Magical Words Link Roundup 8-2-2017

This month will see the release of the film adaptation of The Dark Tower as well as the TV show Mr. Mercedes, so now’s as good a time as any to do a deep dive into the world of Stephen King. If you’re looking to do some fun (and scary) homework, here’s a quick primer to bring you up to speed.

We desperately need more American history on television and in our popular culture. The more such shows produced, the more genuinely and deeply we can begin to have collective conversations about our shared and complex histories.

We’ve got to talk about Tolkien’s map of Middle-earth. The man might have made up some beautiful languages and written stories that generations of writers have responded to in ways ranging from homage to bad photocopy, but I’m going to guess he was no connoisseur of geography.

Everyone who loves to read books and follows their favorite authors has heard those authors at some point say, “The character took control.” This is extremely common.

Variety has a story detailing the issues that The Dark Tower movie has run into. It’s an interesting read, but the detail that sticks out the most is that three separate entities apparently had some form of veto power over the film.

In publishing there are outliers who release a book straight to the top of the charts, but they are few and far between. Happily, you don’t need this to happen to be able to make a full time living from writing.

They’re fairies, mutants, or the survivors of a long-lost civilization. They dwell in the shadows, sewers, or caves not found on any spelunker’s map. Whatever they really are, these devolved monsters fear and hate modern humans, and if you’re not careful, they’ll steal you away for dinner.

Hundreds of golden civilizations have risen across history, juggernauts who conquered nature and other nations—but never defeated the passing of time.

Obviously FandomFest is no Gen Con and never will be, but still.

Magical Words Link Roundup 8-1-2017

On Friday, Marvel editor Heather Antos, who’s worked on titles like The Unbelievable Gwenpool, happened to post an adorable selfie with her coworkers. And so, like any emotionally well-adjusted person would do, a bunch of (mostly) men decided to harass Antos via DM and tweet. Because she posted a selfie. Of her friends getting milkshakes.

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling turned 52 on Monday, prompting an outpouring of “happy birthdays” from fans of the boy-wizard series.

The Oregon dunes are a strange place, the largest stretch of coastal sand dunes in North America. Sent to write an article about attempts to stabilize the dunes, Frank Herbert found himself fascinated by them.

Jen Williams says, “There are a couple of things you should know about me before I tell you this story. The first is that I’ve been a fan of Stephen King for as long as I can really remember. The second thing is that I have a terrible tendency to read things in the wrong order.”

The wheel of Ka turns, and a movie based on Stephen King’s magnum opus The Dark Tower is finally coming to theaters, say thankee sai. Even better, it’s both an adaptation of the books and a continuation, meaning there’s sure to be plenty there for fans both old and new to obsess over.

The highly anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1980s sci-fi classic Blade Runner takes place 30 years after the events of the first film and stars Ryan Gosling as a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, who unearths a secret that leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, which has Harrison Ford reprising the role.

Many Star Trek fans are disappointed that William Shatner has gone viral for his recent attacks on people who thought that his presence on a socially progressive TV show from the 1960s meant that he shared their values.

After over 30 years in the spotlight, Sigourney Weaver continues to create new and compelling characters. But perhaps even more central to her legacy is the generation of new, empowered women on the big screen, which were inspired by Weaver’s most iconic creation: Ellen Ripley.

Megalodon died out millennia ago. But our fascination with this mighty shark will never go extinct.

Magical Words Link Roundup 7-31-2017

Nicole Givens Kurtz says, “The Dark Tower series exposes modern views of black womanhood and so I wonder how the movie adaptation will address those issues, if at all.”

Jupiter is so big it does not actually orbit the sun.

Louisville’s Fandom Fest, already handicapped by its last-minute move to an old Macy’s store and the loss of more than half its celebrity guests, also opened Thursday under crowd restrictions imposed by the fire marshal.

Over on Twitter Friday afternoon, actor George Takei posed quite the interesting analogy: Is John McCain essentially Severus Snape?

Despite having a society in which we fear sudden violence, we seem to be fascinated with assassins. Why is that?

Often the simplest gifts are truly the greatest ones.

What are some of your favorite books that blend the familiar and the unfamiliar—the uncanny?

Just when I think I might have had too much of Twitter, this happens. And I go running back with my arms open.

Magical Words Link Roundup 7-27-2017

The World Fantasy Awards ballot for works published in 2016 has been announced.

Authors and publishers alike are finding that it’s hard to sell books in a political climate where truth is stranger than fiction.

Here are ten types of authors who can go jump in a lake. (Okay, the original quote had naughty words in it, so I replaced them to spare any delicate eyes.)

Urban fantasy brings in the real world alongside the supernatural vibes. We’re talking modern settings — usually in cities — where people deal with more crime and mystery elements. The books are always fast-paced, and tons of your favorite TV shows are based on them.

Character doesn’t need to be limited to those who walk and talk and have their adventures between the pages of your favourite novel. Some of the best books use setting as character — the place in which the action unfolds can be just as important as the people.

Down-to-earth fantasies tend to hinge the idea that humans can mess up a fantasy world just as badly as any real one, especially if they have access to magic.

Want to read the 80’s? Here’s a list of books to start with.

The FCC, led by Trump appointee Ajit Pai, is still on its crusade to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules in the name of doing what’s best for the internet, but the FCC’s information policies haven’t been nearly as transparent as their lies.

Magical Words Link Roundup 7-26-2017

The Mary Sue ranks nine movie adaptations of the classic story of love, betrayal, and round tables, the King Arthur saga.

If you enjoyed Robert Jackson Bennett’s novel City of Stairs, check out this fabulous exploration of the city of Bulikov.

United Airlines decided to bully the geeks at ComiCon. And weirdly, the TSA came out on the right side.

As with all clichés, however, they become eye-roll-worthy when used en masse, i.e. when several standard tropes are all packed into the one artwork. If a book tries to cover too many bases, it can start to look a little silly.

The essence of a great science fiction or fantasy novel is the world.

There is a television show I love. The show frequently features brilliant, courageous, unstoppable women.

The Moon has more water than previously thought, and it’s deep below the lunar surface. A new study suggests that water is widespread beyond the poles, where it was already known to exist, although scientists don’t know exactly how much water is there. The discovery has consequences for future missions to the Moon.

Reading a familiar trope is like visiting an old friend. Or like going on your favorite roller coaster—one where you know all the loops and curves so well that you start shrieking before you even reach them.

Magical Words Link Roundup 7-25-2017

Kids born before 1990 dealt with an array of hazards that modern toymakers have mostly learned to avoid, from shattering glass balls to toxic fumes. (Editor’s note – I had most of these toys, and somehow didn’t die. Or lose a finger. So yay me!)

The Winds of Winter” is finally coming — probably.

A plan to build an ultrafast Hyperloop tube train has been given “verbal [government] approval” to connect large cities on the East Coast, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says.

You’ve all seen those claw machines. The game is rigged, of course, but if your heart is set on winning the prize, you will pump WAY more cash into the machine than it would be worth to just go out and buy the damned thing. So what’s this got to do with the Hugos?

Want to learn how to fight like an elf? Here are five tips.

Decades after his death in 1989, painter Salvador Dalí is continuing to make art, or at the very least, something surreal.

Someone needs to make a movie about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. It’d be a buddy fantasy for the ages.

In the summer of Wonder Woman, we haven’t heard much about Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, the woman who could wrestle alligators, run faster than a wildcat, beat up all nine of her older brothers, and be so nice that the bears would let her hibernate with them and the hornets would let her wear their big nests as Sunday hats.

Magical Words Link Roundup 7-24-2017

The year is now 1816, and in a palatial mansion, a woman is about to die. Her name is Jane Lewson, but her death is interesting for several reasons.

WFC 2017 has released a partial list of draft program topics, and I’m crazy jealous of my friends who are going.

A recent spate of articles on self publishing dos and don’ts have made their way to my eyeballs; articles that go into great detail about what newbie self publishers must do if they want to be taken seriously/be successful/eradicate the heartbreak of psoriasis. It is, apparently, a long f$%#ing list.

Robots, man. You can’t live without them (unless you vacuum the old-fashioned way), and quite often, you can’t live with them—at least, not without massive, horrifying, oft-accidental repercussions.

Whenever big tough fantasy types want you to know how big and tough they are, you may come across the phrase “forged from the blood of mine enemies.” But is that really a practical exercise for sword-making? Inquiring minds want to know.

Let’s face it: Most of mankind’s plans, regardless of what they’re actually for, never go any father than begging for mercy. And that’s why we praise movie characters when they actually come up with a solid, convoluted plan that doesn’t end with sobbing. That said, sometimes they come up with way, way too elaborate plans that make things way longer and more difficult than they ever logically should be.

In online fanfiction, every single character was shipped with every single other character and there were love triangles for every possible combination of people.

When David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wrap up Game of Thrones’ upcoming final season, the pair’s focus will be on Confederate, a new series about an alternate history where the South successfully seceded, while a new Civil War looms in the present. I have an opinion on this, and it’s spelled N-O.