WWWednesday; December 2, 2015

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

The Fool, from the Rider-Waite Tarot

This week’s word for Wednesday is Splendiferous, an adjective meaning wonderful, splendid or magnificent. It comes from the Old English word splendorifer, which means “bright-bearing.”


Orycon, held in Portland Oregon on November 20, 2015, gave the Endeavor Award to Jay Lake, who passed away in June, 2014. The endeavor Award is given to Pacific Northwest writers for a collection of work; Lake’s Last Plane to Heaven was honored with the award.

Books and Writing

Rarer than a unicorn is the fantasy standalone; but Stubby the Rocket gives us a list of 2015 fantasy books that started and finished a story in one volume, without leaning on prequels, sequels or other follow-ups.

Reddit discusses words and phrases certain writers overuse. The discussion is… zesty! (H/T to Ryan.)

Last month, Mary Robinette Kowal wrote a post on her blog that started off about writer’s block and ended up being an honest and touching discussion of depression, and the ways we lie to ourselves about our health. This is a powerful and practical piece.

On Ursula LeGuin’sNavigating the Ocean of Story” blog, she opened the question of online critiques to her readers, and posted a number of varied responses. (I loved the Shroedinger’s cat example!) I’d be interested in your experiences with this. Has anyone tried it? How have your results been?

NaNoWriMo is over. While the final counts for 2015 aren’t in yet, we know that there were over 600 regions worldwide. Published works that started as NaNoWriMo projects include Wool (Hugh Howey); The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern) and Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

The Fool, Judgment and The High Priestess; (c) DC Comic, the Justice League Tarot

Gifts and Goodies

Just in time for Christmas, DC Comics unveils its Justice League tarot deck. The Mary Sue had an interview with the artist, Sara Richard, back in February of this year, and DC Comics also has an interview. You can see Richard’s artwork here. (H/T to Brad.)

CakeWrecks usually celebrates (or, okay, mocks) failed cake attempts, but this photo collection acknowledges Doctor Who themed cakes. Which is best? The Van Gogh cake? Davros? The cake with Gallifreyan writing… ?

‘Tis the season for hi-tech gifts. These are only for dads, I guess, but I’ll keep looking for SF gifts for the rest of us. Oh, well, look! Here are a few. This Barnes and Noble post shares some great gifts for “kids,” except the Getting Started books look like they’d be better suited to people my age. I want the wee dinosaur robot!

Space.com offers the best deals on telescopes for the star-watcher on your gift list.

I was looking for a way to do a book-themed advent calendar for people who celebrate Christmas. I should have just gone to the internet, because here is a link.

Movies and Television

The New York Times did a piece on Amazon’s adaptation of The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick. Apparently some subway riders did not appreciate Amazon’s artistic statement in one of the city’s trains, though. Entertainment Weekly confirms that Amazon has removed the show’s mutated American flag and Nazi-themed decorations from the subway train.

Composer John Williams talks about his reaction to the new Star Wars film, and scoring it.  Meanwhile, Classicfm.com mines the soundtrack and the trailers for clues.

As many STAR WARS fans go into countdown mode, Suvudu shares the Thanksgiving day trailer, that has some new scenes.

Oh, come on, you know you saw the original Tremors, the leftover-sandworms-terrorize-the-desert-town movie, and you know you loved it. Haven’t you been privately wishing it would come back? Millions of fans may get their wish, with Kevin Bacon reprising his role as Val.

Two episodes ago on Doctor Who, a thing happened. If you have not seen “Face the Raven” or followed the blog sites and message boards, you may want to skip this article which contains spoilers. If you already know, check out IO9’s discussion on Clara Oswald, destined to be one of the Doctor’s most controversial companions.

At Tor.com, Emily Asher-Perrin talks about the adaptation of Jessica Jones and what it says about feminism and gaslighting. (Thanks to Kate)


Via Critical Distance, Biana Batti at Not Your Mama’s Gamer discusses the roles of mothers and fathers on character development in video games. (H/T to Joao.)


Or this might fit better in the “earth” category. Writer Mike Covell unearthed newspaper articles detailing a UFO sighting in Hull, England, dating from 1801. I think he just felt he had to one-up us Yanks, who had a documented sighting in Mount Washington, New Hampshire, in 1871 (and which has been refuted here). The Northhampton Mercury reported the Hull sighting on Saturday, July 11, 1801, so I guess the Brits win this round. Well played, Mr. Covell, well played.


Warning: If you don’t like spiders, even gorgeous furry blue ones, don’t click on this link. Scientists have discovered a startling number of cobalt-blue varieties of tarantulas, and they’re trying to figure out the scientific reason for this mutation. The color is not caused by pigmentation but by a “lattice” effect in the tiny hairs, interacting with light the way a blue jay feather (which looks brownish gray if you backlight it) functions.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

The Fool, the Book of Thoth Tarot


The following Giveaways are still active: Jason’s interview with Michael Livingston, Thoughtful Thursday and Marion’s interview with Greg Van Eekhout.


I chose three versions of the Fool, Number 0 from the Tarot. The Rider-Waite image and the Book of Thoth image are in public domain, and I couldn’t resist Harley Quinn as the Fool in the Justice League of America deck.

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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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  1. Love the bookish advent calendar!

  2. was the the Shroedinger’s cat story both good and bad simultaneously? Scatter-shot internet critiques don’t make a lot of sense to me. If you can’t form a physical group (I’ve been lucky enough–and old enough–to be in one for over 20 years now), you should be able to find a small group of trusted, repeat readers to form a regular group online rather than just random “anyone-passing-by” (if I’m understanding this right)

    Thanks for the great posts–love those tarantulas! Me want.

  3. Thanks for the tarot links and images! Gotta love the Fool.

    For those who don’t know, the Fool is unnumbered and thus is seen as potentially being placed anywhere and everywhere along the journey of the major cards of the Tarot Deck (the Major Arcana). To explain two extremes of the Fool in terms of Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is the young fool before his Aunt and Uncle die, but he still is able to take his leap of faith and accept the path of the Jedi because he is childlike. He is a complete childISH fool from Han’s perspective. Yoda, however, is the wise fool who has returned to his childlike wisdom through much experience after his long journey.

    (I’ve always loved the distinction between the words “childlike” and “childish.”)

  4. Thanks for the link to one-volume stories; sometimes the three- and five-decker (and multi-decker!) sets are a bore.

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