WWWednesday; December 16, 2015

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

The Blue Marble, Courtesy of NASA

This week’s word for Wednesday is pecksniffian, an adjective meaning sanctimonious or hypocritical, or “unctuously affecting high moral principles.” “Pecksniffian” comes to us as a gift from Charles Dickens, based on the character of Seth Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit. It came into use between 1850-1855. And there’s a related noun; pecksniffery!

Awards

Joe R Lansdale won the Raymond Chandler Award. (See, an award every week! What did I tell you?) Courtesy of Locus.

The PEN Longlist is out. Nearly eighty books comprise this year’s list, which will be winnowed down to eight winners. The winners will be announced on March 1, 2016.

Books and Writing

Book Smugglers gives us a sneak peek at Kate Elliot’s new work, set in the SPIRITWALKER universe and written in iambic pentameter! And it has a lush cover by Julie Dillion. This is the fledgling publisher’s first limited print run edition. Book Smugglers, of course, have been around forever as the pair of “book nerds” whose reviews we love. (H/T to Jana.)

I did not know that Book Smugglers had broken into publishing, and I didn’t know they were looking for superhero stories, but they are, for a summer, 2016 publication date, and they are reading for two more weeks. Submissions close on December 31, 2015. Dust off those superhero stories and send them!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Phytoplankton Bloom, Courtesy of NASA

Here are some science fiction books we can’t wait for in 2016, courtesy of The Inverse. I don’t know about these guys. They aren’t really including fantasy, so I understand why Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Blades isn’t on the list… but then how to they justify Margaret Atwood’s Angel Catbird? I’m not complaining, I’m just asking. (H/T to Ryan)

And here’s a bit more about Atwood’s graphical human-bird-cat “super-gene-splicer” novel.

Dark Horse is on a roll. They plan to create comic book versions of two Neil Gaiman stories: “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and “Troll Bridge”. I am jazzed about “How to Talk to Girls at Parties”, because the two brilliant Brazilian artists Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, of Daytrippers, will be the artists.

Just in time for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Damien Walter takes a look at the Golden Age writers and stories who were George Lucas’s original influences. There isn’t anything really new here for Golden Age fans (nice to see a Lensmen shout-out, though) but it’s a thorough article and a nice bit of nostalgia.

At Pottermore, they interview Olly Moss and give us a preview of his new covers for the HARRY POTTER series.

And, the UK Guardian reports that Neil Gaiman is in discussion to adapt Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast for the big screen. I lack enough superlatives to communicate how wonderful I think that is.

Movies and Television

SyFy is offering a special preview of Episode One of The Magicians, their adaptation of Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS series, tonight, Wednesday, December 16. Check your local listings for the time.

Brett Dalton talks about the evolution of his character on Agents of SHIELD. (WARNING! If you didn’t see the midseason finale, this interview contains spoilers).

Kim Stanley Robinson’s MARS TRILOGY may be coming soon to a small screen near you.  (Thanks to Jana and Ryan for this one.)

IO9 shares some information about the Independence Day sequel, and explains why Steven Hiller (Will Smith) won’t be returning. (At least, this is what the government wants us to believe happened!) I’m guessing that Hiller’s son Dylan will be haunted by the memory of the “great man” father throughout the film.

Syfy’s reality-contest show Face Off starts its tenth season next month. Hollywood Life gives us a preview of this season’s cast.

Generally, this is a very big week for Syfy, as it launches three new series in its attempt to regain — or, well, just gain — street cred as a provider of speculative fiction. IO9 provides a review of the channel’s adaptation of Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. Warning, if you haven’t read the book, there are some spoilers in this article. AV Club parses the elements of The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey, which also premiered this week.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Veil Nebula Remnant, Courtesy of NASA

Giving 

John Scalzi always devotes several posts of his blog to holiday giving. This particular post gave people an opportunity to share philanthropic and non-profit agencies who would appreciate a donation.

Music

The South Florida Girl Choir performs “Winter Solstice.”

And this the men’s chorus Chanticleer and their version of “The First Noel.” Music starts at about 1.38.

Internet

Reddit hosts an AMA with Sean Wilkins, whose degree is in medieval philosophy, and the results are pretty interesting.

Games

Kotaku introduces us to some box art specialists. It’s worth following the link to the Two Dots website.

At Gamasutra, Richard Moss writes about designer Lucas Pope’s decision to deliver The Return of the Obra Din in black and white (but stunning black and white).

Daniel Muriel wrote a thoughtful piece last month about the political frontier as a setting in games, using another game by Pope, Papers Please.  (Both these items courtesy of Critical Distance.)

Earth

You’re probably worried that I’m getting too sappy, because of the holidays. (And all that choral music!) Here’s a palate-cleanser, a beautiful bringer of death, the brinicle (like something from a fantasy novel) courtesy of Oxford University.

It seems like I’m on a fox theme this month, so here is a video tour of Japan’s fox village. Apparently, none of these foxes was found in the woods in human form, although given their determination to drag away the red-haired woman, they clearly know something she doesn’t. This is  informative, often funny, and not sentimental. Enjoy.

Because ice hotels are just so last year, let us introduce you to the Morphotel. This is an architect’s imagining of the energy self-sufficient, floating luxury hotel. I can already picture the James Bond movie that’ll be filmed there, can’t you?

Active Giveaways

You can still win a book! These giveaways are still active: Thoughtful Thursday, Identify Those Covers; Terry Weyna’s Expanded Universe essay on Lord Byron.

Art

Today’s images are, once again, courtesy of NASA, from the classic “blue marble” image from 1972 to that colorful swirl of phytoplankton. NASA’s image gallery is filled with beautiful, strange and just plain interesting photos, and you can sign up to have one delivered to your e-mail daily.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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9 comments

  1. I didn’t realize that you could have NASA photos sent to an e-mail address! Thanks, Marion!

    Side note: I loved your comments about the Japanese fox village. That red-headed woman is in for a BIG surprise, if folklore is to be believed.

    • Those foxes seem pretty dedicated to carrying her off. And it’s the NASA News Digest Bulletin. They send articles and a picture.

      • That video is amazing! (slash terrifying). I am also totally obsessed with Japan so that YouTube channel is going to be the downfall of anything productive I had intended to do over the coming week…

  2. sandy ferber /

    Wasn’t there already an ice lair in the Bond movie “Die Another Day”…the one with Halle Berry? On another note, today, 12/16, would have been Philip K. Dick’s 87th birthday. Let’s all stare at some kind of a pink light today to celebrate….

    • Yes, that’s what’s I’m saying. They did the “ice hotel” already, now they need a shoot-out action scene in the floatel.

      It’s also Jane Austen’s birthday today. I’ll think instead of looking for pink lights I’ll sip tea and munch scones in her honor.

  3. heck of a list Marion–thanks!

    I so cannot wait for that Gormenghast. And I’ll be curious how The Magicians handles the unlikability of the characters in that first book.

    • Gormenghast — I know! (I forgot to thank you in the post! Sorry, I’ll do better in the future, Bill.)

      And I’m wondering how they’re going to deal with those spoiled-rotten magical trust-fund-baby characters in The Magicians also.

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