abide by adhering to a pretty strict Dude regimen.  Here’s some of the stuff I’ve figured out.

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peter v brett

Peter V. Brett Interview – The Warded Man Himself

For the longest time I knew I had conducted an interview with Peter V. Brett but for some reason maybe the file never carried over during various iterations of the site. I finally found a copy in my email circa 2008. This would have been right before his debut novel was released and I recall vividly I had one question I really wanted to ask him after reading, so I knew my interview wasn’t something I was just imagining. Here it is and I must say he gave some great thoughtful answers to some rather base questions by yours truly.

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chris barzak

Review – The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak

“Are you okay?” That is the question asked, in one form or another, in nearly all of the stories that comprise Christopher Barzak’s new mosaic novel The Love We Share Without Knowing. It is a deceptively simple question. It is a question that you ask when you can sense that something is wrong, but you don’t know what, or what to do. It is a question that you may be asked when you are not behaving in accordance with someone’s idea of “normal.” And it is a question you might be asked when you are haunted. So many of Barzak’s characters are all three of these.

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catherynne valente

Interview – In the Labyrinth with Catherynne M. Valente

I’m returning in style. One of my favorite writers in fiction, I was introduced to her work through my very past interview experience. The very first guest I had was one K.J. Bishop, and after I tied her up and demanded she give up writers of similar quality she finally uttered two names. One was Jeffrey Ford — the other was Catherynne M. Valente.

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patrick o leary

Patrick O’Leary Interview – The Gift

Behind Door Number Three is The Gift of The Impossible Bird…

When I decided to re-read Patrick O’Leary’s novels to see if they were as good as I remembered them to be I also set out to track him down. I wanted to see if he was still writing and if he had anything coming out as it had been awhile since we heard from him. I hoped that his pen wasn’t silent. After some digging around I heard from him and he agreed to talk to me and luckily he’s still writing. What follows is most of our discussion.

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malazan

Review – A Malazan Night of Knives by Ian Cameron Esslemont

I’m a huge fan of the everything Malazan. I am of the opinion that Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen is the single finest fantasy series this or any other world has ever seen, surpassing my past and still very much loved favorites by George R. R. Martin, Roger Zelazny, Tolkien, and Patricia McKillip (because her Riddle of the Stars mesmerized me as a child).

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kelly link

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link Review

I can safely say that I’ve never met a Kelly Link story that I didn’t like, and, after re-reading her alchemical debut collection “Stranger Things Happen”, I’m just about ready to tell you why. First, a little recap…“Stranger Things…” burst onto the shorter fiction scene in 2001, published by Small Beer Press (who also put out my favourite ‘zine – “Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet” – and which Link co-founded). It was immediately seized upon by some big names, both in-genre and out of it. Andrew O’Hehir of The New York Times Book Review wrote that: “She embraces fantasy in its fullest sense and in doing so transcends all considerations of genre”, and Neil Gaiman called her “the best short story writer currently out there…” Ellen Datlow, John Clute and Sean Stewart all added their own respected voices in praise.

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game of thrones

Playin’ With Ice and Fire: A Game of Thoughts | Ned Chapter 20

She’s new, she’s the re-re-reader.  She’s the newbie, she’s the spoilery vet.  Together they’re rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting their POV on.  Today they move on to Chapter 20, a Ned Stark chapter.

Yes, loyal Playin’ with Ice and Fire readers, Elena is no longer riding solo on this project.  The inimitable Darth Rachel of the comments and the Dune re-read has stepped in to fill the shoes of the re-reader, so starting today you will once more have both perspectives on the chapters. Jay is trash.

Also starting today, you will have a predictable schedule for postings: every Monday.  There might be occasional extra chapters thrown in, so it’s always a good idea to check back more often or follow one of our news feeds, but at the very least you can rest assured that at least one thing will go right with every Monday.

Announcements over, so let’s get our perspectives on!

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theodora goss

In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss Review

“The Rose in Twelve Petals” begins Theodora Goss’s newly-in-paperback collection In the Forest of Forgetting, and the story makes an ideal introduction to the the author’s work. A retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty story, it frames and then re-frames our expectations. The initial recognition of the familiar story pulls us into the the fairy tale mindset: of stories that map the small journeys and decisions that can unexpectedly lead to major life changes; of characters and encounters that we understand to be meant not quite literally, yet not as simple allegory either.

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erin evans

Outlining for Non-Outliners: An Outline – Erin M. Evans Guest Blog

Seek out any forum for writers and inevitably, eventually, someone will show up with a question to which there is no good answer: Should I write an outline for my novel before I start? Now, writers are a mostly civil bunch, and in this case they are no different. But you will notice that everyone who answers this question seems to say, “I can imagine not outlining” or  “I can’t imagine outlining.”

Switching positions on this deeply ingrained identification can be tricky. Like rewiring your toaster to be a space heater, it feels like there’s a chance everything will go horribly awry and you’ll never be able to do either option again.

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Songs of Hate, Part Two: The Visual Instead Of The Verbal

We left off last column with a run-down on the first of actress/singer Meiko Kaji’s Female Prisoner Scorpion series and a hint that things were about to get pretty weird. Well, the phantasmagoria goes full bore in the second film in the series, Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (Joshuu Sasori – Dai 41 Zakkyobo). Filmed, like its predecessor, in 1972, here Nami Matsushima, aka Sasori (scorpion), is pretty much fully transformed into something supernatural and, like Lee Marvin’s Walker/Parker in Point Blank, begins to haunt the minds of all who’ve wronged her. She even transcends time and space through some stunningly psychedelic timeshifts and edits. At one point, as Sasori hacks away at her foe, she literally slashes through the “screen”, taking us to a different environment.  It’s completely, beautifully bonkers.

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roger rabbit

Forget It, Eddie, It’s Toontown – The Crime Fiction Roots Of Roger Rabbit

My friend’s dad took us to see Willow one sunny summer’s day in 1988.  It was a good movie and all, but honestly I was extremely distracted throughout the whole thing.  All I could think about was one of the coming attractions I’d seen for a film called Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  I’d seen Bedknobs and Broomsticks and other fare where cartoons were mixed with live action.  But this flick looked much different—it had sex and violence and swear words.  Mix those with cartoons, and it was everything my almost adolescent heart could desire.

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Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Aaron Dembski-Bowden Interview | Warhammer 40K

Aaron Dembski-Bowden is a new author for The Black Library, Games Workshop’s publishing arm. Though only three novels into his Black Library writing career, he has fast developed a devoted following of both die-hard Warhammer 40K fans and people only recently brought into the fold. His radical approach to writing and his outspoken and uncensored view of both the 40K world and the challenges of writing within it have sparked discussion and controversy in equal measure.

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Adrian Tchaikovsky

Adrian Tchaikovsky Interview – Bugging Out Before Children of Time

Empire in Black and Gold was published by Pan Macmillan in July of this year, and kicked off the Shadows of the Apt series. Today we have a chat with its author, Adrian Tchaikovsky, to tell you all you need to know about him and a new Fantasy series coming from a publisher who has a a bit of a reputation of being on the ground floor when it comes to names we will all later know.

Time to talk bugs, empires, epics and ask the one question that matters with Adrian!

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david marusek

Getting to Know You by David Marusek Review

Getting to Know You is only David Marusek’s second book, but he is already a veteran of the science fiction wars. Marusek’s 2005 novel Counting Heads was the subject of the debut speculative fiction column “Across the Universe” in that bastion of mainstream fiction, The New York Times Book Review; the column both proclaimed Counting Heads to be among the reviewer’s “favorite books [of 2005] in any category” and yet wondered, “why does contemporary science fiction have to be so geeky” that it becomes inaccessible to readers of mainstream literature? The question helped renew a battle, waged within the science fiction community since the New Wave movement of the 1960s, over how the “science” and “fiction” components of SF intersect. Some (such as Charles Stross) argued that SF should be more geeky, should focus its efforts on the tech-savvy readers of websites like Slashdot and Boing Boing; others (including John Scalzi) argued that what SF requires are more accessible entry points for readers less familiar with science. Sadly, the first point of the NYT column — regarding the quality of Marusek’s fiction — was largely forgotten in the discussion. Given all this, I’m happy to say that Getting to Know You, a new collection of the author’s short stories, in large part bridges the gaps that its predecessor highlighted: it’s equally accessible to SF genrephiles and mainstream readers. The collection’s defining characteristic is carefully constructed balance.

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Traitor | a Michael Cisco Interview

First off, I’d like to thank Michael Cisco for agreeing to this interview and welcome him as our guest at Boomtron. Michael Terry Cisco is an American writer and teacher. He currently resides in New York City and probably best known for his first novel, The Divinity Student, which has won the prestigious of the International Horror Guild Award for Best First Novel of 1999. Other works by Cisco include The Tyrant (2003), The San Veneficio Canon (2004) and two books published last year, The Traitor and Secret Hours.

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daytripper

Daytripper – The Deaths We Die Every Day

Daytripper, the ten issue maxi series comic by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, is an almost-surreal life study of one man, Brás de Oliva Domingos, and how he has lived his life. Each issue is a slice of life tale where we are presented with one day in Brás’ life. Sadly, however (and this shouldn’t be spoiling anything since the title has finished), at the conclusion of each issue Brás manages to die. Each death represents how any moment can be our last and we never know when that moment will really come. Each death, I feel, also represents how aspects of our lives can, and will die, and how they probably should.

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Doctor Doom | Badass of the Week

A special edition of Badass of the Week by Ben Thompson

“Show me the puny mortal who does not tremble at the name of Doctor Doom!”

I’ve always held a soft spot in my heart for comic books characters who go out there with no inherent super-powers and roll the dice in toe-to-toe combat against genetically-engineered superhuman mutant warriors from some quadrant of space where people are born with the muscular density of a rhinoceros.  Never is this more true than in situations where the aforementioned character is a sort-of-misunderstood supervillain who wants nothing more than an eternal end to war, conflict, substandard wages, hunger, and illiteracy – and who seeks to accomplish these lofty idealistic goals by violently obliterating all who stand in his way and replacing every government on Earth-616 with an autocratic New World Order devoted to worshipping him as a living God among mortals.

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gijoe

G.I. Joe Rawhides – 30 Years Later, the G.I. Joe Animated Movie

Back in 1987 fans of G.I. Joe got an animated film that has gone on to become a pretty divisive movie during a time which was probably the height of or toward the end of the height of the popularity for the G.I. Joe brand. Much like the Transformers animated film from the previous year it can quite plainly be seen as a feature length commercial for a new wave, maybe even a generation, of characters. I was overseas as a kid and when one of my friends got this on VHS it was HUGE news in my school, a part of a close knit U.S. military community in Italy. Back then it was just awesome and when you click it on now you realize that the intro remains one of the best in cartoon history.

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wizard magazine

Pocket WIZARD Before Comics Went Chromium

Wizard magazine is a publication that is now often talked about in a negative context by most of the same people who didn’t like the half decade or so that Wizard reflected and even influenced the comic book medium and culture, and many who never read the magazine in its prime who echo anything negative because internet

I don’t really want to get into that discussion and instead just want to highlight a recent acquisition.

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matthew stover

Star Wars and Raising Caine – Matthew Stover Interview

Today I have Matthew Stover in for an interview I conducted last month. Stover’s novels chronicling the adventures of Caine are always among my most anticipated books and recently he delivered with the publication of his third Caine novel, Caine Black Knife, published by Del Rey last October. He is a NY Times Bestselling author of several Star Wars titles including Shatterpoint and the novelization of Revenge of the Sith. His next project is another Star Wars novel, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor.

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zoran zivkovic

Steps Through the Mist by Zoran Zivkovic Review

There are fantasists and there are master fantasists; I’d like to suggest that the masters reveal themselves not only by their greatest works, but by what are — for them and them only — lesser volumes. Steps Through the Mist, the latest of Serbian author Zoran Živković’s novels to be published in the USA, is a revelatory volume of this later sort; it confirms Živković’s status as a master. The book’s chief flaw is that there is simply not enough of it, leaving us wanting more.

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Hou Hsiao Hsien

Love Throughout The Ages: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Three Times

The Taiwanese New Wave that emerged in the 80s provided two of the best film makers of the modern age in the late Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Jonathan Rosenbaum has compared both of their work to that of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, in that they eschew the usual pacing and narrative structure of a film in order to portray life in a way that is more realistic. Both of their films are grounded in the troubled history of Taiwan and are deeply affected by the past that they are engaging, that of twentieth century Taiwan. Yang chooses to set most of his films in a contemporary setting (of his films, only the short film Expectations and his epic A Brighter Summer Day are set in the past) in an urban setting, usually Taipei, his characters tend to be middle class or upwardly mobile, but at heart of these films were the very human consequences of the legacy of Japanese rule and the onset of Westernization.  Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s films in comparison tend to be set in the past, in rural areas, focusing on the lives of primarily working class characters as they go about their day to day life.

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castle

You’ve Been Punked – Sam Sykes Guest Blog

If science fiction revolves around the question of “what if,” and fantasy revolves around the question of “what was,” then the question of “what is, but not so recently is, and more like what was, but less boring than that and not quite as nerdy as ‘what was’ like ‘what was middle earth like,’ so basically, what is and isn’t and how can I fit corsets into it” is clearly answered by one word.

Punk.

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scott lynch

Review – Escaping Scott Lynch’s Republic of Thieves, In Need of The That Thorn of Emberlain

Okay. So let me be clear, I dig me some Scott Lynch books. I really liked his debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, and I think I might find myself in the minority when I say I enjoyed the follow-up in his Gentlemen Bastard cycle, Red Seas Under Red Skies, even more. I go back when it comes to reading about the exploits of the Thorn of Camorr. I was on this probably just after choice frameshifters were after hearing about it from other authors I was interviewing who had read early drafts/manuscripts and were telling me behind the scenes that Scott Lynch was what was next. I have documentation.

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matrix

The Ten Greatest Henchmen In Movie History

Say you’re putting together a syndicate.  One of the first things that you are going to need is somebody to take care of your light work for you when words have run out.  As a means of determining the appropriate skill set for this oh-so-important addition to your workforce, the Complex has assembled a ranking of some of the more legendary henchman ever to grace the screen.  You know, as a way to gauge some of the qualities you might be looking for.

In ranking these heavies, extra points were earned for singularity of purpose, imperviousness to pain, and skill within the realm of hand-to-hand combat.  Points were taken away for any actions tantamount to a betrayal of the henchman’s employer, or conspicuous behavior likely to cause more trouble than harm.

Here’s how they shook out.

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guy gavriel kay

Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay Review

Let me begin candidly: “Lord of Emperors” only confirms the burgeoning suspicion I had at the end of “Sailing to Sarantium”. The “Sarantine Mosaic” is, for me, one of *the* superior works of prose, plot and imagination, not only in the fantasy genre, but in my reading experience in general. Highly subjective praise indeed you might object, but, from where I’m sitting, well deserved. As such I feel compelled to confess to the obvious: I’ve written a joyfully biased review (somewhat ironically given a recent discussion about a reviewer’s striving for objectivity over on the forums!).