Magical Words Link Roundup 6-26-2017

Are there black people in the future? David Banner explains why he writes science fiction.

Here are twenty Problematic Speculative Fiction Works chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field 1 and in this case, the likelihood of encountering their avid fans.

Steve Brust opened last weekend’s Fourth Street Fantasy convention in Minneapolis with a short speech that used the term “safe space” to make an impact – and succeeded, for better or worse.

Scott Lynch delivered the Fourth Street Fantasy board’s closing statement, which was perceived to be, in part, a response to Brust.

Lydy Nickerson articulated her negative response to Brust’s opening speech in “The Rules: A Memo for Every Man in My Life”.

Close your eyes and imagine a pirate. Was he wearing an eye patch, burying some gold and overusing the letter “r”? If so, we’re here to tell you that the image of pirates that Hollywood has taught you isn’t just wrong — in most cases, the truth was even more badass.

What kind of degenerate only wants to own 30 books (or fewer) at a time on purpose?”

On those days when you just want to escape grown-up life to color in your blanket fort, your favorite PBS host is there for you. LeVar Burton‘s new podcast is like Reading Rainbow for adults.

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-21-2017

We’re so conditioned to believe that white is the default that we write ourselves out of the worlds that we create.

You are a character in a fantasy novel. Congratulations: you have been invited to a feast.

Experience your favorite fantasy worlds through some of the most fearsome, devious, and brutal antagonists in fantasy.

Wonder Woman is a superhero of many talents: She’s got incredible strength and speed, and she seems to be both indestructible and immortal. But her most underrated skill of all is her ability to speak countless languages.

This amazing conversation between A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin and Stephen King is from a conversation they had at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the summer of 2016, and a year later it’s still a fascinating look at the authors’ respective creative processes.

When writing at speed and getting involved with the story, it’s so easy to type something that you simply can’t believe you did.

Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat ― the duo behind BBC’s popular Sherlock Holmes adaptation, “Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch ― will update another literary genre story: Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Cassandra Clare’s lawyer has sought a court order demanding sci-fi writer Sherrilyn Kenyon disclose evidence in the case over trademark infringement.

There has never been a time where fans have had so many great superhero TV shows on the air. Marvel and DC have more and more shows coming out each year, and most of them are great. Unfortunately, even on good shows, there are a couple crappy characters.

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-20-2017

If you’re in Georgia District 6 or SC District 5, don’t forget to go out and vote in today’s special election.

The key to crafting a captivating historical fantasy is to submerge the reader’s senses.

You might chortle at the thought, but a surprising number of words we use every day slipped into the English language through children’s books.

There are thousands of podcasts about any conceivable topic, which makes it that much more intimidating to get started if you’re a podcast newbie. So here are 13 podcasts that you might like, based on 13 books that are at the top of best-seller charts right now.

George Orwell said, “Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.” The idea behind this statement, as far as this advice went, was that prose should simply be the vehicle by which you convey character and story—it should be as unassuming and inconspicuous as possible in order to focus on what really matters.

Emma Newman has proven herself a prolific and talented writer with no genre allegiances, showing off her science fiction chops in the psychologically intriguing near-future-set Planetfall and its follow-up, After Atlas, and displaying an affinity for steampunk alternate history in Brother’s Ruin.

Imagine that you could introduce yourself to someone by showing them your bookshelf. What ten books would you put on that shelf that would give people a glimpse into who you are?

Writers aspire to being a voice inside your head. It is a given sometimes that voice will grate (“This guy sucks!”) and sometimes it will provoke (“This guy always makes me mad! I want to read his next six books to keep an eye on him!”) and sometimes it will resonate mightily (“This guy’s awesome! He changed me!”)

Finally, the superhero I’ve been waiting for!

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-19-2017

While some dads were busy tossing the ball around with their kids, these literary fathers instilled a love of literature into their children — a love so deep, in fact, that they followed in their father’s footsteps to become writers themselves.

Monsters fascinate. There’s something in the shadows that you don’t understand, can’t quite make out the shape of—something that can eat you. Something that can steal your children, spoil your crops, or worst of all turn you into a monster yourself, so that you’ll no longer be welcome in the warm places where we tell stories about monsters.

When it comes to teenage mystery stories, there are few tried and true combos quite like small-town America and shadowy supernatural forces.

Astrophysicist and “science communicator” Neil deGrasse Tyson is a national treasure. This is especially true in these dark, anti-science times, where it often feels like we are teetering on a Middle Ages level of understanding of even basic scientific facts.

Gregory Matloff recently published a paper arguing that humans may be like the rest of the universe in substance and in spirit. A “proto-consciousness field” could extend through all of space, he argues. Stars may be thinking entities that deliberately control their paths. Put more bluntly, the entire cosmos may be self-aware.

Kara Dennison explores some of the misconceptions about where con registration money goes.

Discussing their writing processes at a sold out ‘in conversation’ event in London last August, fantasy royalty Robin Hobb and George R.R. Martin both emphasised the significance of dark and secret places to their fascination with the genre.

Today, Wonder Woman is viewed by many as a feminist icon. But as Wonder Woman’s popularity endures, the actual women who shaped and inspired the comic book character are often overlooked.

Over two decades, the young British witch from J.K. Rowling’s eponymous Harry Potter series has grown from a literary smart girl into a powerful feminist symbol.

Hey, remember before those sadists at Pixar came along, when Disney movies were filled with nothing but joy and childlike wonder? Sure, they usually had one or two sad scenes per film, but by the end, everything was resolved and everyone was perfectly happy. Remember that? Well, you’re remembering wrong.

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-15-2017

In Good Faith: Messy Conversations About Race in Black & White” is a non profit dialogue between a white man and a black woman from different backgrounds who share a common goal of building and promoting racial understanding.

Climate change is a defining topic of near-future science fiction much like technology was the defining topic in the days of cyberpunk. Except that, really, climate fiction is bigger than cyberpunk.

Arrakis wasn’t the first desert planet of science fiction—at the very least, Altair IV as seen on Forbidden Planet has it beat, and I’m sure there’s some pulpy goodness even earlier that involves desert planet adventures. But Arrakis and its direct descendant Tatooine are definitely the most iconic desert worlds of our genre.

The Lord of the Rings is not usually portrayed as a love story. But that epic of magic and monsters and fraternal friendship contains many slivers of romance.

You saw Wonder Woman, right? And ever since, you’ve been running around the house crossing your wrists and trying to lasso the dogs, right? Point being: you saw it, you loved it, and you want to know what’s next.

If you’re planning your next road trip or getaway, you’re in luck: you can now combine your nerdiest passions with your time off by taking a trip to the many geek vacation destinations around the world.

While E3 is supposed to be a place where the video game industry’s biggest players present their wares in a bid to get you all excited about everything, it invariably ends up a contest, in which the game-playing public declare that some showings were better than others, and that the losers should thus be put to death.

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-14-2017

Steve Wetherell explains the Hermione Factor, and why he’s bored with the Strong Female Character.

Aquaman will be arriving in theaters late next year and during the buildup, there is sure to be plenty of people who say the same thing: “Aquaman is lame.” The jokes have been out there forever. The costume’s color scheme is too bright and, well, too orange, for anybody to be intimidated by it. And well, the whole “talks to fish” thing has been the butt of many jokes. It is difficult for those who have not fully versed themselves in the comics to truly appreciate this character.

Trump blocked Stephen King on Twitter, so J.K. Rowling stepped in to save the day.

Tracy K Smith has been named the Poet Laureate. Here’s a taste of her work.

In any society, even in times of stability, there’s bound to be a generation gap—but that gap gets so much larger at the end of everything, and so much more brutal in a world where one must kill the undead to survive.

During the 1970s and 1980s, with the explosion of fantasy entertainment through books, comics and movies, stories based on Celtic mythology suddenly became extremely hip. Unfortunately, the term ‘Celtic Mythology’ is a bit of a misnomer.

Years of classic novels being indignantly remodeled into terrible films have trained us to expect the worst. But even if they screw up nearly every aspect of the story, they usually end up getting at least one thing right. And in the case of these adaptations, it happened to be really crucial things.

Read the whole thread. It’s important.

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-13-2017

When your spouse goes missing or business partner turns up dead, you call a private eye, but when you’ve got zombies at the door, or a demon on your trail, you’ve better call an occult detective. Here are seven great consulting wizards, half-elf investigators, and demon-blooded detectives from the worlds of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Here are 11 rules of good writing that Iain M. Banks left as his legacy.

Writings from the 18th and 19th centuries frequently dramatize the potentially horrifying consequences of reading in bed.

Dystopian fiction goes back a ways, but John Christopher’s Tripods Trilogy was arguably the first example of that later, and now very familiar, subgenre, the young-adult dystopian series, and it anticipates all sorts of details and plot points from subsequent, better-known works.

Take high school. It’s weird, confusing, complicated, and frustrating. It’s a time of growth and change, when teens start discovering what they’re made of and who they want to be. Now throw in magic. What happens? That’s the premise of this new YA anthology. Schoolbooks & Sorcery is what happens when you take all the normal ups and downs of high school, inject a healthy dose of magic, shake, stir, and serve.

While the Jovian origin story has always been a bit of a mystery, a new study suggests the weird world got very large very quickly, and not from crushing protein shakes.

History is full of spots when people should have easily seen what was coming. Here are some warnings we probably should have heeded earlier on.

For the past four seasons of Orphan Black, the Clone Club has encountered Neolution in all of its mutations and side evolutions: the ominous Dyad Institute monitoring Project Leda, the religious Proletheans battling what they saw as the sins of science, and everything from the body-modification Neolution club to the creepy eugenics of the BrightBorn fertility clinics. But now, the premiere of the fifth and final season purports to cut all of that away to get to the true heart of Neolution.

A paper published in November 2016 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology reveals how even the simplest cues can transform the mental states of people making decisions, leading them to different outcomes without even noticing.