Toovia suggests six of the best fantasy comics around. I’ve read a few volumes of LOCKE & KEY, and they’re great (the whole series is going on vacation with me soon, and I plan to read them straight through and then write about them). I really enjoy FABLES, too; and based on our very own Brad’s rave review, I’ve got three volumes of SAGA patiently waiting on my shelf for me to get to them. Looks like I’ll be picking up an additional three series as well; if three of their recommendations are series I love, chances are good the other three will be equally as good, right?
Alice Littlewood talks about her favorite female horror writers.
You’ll notice from this list of 37 children’s books that changed your life that a fair proportion of them fall into the fantasy category. I didn’t read Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth until long after I’d grown up, but I still loved it. I read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell over and over when I was a kid. And Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time really did change my life; I think it was my first science fiction novel, and I was utterly enraptured by it. And just this morning, I pulled Little Women by Louisa May Alcott off my shelf for a reread, green plums, writing in the garret, falling through the ice, Pilgrim’s Progress and all. Which ones captured your imagination?
And while we’re on the subject of children’s books: John Green’s Mental Floss has 47 charming facts about children’s books. Be careful; if you’re not already a subscriber to Mental Floss, you could easily get sucked in to watching a great many more episodes. I’m just back after about 45 minutes of one after the other. Yep, now I’m a subscriber.
Canny readers will have figured out by now — after years of Magazine Monday and plenty of anthologies and collections reviewed — that I like short fiction. Powell’s has a strong “short list” of excellent short fiction it recommends, some of which falls under the speculative fiction umbrella. I strongly recommend Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life: and Others, which is simply extraordinary. So is Joe Hill’s Twentieth Century Ghosts, which bowled me over when I first read it (and still does today, truth be known). And Maureen McHugh’s collection, After the Apocalypse, contains the amazing story “Useless Things,” which is worth the cost of the book all by itself. (I reviewed the collection here.) In fact, I’m having trouble finding anything on this list that I don’t want to read. I do think they missed a bet in not including Karen Russell’s Vampires in the Lemon Grove, though I suppose they didn’t want to include more than one collection by any one writer (except: two books by George Saunders). And why isn’t there any Jeffrey Ford? Oh, and I see they’ve got one of David Foster Wallace’s books, but really, you need to read his essays as much as his fiction; Consider the Lobster is brilliant. Oops, I think my enthusiasm for short form writing is a bit too much on display; I should just go off and read.
The New Republic’s summer reading list is out. Ooh, look, they have the third book in Lev Grossman’s trilogy, The Magician’s Land, on the list. And a new book by David Guterson. And Haruki Murakami has a new book coming out! Let’s all take the summer off and just read, shall we?
Mira Grant will be returning to the world of the NEWSFLESH trilogy in novels and novellas as a result of a new deal she just reached with her publisher, Orbit. The second book in her PARASITOLOGY series, Symbiont, will be published in Fall 2014; through this new deal, there will now be a third book in this world as well. The more Mira Grant I can get, the happier I am, so I find this to be truly excellent news.
Fantasy Faction writes about demons in fantasy. If demons are your favorite monster, you’ll find some reading and viewing suggestions here.
If you’d like to make a study of speculative fiction, really delve into it, The Coursera course entitled Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, looks like great fun. The texts for the course are good for both beginners and those who are long-time readers and want to revisit the classics. I notice they’re including some Nathaniel Hawthorne — “Rapaccini’s Daughter,” I’ll bet, one of my favorites since I first read it in college.
Writing and Publishing
Amazon and Hachette, one of the big New York publishers (and which includes the science fiction and fantasy imprint Orbit), are feuding. This means that when you try to buy an Orbit book on Amazon, it’s likely to cost more than some other books, may not be available for immediate shipment, and Amazon may try to steer you to a “similar” book by a different writer. It’s not clear who is at fault here, but it is clear who gets hurt: the writers. Gizmodo says Amazon is playing dirty, and that the reader loses, too. Damien Walter notes that Amazon is an “everything” seller, not a bookseller, and that that matters for writers. Let’s Get Visible suggests that we all keep an open mind when it comes to pointing fingers, suggesting that Hachette may not be blameless in this debacle. I frankly don’t know how best to help authors in this mess; I hope it gets settled soon.
Clifford Beal talks about balancing fact and fancy in historical fantasy.
Want to support your favorite author? Here’s how.
So sorry, but no time machines for you: they violate the second law of thermodynamics. Stupid physics, spoiling all our fun!
Movies and Television
Why wait around for George Lucas? Popular Mechanics asked 10 science fiction writers to say what they’d do in the new Star Wars movie, which will be Episode VII. There are some majorly cool ideas here!
Writer of the Weird Mark Samuels talks about atheism, Christianity and more in this fascinating interview.