Magical Words Link Roundup 7-3-2017

Christina Henry’s soon to be released book Lost Boy is a grim retelling of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan from the perspective of its supposed villain: Captain James Hook, a former Lost Boy. It’s a pretty dark book, but so was the original novel. You were probably just too young to notice.

Myke Cole is best known for his urban fantasy Shadow Ops series, which focuses heavily on portraying a world much like ours that is suddenly infused with magic. For his next act, Cole is changing things up a bit.

After getting canceled by Netflix at the beginning of June following the release of its second season, Sense8 is now getting a last-minute stay of execution in the form of a two-hour special. Not perfect, but it’s something.

Summer is supposed to be the fun time, when colorful superheroes punch each other and landmarks inexplicably explode in a CG orgy and shows don’t take themselves too seriously. Which is why I’m so happy watching Syfy’s Wynonna Earp.

Fortunately, for every too-stupid-to-live heroine, there’s at least one outstanding, super-smart, bad-ass woman — the kind of woman who can overcome any obstacle…The kind of woman who kicks the crap out of the romance stigma.

In West Antarctica, in a place where there’s a patch of open water ringed by sea ice, scientists on a U.S. icebreaker observed, for the first time in a decade, a “very rare, bizarre” formation known as “dragon-skin ice.”

What would the children’s book world look like if “Harry Potter” had never popped into J.K. Rowling’s head, as she’s described it, fully formed? Hypotheticals are never easy, but a “Harry Potter”-less world ― well, that’s just about impossible to conceive.

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-29-2017

Rising sea levels and disappearing ice caps have been a staple of science fiction futures ever since the first alarm bells were sounded that an ice-free earth was a possibility, no matter what culprit is left holding the smoking gun.

A new initiative to beam messages into space may be our best shot yet at learning whether we’re alone in the universe. There’s just one problem: What if we’re not?

Our current government may not be hunting the X-Men (at least not yet) but it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the people in power are doing things so awful, comic book supervillians have basically done them first.

There is a problem common to all readers: the problem of the To Be Read List. When you finish a good book, how do you decide what’s next?

Humanity has played games for as long as we’ve been able to make up rules and keep score. As we’ve developed as a species, we’ve created thousands of games, and gaming isn’t just something we do out of boredom. In many ways, games are a survival mechanism.

The fact is that when you invite a working actor as a guest to your con, schedule changes are a risk you take. What you don’t do as a con organizer is call out the guest, and invite people to harass them.

Want to whet your appetite for a great new book coming out in September? Here’s the first chapter of Joseph Brassey’s Skyfarer.

So what’s the point of all that time and effort praising American glory? Research suggests that in a diverse nation like America, patriotism can bind people together — and help identify outsiders.

Planning a birthday party or bachelorette night? These 10 taverns, pubs, bars, inns, and other watering holes from fantasy fiction can’t be beat.

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-28-2017

Founded in 1964, Maple Street was, and for a few days remains, New Orleans’ oldest independent bookstore. But on Friday it will close its doors.

In his latest work, data journalist Ben Blatt takes an unusual approach to literary analysis. He crunches numbers.

Whether you’re surviving nuclear oblivion by hiding in a fridge, escaping zombies by scurrying under a dumpster, or just hooked up with Special Agent Mulder, you’ve just jumped the shark. Referring to an episode of Happy Days where this precise feat is performed by The Fonz, to jump the shark is to pass over an apex of quality — the very tip of the shark’s fin — before plummeting into a toothy abattoir filled with lazy retcons, puppy power, complete shifts in genre and magical aliens that only we can see.

John Scalzi says, “The first time I personally encountered Harry Potter was not long after the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, came out.”

Almost every copy of the first Dungeons & Dragons adventure written by a woman is buried in a landfill in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

A space ship filled with humans slumbering in cryogenic chambers encounters catastrophic troubles in deep space. We’ve all seen that in movies before—most recently, in Passengers and Alien: Covenant—but Javier Chillon’s short, chillingly titled They Will All Die in Space, puts a sinister new spin on the story.

Are there queer horses? Would there be a drive for gender equality? Resistance to the idea of herd over individual? What does horse religion look like? How far can we use human conflicts to model equinoid ones?

For those of us who like a touch of the magical and the medieval, nothing quite beats a visit to a fictional castle. But with all those trap doors, winding passageways, and changeable stairs, it’s hard to know where to start and how to make the most of your time.

Sing along with the 2017 version of Yakko’s World!

Magical Words Link Roundup 6-27-2017

We’re all imperfect mortals, but if fantasy has taught us anything, it’s that the gods are no great shakes either. The genre is loaded with tales of gods who are anything but infallable—whether than means losing all their followers or managing to embroil themselves in a millennia-long war with other immortals.

There’s no denying it: the arrival of Wonder Woman has dealt a massive blow to Hollywood sexism, after years of male superheroes dominating the spotlight in any and all blockbuster franchises.

How do you narrow down the entire history of science fiction cinema into a list of only the 10 best movies? (Editor’s note – I’ll bet I disagree with a lot of them…)

Sometimes people write stories with outrageous opening premises and have absolutely no intention of including a concordance with the text.

Romance and YA are often seen as not ‘real’ fiction, which is stupid, because women and teenage girls are obsessed with both. And if you’re obsessed with something, that means it’s a good book.

Marie Brennan says, “They’re by far the minority among my published works, but even so: depending on how you count it, one novel series, one novella series, a novelette, and three short stories have been shaped in some fashion by my RPG experiences.”

The first official trailer for Game of Thrones’ 7th and penultimate season was fine. But to be honest, after almost a year of waiting they could have released a two-minute clip of Littlefinger ominously playing with his mustache and I would have been hyped.

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!